Haaland scores four as Man City thrash Wolves

Haaland scores four as Man City thrash Wolves

Erling Haaland’s first four-goal haul in the Premier League left Manchester City three wins away from a historic fourth successive English league title.

With no margin for error following Arsenal’s earlier victory over Bournemouth, City delivered the perfect response.

City were given a helping hand they did not need thanks to a favourable 12th-minute penalty decision from referee Craig Pawson.

Haaland sent Wolves keeper Jose Sa the wrong way, then beat the Portuguese from the spot again just before the break after he had been brought down by Nelson Semedo.

In between, the striker had scored with a superb far-post header, climbing to an amazing height unchallenged at the far post, to send Rodri’s cross back across goal and into the corner.

A minute after Hwang Hee-chan had pulled one back for the visitors, Haaland struck again, powering on to Phil Foden’s brilliant lofted pass.

It took the Norwegian to 25 Premier League goals for the season and five clear of Alexander Isak and Cole Palmer in the Golden Boot standings.

Julian Alvarez finished off the scoring five minutes from time to leave City a point behind Arsenal, but now with three games remaining to the Gunners’ two.​

Free-scoring Haaland

Scrolling back through Haaland’s incredible scoring feats since his arrival at Manchester City, it was almost a surprise to learn he has never scored four in a Premier League game until this one.

He has scored five twice, at Luton in the FA Cup in February and against RB Leipzig in the Champions League in March last year.

Haaland now has nine hat-tricks. His overall tally for the season is 36.

Incredibly, he is now 87th in the all-time Premier League scoring charts with 61, one more than City legend David Silva, who watched this game from the stands, has a statue outside the stadium and was given a standing ovation in recognition of his trophy-ladened 12 years of service to the club.

It can only be imagined what figures Haaland will reach if he remains at City for that length of time.

For Arsenal, there was a predictability about Haaland’s efforts and the overall outcome, that can only make them wonder just where their rivals will drop points.

On paper, City’s visit to Tottenham on 14 May is tough. But, as Arsenal themselves proved last week, Ange Postecoglou’s side are in poor form and on this evidence would be hard pressed to stop Haaland in his tracks.

‘It’s not football any more’

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil watched this game from the directors’ box after being given a touchline ban for his verbal volley at the officials after his side were controversially denied an injury-time equaliser against West Ham last month.

It was the latest in a string of decisions O’Neil feels have gone against his side this season, starting in the opening round of fixtures when they were denied a late penalty at Old Trafford.

City’s opening goal was another that could be filed in the ‘unlucky’ tray.

Watching the replays of Josko Gvardiol’s collision with Rayan Ait-Nouri as the Croatia defender fired over, the momentum seemed to be with the City man going into his opponent. It could also be argued it was a physical confrontation and neither man should be penalised. Pawson opted to focus on the fact Ait-Nouri had not touched the ball. Under those circumstances, it was not a ruling likely to be overturned by VAR.

However, it was Stuart Attwell, who came under so much scrutiny from Nottingham Forest for missing what they said were three penalty decisions at Everton recently, who stepped in to ensure Semedo bringing down Haaland for City’s second penalty was penalised after Pawson had failed to spot it in real time.

However, the wait for the decision was a lengthy one, during which time the Wolves fans chanted ‘it’s not football any more’.

Erling Haaland scores his third goal for Manchester City against Wolves
Erling Haaland has scored 13 of his 14 Premier League penalties, failing only against Sheffield United in August this season

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