Can Haaland or Lewandowski break Messi's historic record?

Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski are currently the best centre-forwards in world football and they prove it every time they’re on the pitch.

Their starts to the season have been unquestionable, and both have devoured any doubts about their possible adaptation to a new league.

Counting LaLiga Santander and the Champions League, Lewandowski has 11 goals in 8 games; whereas counting the Premier League and Champions League, Haaland has 14 goals in 10 games.

These are staggering numbers which allow us to speculate on whether or not either forward could break Lionel Messi‘s record for goals in a single season.

In this article we will try to analyse how Lewandowski and Haaland score their goals, what their strengths are and what kind of strikers they are, and whether this information can predict if they will compete with the 2011/12 edition of Messi.

Messi’s astronomical figures

82 goals, a figure previously classed as “unattainable” was written by Leo Messi in the history books of football.

It was written in gold and glitter at the end of the 2011/12 campaign, the most prolific of his career in front of goal, and has been unsurpassed ever since.

Of those 82 goals scored by the Argentine star, 73 were for Barcelona (in 60 games) and 9 for Argentina (in 9 games, counting from the end of that year’s Copa America).

Un gol de Messi ante el M

Un gol de Messi ante el Mlaga en la 2011/12 / MARILU BAEZ.

This is how Haaland scores his goals

Erling Haaland is set to be the great striker of the next decade. Born in Leeds but raised in Bryne, he started scoring goals from practically the day he leapt from the cradle to the pitch.

Haaland has surpassed 150 goals in his professional career with just over 200 official appearances between club and national team in Norway.

But how does Haaland score his goals? Counting only domestic championships in his career, Haaland uses his left foot as his main weapon with 67 goals coming from that leg while 15 have been scored with his right, and 9 with his head. All according to data provided by ‘Driblab’.

Can Haaland or Lewandowski break Messiaposs historic record

The Norwegian has scored 29 goals from the inside the six-yard box, 58 from the rest of the penalty area and just 4 from outside the area.

However, if there is one thing that Haaland can be criticised for in his game, it is perhaps his reliance on his left foot when it comes to his finishing.

Haaland appears to have been the missing piece for Manchester City to be a near-perfect team, with Pep Guardiola praising his impact.

“He reads where the space is. And, of course, he’s a guy who’s in the box. We want to play a lot of time there, produce a lot of goals and put a lot of balls in so he feels comfortable and uses his incredible weapon. He’s a guy who gets into the box and has the feeling he can score,” Guardiola explained in a press conference.

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Excluding penalties, Haaland‘s xG (expected goals) stands at 5.73. And he has 10 goals scored on the move.

In other words, his quality and eye for goal on contact with the ball leads to an overwhelming improvement on the expected numbers for the quality of the play.

He takes 4.07 shots per game and averages 1.57 goals per game in the Premier League.

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Lewandowski: A penalty area marksman

Robert Lewandowski‘s career is built on merit. It started with Znicz Pruszkow, Lech Poznan, Dortmund, Bayern and now Barcelona.

A ladder he has climbed without pulling the handbrake, scoring goal after goal and breaking record after record. Not even age is an impediment for him.

Counting Lewandowski‘s last five seasons, the Barcelona player has a clear predilection for the right foot while using his head more often than Haaland.

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Whilst he is more accomplished outside of the area than Haaland, he has netted just 9 goals from outside the box while 133 have been from inside.

However, what is most striking about Lewandowski is his ability to adjust the ball out of the goalkeeper’s reach. The key to every striker.

Making the difficult easy. This season, the Pole is showing overwhelming efficiency when he scores from low or low shots: 10 goals from 14 shots.

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He shoots 5.01 times per game and has a xG (excluding penalties) of 1.39 per 90 minutes according to OPTA.

Furthermore, according to this statistic, the Pole should have 6.95 goals but he has 8.

Although he is not at the same level as Haaland in this section, he is still scoring more than the stats would predict.

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Can they beat Messi’s 82 goals…?

Firstly, before attempting to answer this question, it should be noted that there is no science capable of accurately predicting what will happen in a season.

Injuries, slumps in form and suspensions… all make this impossible.

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Therefore, we will try to orientate and draw the path that Lewandowski and Haaland are following right now, and whose goal is still controlled by Leo Messi.

The Argentinian played 60 games for his club in 2011/12. He completed 37 of the 38 league matches, reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, won the Copa del Rey, and played the Club World Cup, the Supercopa de Espana and the European Super Cup. Then, with Argentina, he played 9 games.

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Can Haaland or Lewandowski break Messi's historic record?

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