Norwegian goalscoring phenomenon Erling Haaland fired his fourth Premier League hat-trick of a remarkable season to earn Manchester City a comfortable 3-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland heads home – again.Credit:AP
Elsewhere, Leeds drew nil-all with Brentford.
City dominated the first half and deservedly took the lead after Haaland headed home from a pinpoint cross from Kevin De Bruyne in the 40th minute.
It was a matter of time until City got a crucial second goal, with Haaland converting from the spot following a foul on Ilkay Gundogan five minutes after the break. The Norwegian then quickly completed his treble to put the game to bed.
Haaland broke former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of being the fastest player to four Premier League hat-tricks. Haaland’s four came in 19 games, Van Nistelrooy’s in 65.
City cruised to victory from there on in an effort to close the gap to league leaders Arsenal.
“He (Haaland) has to get the balls delivered, he has fantastic players around him,” City coach Pep Guardiola said afterwards.
“The ball from Kevin [De Bruyne] is fantastic. He (Haaland) lives 24 hours for his job, passion, love. He’s not stressed much. He is stable. He feels the defeats. His numbers are incredible.
“The way we played today was quite similar to the first half when we were losing 2-0 to Spurs (on Thursday). Our game, football was really good. Today we improved.”
Haaland had in fact endured a mini goal drought of three City appearances in all competitions prior to last week’s strike against Tottenham Hotspur, but he certainly brought his shooting boots for the visit of struggling Wolves.
The home side had a host of chances to break the deadlock before Haaland pounced with clinical precision five minutes before the interval, with his second expertly put away from the spot.
That penalty took him to 30 goals in all competitions with half the season left to play, before adding one more to his tally after a dreadful error from Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa.
His remarkable 25-goal league haul from 19 matches would have been enough to win the Premier League golden boot in each of the previous four seasons. Dixie Dean’s record of 60 goals scored in a single league season, set in 1928, remains in sight.
Haaland has more than double the league goals Wolves have mustered this season. They are only above the relegation zone on goal difference.
“We made mistakes, but the first half worried me more than the second half,” coach Julen Lopetegui said.
“It’s always possible to improve the squad while the (transfer) window is open, but it’s important to improve the players who are already here.”
Stalemate at Elland Road
Leeds United and Brentford played out a 0-0 draw at Elland Road, leaving the hosts a point above the relegation zone following a frustrating afternoon.
The disappointing result stretches Leeds’ winless run to six league games and leaves them in 15th place in the standings just a point above third-bottom Bournemouth.
“Points are crucial for us at the moment,” said Leeds forward Jack Harrison.
“We would like to get as many as we can and would have liked to win, but we take the point, move on and get ready for the next game.”
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