Sunday, May 28, 2023

Fulham 1-2 Manchester City: Haaland reaches half a century as champions go top

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 30 Apr 2023


Erling Haaland scored his 50th goal of the season as Manchester City moved above Arsenal at the top of the Premier League with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Fulham.

The striker broke the deadlock from the penalty spot inside three minutes at Craven Cottage with his record-equalling 34th strike in the Premier League this campaign.

Carlos Vinicius equalised for Fulham before Julian Alvarez’s stunning long-range effort sealed an eighth straight league win for Pep Guardiola’s side, who moved a point clear of Mikel Arteta’s Gunners with a game in hand to come.

City have now won each of their last 14 encounters with the Cottagers, who suffered their sixth defeat in eight games to remain in 10th.

A penalty had been awarded in each of the sides’ five previous meetings and less than 90 seconds had elapsed when Simon Hooper pointed to the spot after Tim Ream tripped Alvarez, Haaland making no mistake from 12 yards.

Fulham equalised in the 15th minute when Harry Wilson neatly cushioned a lofted ball into the penalty area for Vinicius to fire home on the volley.

But after Bernd Leno tipped Jack Grealish’s curling shot onto the crossbar, City regained the lead in spectacular fashion on 36 minutes, Alvarez whipping a wonderful 25-yard effort into the top-left corner.

The visitors went close to stretching their advantage as Leno produced marvellous reflex saves to deny Haaland and Alvarez early in the second half.

The hosts struggled to find a route back into a scrappy affair after the break, with City holding on to extend their timely winning streak and take another step towards a third successive title.

What does it mean? City leapfrog Arsenal

City returned to the Premier League summit for the first time since February 17 after battling past Fulham, who they are now unbeaten against in 16 top-flight meetings – a run stretching back to a 3-1 defeat in April 2009.

The Cottagers have now faced the Citizens 15 times on home soil without keeping a clean sheet in the Premier League, the joint-most a side has failed to do so against a single opponent in the competition’s history (also Middlesbrough against Manchester United).

Half a century for Haaland

Haaland reached yet another milestone in a remarkable season after taking his goal tally to 50 across all competitions.

City’s number nine, who broke the record for most goals in a 38-game Premier League campaign against Arsenal, also equalled the overall record today, which he now shares with Alan Shearer (34 in 1994-95) and Andy Cole (34 in 1993-94).

Alvarez stunner seals it

Though Haaland has led the way for City up front, Alvarez has certainly contributed – taking his total goal tally for the season to 15 with his wonderful strike here.

The Argentina international has now netted on 11 of his 18 starts this season (61 per cent). Indeed, among players with 10 or more starts for a Premier League team, only Haaland (67 per cent) has scored on a higher percentage of his starts.

Key Opta facts

– Only Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2002-03 has a better 100 per cent record from the penalty spot in a Premier League season (8/8) than Haaland in 2022-23, who has scored all seven he has taken for Manchester City.

– Manchester City have won eight consecutive Premier League games, the longest winning run by a team in 2022-23 (overtaking Arsenal’s seven between February-April).

– City’s current winning streak is their longest in the league since a 12-game run between November 2021 and January 2022.

– Fulham have lost three of their last four Premier League games at Craven Cottage (W1), which is as many defeats as they had suffered in their opening 13 home games this season combined (W6 D4 L3).

What’s next?

Both sides are back in action on Wednesday with City resuming their title surge at home to West Ham United, while Fulham travel to Anfield to face a resurgent Liverpool.


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