Haaland scores four in Man City rout of Wolves

AFP , Saturday 4 May 2024

Erling Haaland scored four as Manchester City closed to within three games of an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League title by thrashing Wolves 5-1 at the Etihad.

Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates scoring their third goal of the game from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, May 4, 2024. Photo: AP


Arsenal's 3-0 win over Bournemouth earlier on Saturday had opened up a four-point lead for the Gunners.

But City showed no signs of feeling the pressure as they cut the gap back to one point and have three matches remaining to Arsenal's two.

Haaland has faced criticism for not matching the standards of his stunning first season in Manchester, when he scored 52 goals as City won the treble.

However, the Norwegian took his tally for this season to 36 goals in 41 appearances with a devastating display of finishing.

Haaland was restored to Pep Guardiola's starting line-up after coming off the bench to score against Nottingham Forest last weekend on his return from injury.

Wolves had inflicted one of City's just three Premier League defeats this season.

But the visitors were blown away as Guardiola's men extended their unbeaten home streak to 43 games.

Wolves felt fortune also did not go their way as Haaland converted two first-half penalties.

Josko Gvardiol was wiped out by Rayan Ait-Nouri for the first spot-kick after the Croatian's shot flew off target and Haaland sent Jose Sa the wrong way to open the floodgates.

The City striker then rose highest to power home a header from Rodri's hanging cross to the back post.

Haaland looked set to complete his hat-trick when he raced through in first-half stoppage time only to be clipped by Nelson Semedo.

Referee Craig Pawson initially waved play on, but overturned his decision after a VAR review.

Haaland showed no mercy to fire home his second hat-trick in as many appearances against Wolves at the Etihad.

Any suggestion City could rack up a huge score to chip away at their goal difference deficit compared to Arsenal was punctured as Wolves pulled a goal back early in the second period.

Ederson flapped at a cross from the right to tee up Hwang Hee-Chan perfectly to fire into an unguarded net.

Yet, City's three-goal cushion was restored in spectacular fashion within a minute.

Phil Foden's long ball over the top picked out Haaland, who cut onto his lethal left foot and picked out the top corner.

Haaland's four-goal haul looks to have settled the race for the Golden Boot as his 25 Premier League goals are now five more than Alexander Isak and Cole Palmer.

There could even have been more for City's number nine, who has twice before scored five in one game since arriving in England.

Sa made a spectacular save to deny Haaland matching that feat once more.

And the 23-year-old was left less than impressed with Guardiola's decision to hand him a rest for the final eight minutes when he was replaced by Julian Alvarez.

The Argentine rounded off the scoring by finding the far corner from Rodri's pass.

City are now unbeaten in 19 Premier League games and their only dropped points since February came in draws against title rivals Arsenal and Liverpool.

The defending champions travel to Fulham and Tottenham in their next two games before hosting West Ham on the final day of the season.

Arsenal must hope there is one more twist in the title race to come if they are to end a 20-year wait to win the league.

But City show no signs of slipping up in their quest to become the first side to ever win four consecutive English top-flight titles.

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