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Haaland vs Nunez: Youngsters set to seize stardom with Community Shield statement

or more than one decade, football fans across the world were treated to the sumptuous rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi fuelling insinuations that such a friendly feud, which was hitherto unseen in the history of the game, might never be recreated but some pundits believe the duo of Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez are capable of providing and sustaining similar spectacle given their talent and mentality with today’s Community Shield providing the gateway to such adventure.

Liverpool and Man City made rare re-enforcements with Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola making signings that look like negating the football philosophy they have employed in the past few seasons. Both Haaland and Nunez are traditional nine and both coaches haven’t particularly deployed tactics that suit such players.

However, the Premier League’s top two sides acquiring genuine centre-forwards suggests their approaches will be tweaked for the coming season. Nunez was unstoppable last season for Benfica, Haaland has been unstoppable for every club he’s been at, will they be unstoppable in the Premier League? Nunez has already started his Liverpool with four goals in pre-season, all of which came in one half against RB Leipzig. Haaland scored 12 minutes into his debut against Bayern Munich, and the two are set to face off for the first time on Saturday in the annual Community Shield game. Last season Nunez had the better conversion rate, and contributed to 30 goals in all competitions in 1988 minutes. Haaland in comparison contributed to 29 goals in 1914 minutes. In 138 career league matches, Haaland has scored 93 goals, and contributed to 25 assists.

Darwin Nunez has played 104 league games, and scored 52 goals, contributing to 17 assists Haaland has the better goals per game ratio across the players careers with 0.77. In comparison, Nunez goals per game ratio is 0.47. Haaland has the better stats, but that may not translate into the Premier League. Nunez had been the subject of criticism so far, and with such a big price tag on the head of a young player, it could be difficult for the Uruguayan. Both players will be expected to contribute in view of their teammates also finding the back of the net.

Mohamed Salah, in particular, is unlikely to be a happy man should Nunez regularly pick the option of going himself. Meanwhile, City’s success over the last two seasons, including winning two league titles and reaching the Champions League final, has built on a foundation of playing regularly without a recognised number nine. Kevin De Bruyne led their goalscoring charts last season with 15 while Ilkay Gundogan, with 13, was at the summit the season before.

Pep Guardiola is unlikely to want to jeopardise those invaluable goals from midfield. City and Liverpool’s style of play both demands whoever is in the ‘number nine’ role contributes to other areas, whether that be dropping in and linking for vacating space for wide players to dart into. Neither forward would have been signed had either club had any doubts about their link-up play. It will be an interesting battle between both players, and the Premier League is blessed to be able to see two of the world’s best young strikers battle it out for the accolade of the league’s top scorer.

 

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