Premier League giants Manchester City and Liverpool brought in new strikers, Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez, respectively, at the start of the summer. It was a crucial step as both of them employed a false-nine formation last season.
When the two sides faced off in the Community Shield recently, both strikers showed their abilities. Darwin Nunez's third goal put the game to bed, and Erling Haaland was unfortunate not to score from an expected goals figure of 1.59.
The game was an opportunity to gage how both sides have adapted to their summer signings and any possible tactical switches. Man City's change was more evident as their full-backs overlapped rather than underlap, a deviation in gameplan hitherto followed.
Erling Haaland’s importance for Manchester City
At only 22, Haaland is already one of the best goalscorers in the world. He is sharp in the box, tough to mark, strong, and dominant in the air. These attributes convinced Manchester City to pay for his €60 million release earlier in the summer.
What does Haaland offer?
Over the past few seasons, Pep Guardiola has opted to play a strikerless system for his side. As a result, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, and Raheem Sterling were forced to fill the false nine role at one point or the other.
However, their lack of a striker also hindered them in situations where their opponents defended deep. Haaland solves this problem for The Citizens. He creates a focal point for their attack and gives them the option of whipping crosses into the box.
With the departure of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, who were top scorers for the club, the onus is now on Haaland to score goals and deliver at crucial moments. This is where Haaland thrives, he has a knack for scoring from nothing, and his movement in the box makes it difficult for defenders to mark him.
Haaland will have to work on his injury issues though. If he can stay fit, Man City may lift another Premier League trophy.
Darwin Nunez's importance to Liverpool's Premier League season
Nunez came into the limelight last season after decent performances in the Liga Portugal. He scored 26 goals during Benfica's title fight and six goals in the Champions League, including a brace against Liverpool which impressed Jurgen Klopp.
Nunez is a striker who likes to run with the ball and does it excellently. He is a lethal finisher and plays without fear or nerves. Eyebrows were raised for his €75 million price, but he has a chance to silence the naysayers during this Premier League season.
What does Nunez offer?
Nunez seems like a great improvement over Roberto Firmino for Liverpool, especially considering the physicality of Nunez that's sure to come in handy in the Premier League. He is dominant in the air and provides an option for Liverpool to go long. He prefers to run at the defensive line rather than drop deeper to create space for wingers. His positioning in the box makes him tough to mark. Nunez could serve as the focal point of attack and can draw defenders' attention to himself to unleash Mohammed Salah.
The Reds create most of their chances with crosses from creative full-backs: Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson. With an aerially dominant presence like Nunez in the box, they will have a bigger target than Mane or Firmino. This will render the Liverpudlian offense even more potent and boost their chances of glory in England as well as in Europe.
Under Jurgen Klopp's tutelage, Darwin could become one of the best strikers in the Premier League.
Who do you think will be more impressive in their Premier League debut season - Darwin or Erling? Tell us in the comments.
Paul Merson has predicted the results for Chelsea vs Tottenham and other GW 2 fixtures! Click here
Q. Who has more impact?
Erling Haaland, Manchester City.
Darwin Nunez, Liverpool
38 votes so far