Erling Haaland vs. Dan Burn was infinitely better than Fury vs. Paul
Pick your fighter; one massive Norweigan bloke renowned for scoring goals and gorging himself on Percy Pigs or one English giant carved from coal and floury buns.
Those in attendance at the Etihad yesterday, as Manchester City eased past a Newcastle side accompanied by cartoon smoke clouds representing their flatlining form, witnessed a scrap superior to anything Tommy Fury and Jake Paul could muster.
The Riyadh bout, consumed by all the worst people in your office WhatsApp chat, was the definition of overhyped. Erling Haaland steaming into Dan Burn with the energy of a runaway locomotive, however, was anything but.
Burn had cynically fouled Jack Grealish, perhaps lulled into a trance-like state by those bulging calves, which caused the players of Manchester City and Newcastle to offer each other outside for a chip barm and car park fisticuffs.
Haaland wasn’t at the epicentre of the original trouble but, after seeing Burn loom menacingly over Grealish, the 22-year-old activated beast mode to confront the gangly Newcastle defender.
For a brief and glorious second, it seemed like Haaland and Burn were destined to throw hands. On a freezing cold afternoon in Manchester, both sets of fans accessed their inner caveman and urged the two men to draw blood.
Sadly, this cooking pot didn’t boil over. This time. Instead, Haaland offered a patronising smirk in Burn’s coupon and the referee booked both players.
The two warring parties even enjoyed a laugh together. It’s one of the missed opportunities of human civilisation that the inner thoughts of Roy Keane weren’t available at that exact moment.
djsjdjd haaland yendo a parar a Burn, tiene que ser el capitán del equipo pic.twitter.com/Rrnw4BfkO4
— fodens (@MargchesterCity) March 4, 2023
After the game, Pep Guardiola talked up Newcastle’s future title credentials and praised Bernando Silva for his match-winning impact from the bench.
“Bernado [Silva] had the ability to help us have long possessions or make the possessions longer. He had the ability to keep the ball and make the extra pass because in that moment the game was broken,” Guardiola told BT Sport.
“It was better for Newcastle. We didn’t want the game in transitions so that’s why Bernado was the idea. It works and we won so it’s perfect.
“The game started and they were better, we struggled to build-up, we made some changes during the first half and after the brilliant action from Phil [Foden], we had the game in our hands, we didn’t suffer.
“The first minutes of the second half were good but then we lost the game and Bernado helped us to come back. Their threat is not a surprise, there is a reason why they were in the Carabao Cup final and for a lot of minutes they were better than United.
“This team and this club in the next few years will be a threat for the title.”
The Manchester City boss sadly wasn’t asked about the Haaland-Burn scrap, something that elevated a bog-standard home win and was clearly the topic of conversation of fans packed into tram carriages afterwards.
Still, at least those of us left cold by YouTubers and Love Island contestants shadow-boxing witnessed a proper scrap.
By Michael Lee
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