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Man City duo Haaland and De Bruyne backed to smash Premier League records

Posted on October 05, 2022

Let's take a moment to really appreciate Kevin De Bruyne's pass for Erling Haaland on Sunday afternoon. Striding forward from midfield, the Belgian played a perfectly weighted ball for the Norwegian goal machine to score his second of the afternoon in Manchester City's 6-3 derby win over Manchester United.

Haaland was the star of the show as he ultimately had a direct hand in five of City's six goals, bagging a hat-trick and a pair of assists, while Phil Foden also took home a match ball having netted three times against United. The pair both returned perfect WhoScored 10 ratings to make the Premier League team of the week and they are joined in the best XI by De Bruyne to round off the City contingent.

In City's title winning campaign, De Bruyne scored 15 and provided an additional eight assists. After just eight appearances, he has already matched the latter return after his brace of assists against United. Crucially, of those eight assists, four have come for Haaland to score, that marking the best assist-to-goalscorer combination in the Premier League this season.

De Bruyne ranks first for assists in Europe's top five leagues this season, while Haaland ranks top for goals scored. Clearly, it's a match made in heaven, and another reason why City are title favourites this season. Admittedly, they do sit second to Arsenal in the Premier League table after eight matches, yet the strength in depth in this City squad coupled with the experience of going the distance explains why they are backed to land their third successive top-flight title.

They do still need to tighten up defensively having already shipped nine league goals in 2022/23 - for context, they only conceded 26 league goals last season - yet City could be in for a record breaking season if their current rate of scoring is anything to go by. The defending champions already hold the record for the most goals scored in a Premier League season having hit the back of the net 106 times back in 2017/18, and that was pre-Haaland.

That campaign, Sergio Aguero finished as City's top scorer with 21 goals. In just eight games, Haaland is seven goals off matching that return. The Norway international is currently averaging 1.75 goals per game, with Mark Travers the only goalkeeper to stop Haaland from scoring in a Premier League match this season. Nevertheless, at his current rate of scoring, the 22-year-old would end the campaign with 66 league goals to his name. City as a whole are presently on track to score 137, with the former Borussia Dortmund man expected to score 48.2% of those goals.

Now, it's an unsustainable run of form, in theory anyway, but Haaland should be confident of smashing the 34-goal haul achieved by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer between 1993 and 1995, especially playing for this rampant City side, and with De Bruyne providing the ammunition.

Unsurprisingly, De Bruyne ranks first for both key passes (27) and clear-cut chances created (9) in the Premier League this season, with Haaland (5) placing joint-second for the latter. De Bruyne currently shares the record with Theirry Henry for most assists in a Premier League season having notched 20 in a stunning 2019/20 campaign that saw him score an additional 13 goals.

Presently, De Bruyne is on course to finish the campaign with a whopping 38 assists, 19 of which should be for Haaland. Again, it's an unsustainable purple patch from the creative star and this does rely on his teammates and their prolificacy, yet even so; to be within 13 assists of breaking the assist record after just eight games is an impressive feat.

The World Cup next month will of course hinder De Bruyne's push for that assist record given the number of games in such a short space of time both before and after Qatar 2022, and the 31-year-old will undoubtedly go through periods of rest to ensure he remains at his best, yet this isn't the case for Haaland.

Norway's failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup means Haaland will have a month to recuperate ahead of the second half of the campaign, and one likes to think he'll spend that period in a bacta tank, Darth Vader style, meaning where others are exhausted, the City striker will be able to hit the ground running when domestic duties do get back underway in December.

Of course, none of that will matter if the goals are unable to deliver silverware, notably the Champions League that City supporters crave, yet even if Haaland doesn't score 66 league goals and De Bruyne register 38 assists, with the help of one another, both players will write their name into the history books this season.