Watch: Erling Haaland vents frustration as Man City slip up in title race

Watch: Erling Haaland vents frustration as Man City slip up in title race
Erling Haaland pushes away a Sky Sports camera - Reuters/Carl Recine

Erling Haaland took out his frustrations on a cameraman as he saw Manchester City’s title hopes suffer a blow in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

Rodri’s equaliser rescued a point for the defending champions after they trailed to a first-half goal from their former forward Raheem Sterling. But City missed a host of chances – they had 32 shots to Chelsea’s nine – with Haaland guilty of some of the worst misses.

That frustration was evident after the final whistle as he pushed a cameraman from Sky TV out of the way as they tried to film a post-match close-up. Sky showed the incident on their social media channels, trying to make light of the shove by the record-breaking goalscorer.

But it could have been much worse had Rodri not popped up to preserve City’s record of not having lost at the Etihad since November 2022. The Spaniard, who has not lost a game in City colours since defeat bySpurs on February 5, 2023, believed his side lacked bravery in defeat.

“We weren’t great in the first half. We conceded another easy goal,” he said. “We have to defend better. They almost created nothing in the first half. We knew about their counter-attacks and fast players, but we have to defend the counter-attack better. From there, it’s always more difficult to come back.

“We tried in the second half. [We had more] spirit, we wanted the ball and wanted to take risks. We were a bit scared of the counter-attack [in the first half]. You have to be brave.”

City were left to count the cost of their misses, with the worst an errant free header from Haaland after 78 minutes. But having led until the 83rd minute, Chelsea were also left frustrated that they could not turn their first half lead into a victory.

“We are slightly disappointed because we were winning the game,” said midfielder Conor Gallagher.

“They were, in terms of possession, dominating the game but I feel we had a lot of chances to win the game. We are disappointed to concede late, but pleased with the point.”

Robots can malfunction: Haaland’s record-breaking off-day

Erling Haaland is bringing out a new ice cream brand but celebratory sweet treats were off limits after an evening of frustration.

In a week when the City striker was pictured fronting a campaign for ‘Haaland Cream’ in Norway, a moody swipe of a TV camera after the final whistle summed up his dark mood when nothing went his way.

The unmarked header over the bar from the six-yard box after Kevin De Bruyne had delivered the perfect cross had the Etihad gasping in disbelief and Pep Guardiola holding his head in his hands.

It was the discordant story of Haaland’s unhappy day.

Nine shots – one early in the second half admittedly very well saved by Djordje Petrovic – and no goals.

For xG fans, Haaland set a new record without finding the net for a Premier League game this season of 1.71. For non-xG fans, he could not hit a barn door with a banjo.

Haaland’s profligacy could have been costlier had Rodri not rescued a point for City but it was clear from the striker’s despondency as he trooped off the pitch the responsibility that he felt for two points dropped.

Guardiola would not have cared for his body language but it was entirely appropriate in the circumstances.

“We created a lot,” said the Manchester City manager ruefully. “It’s good to have nine shots and next time he’s going to score. I don’t blame that. It’s football. It’s human beings.”

The human being reminder is worthwhile. Haaland’s goalscoring record is so remarkable that it is easy to view him as a machine. Flesh and blood is fallible though.

He has actually scored in only two of his last seven appearances for City. For him, that counts as a rut.

It looked, after his mid-season injury absence, as if he might be back to his best in his muscleman finishing act against Everton last week, but this was a step backwards.

The 12th-minute header from Julian Alvarez’s cross which went over the Chelsea bar set the tone. The mishit volley from Phil Foden after the break offered more of the same.

If he was unfortunate when Levi Colwill blocked a close-range effort, then there was no luck involved in the botched header 12 minutes from time. It was almost as if he had too much freedom – a case of penalty area agoraphobia – as he steered the ball over the crossbar.

Haaland still has 16 goals in 19 Premier League appearances this season which shows the threat he carries, but this, certainly, was one game he will want to forget in a hurry. Having lost his grandmother at the start of the week, it was a bad personal few days all round.

It looked, with Haaland off colour, as if Chelsea would be the team to shut City out and end their 44-game scoring run at the Etihad until up popped Rodri to save the day.

Chelsea’s defence must take credit. Without Thiago Silva, they fronted up manfully against the champions.

Had City been awarded an injury time penalty for handball against Levi Colwill after a desperate late scramble it would have been the cruellest of ends to a feisty display on the road.

The Etihad is a place where hope usually dies for visiting teams but Colwill and the 20-year-old Malo Gusto were outstanding.

It was a performance which was strong both on organisation and heart – something which has not always been the case with Chelsea this season.

No wonder their manager Mauricio Pochettino was glowing afterwards.

“It was massive the spirit we showed today,” said Pochettino. “We will reach the level we expect one day. It’s never easy to play against the best team in the world and the character and personality we showed made me very happy.”

“It was a really important day to show we are improving. We need these sorts of games.”

Haaland will be back on the horse against Brentford in midweek. Will there be a hangover from this?

It is possible but the more likely turn of events is Haaland taking out his frustration with a Viking vengeance on the vulnerable Bees.

There is a dam ready to burst and someone, somewhere is going to cop it.

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