The hype is real, that much is true, and at just 22 years of age and in his debut season Erling Haaland has broken the Premier League record of 34 goals as he scored his 35th in midweek against West Ham. It was a record that stayed strong for 29 years and was jointly held by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole and in what was a 42 game season. Haaland has been able to achieve the record after 33 games of the season and another five are to play. Just how many goals could Haaland end up with? The obvious target is the magic 40, of which in the whole top flight's existence going back to 1888 only 7 players have achieved 40 or more goals. Everton's famed centre forward Dixie Dean who holds the record of 60 goals in one season which has held firm for 95 years features twice in the top 3 goal scorers as he also netted 44 goals on another occasion.
What is clearly remarkable though is that Haaland is already joint 11th of all time in the English top flight. Two more goals will see him go past Bobby Smith, three more goals will be enough to be joint 8th and if he were to reach 40 goals he would sit on his own in 7th place. Barring one player in Jimmy Greaves the top six goalscorers all played before the second World War. Greaves' total of 41 goals in the 1961 season is the highest tally post the second World War. Of course one could point to the fact that players in the modern game are simply better, through sports science, advanced training and diet and that would be undeniably true and that defences were not at their best 80 years ago. But back then there were no cards and one can presume that tackles were horrific, pitches were poor, balls were heavy as were boots and once you balance that up surely you have to respect all the old records? What is remarkable is that Haaland could join the top 5 clubs and become the only player in 80 years to break into that list if he can find 7 more goals from the five games left.
Another record Haaland could have in his sights is the British overall record led by Dixie Dean including all competitions in which Dean scored 63 goals, he actually scored two more in the Charity Shield to make it 65 but in the modern age statistics do not want to count that game even though back then it was seen as a competitive one. Now Haaland currently has 51 goals in all competitions and has a potential 9 games left and if he doesn't break it he will come close. Of course let's not forget that Dean had no European football to rack up his tally and only one domestic cup. What is scary though is that Haaland will be back next season and the season after that and so forth, this is just his first attempt and that top flight list which has been included below could be chockablock filled up with the Norwegian's name.
List of all time English top flight goal scorers:
1. Dixie Dean 60
2. Tom Waring 49
3. Dixie Dean 44
4. Ted Harper, Dave Halliday 43
5. Ted Drake 42
6. Jimmy Greaves, Vic Watson 41
7. WG Richardson 39
8. John Charles, Bert Freeman, Joe Smith 38
9. Jimmy Trotter, Jimmy Greaves, Fred Morris, Ron Davies, Dennis Westcott 37
10. Bobby Smith 36
11. Jimmy Greaves 35, Erling Haaland 35
In other news Leeds have done a Tottenham and appointed their third manager of the season and Sam Allardyce is back in management after Javi Gracia was sacked after just 12 games. It is a bold move for Leeds to bring in Allardyce for the last four games and it is going to be a costly one. Allardyce will reportedly receive £500,000 for the four games and a bonus of £2.5m if he can keep Leeds up- it seems like the only winner here is Allardyce. Leeds have incredibly tough games to come including having to play Manchester City next, West Ham, Tottenham and Newcastle and with just 30 points Leeds look among the favourites to go down. Of course it is easy to see why the board have gone with Allardyce, his teams stop shipping goals, and while the football can be bland the hope will be that the club can find at least one win and a couple of draws to keep them up as they roll the dice one more time but the odds seem stacked against them. Allardyce's first game in charge really couldn't be any harder as his side will take on Manchester City away from home.
While there is plenty to get excited about in the relegation zone with most of those games being pushed back until next Monday, on Sunday Arsenal's title ambitions could be all but over. With City playing Leeds on Saturday if Pep Guardiola's side were to win that game they would go 4 points clear. Arsenal will take on Newcastle away from home, a side who have only lost once at home this season and if the Gunners were to be defeated not only would City be four points clear but they would have a game in hand too. Let the weekend roll on….