Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Manchester City 5-1 Wolves: Haaland scores four as rampant Citizens respond to Arsenal win

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 May 2024

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Erling Haaland’s four-goal haul ensured Manchester City continued their Premier League title charge with a 5-1 triumph over Wolves, as Pep Guardiola’s team responded to Arsenal’s victory earlier on Saturday in style.

Arsenal moved four points clear at the league summit with their 3-0 win over Bournemouth but Haaland eased any City nerves with his dominant first-half hat-trick at Etihad Stadium.

That quickfire treble included two penalties before Haaland added to his tally after the interval – following Hwang Hee-chan’s consolation strike – to move to a competition-leading 25 goals this term.

Haaland’s replacement Julian Alvarez added further gloss late on, as City, who have a game in hand on Arsenal, cut the gap to the Gunners to just one point. Wolves remain 11th with just one win in their past eight league games.

City needed just 12 minutes to take the lead. Rayan Ait-Nouri conceded a penalty for an inadvertent collision with Josko Gvardiol, and Haaland made no mistake from the spot after a VAR review confirmed the on-field decision, sending Jose Sa the wrong way and sweeping into the bottom-left corner.

Sa was equal to Haaland shortly after, though, tipping away the striker’s header following Bernardo Silva’s right-wing centre – but the Wolves goalkeeper was powerless to prevent the Norwegian doubling his tally after 35 minutes, as Haaland climbed high to redirect Rodri’s back-post centre into the bottom-right corner.

And Haaland had his hat-trick when, on the stroke of half-time, he repeated the trick from 12 yards after he had drawn a clumsy challenge from Nelson Semedo, with the VAR having recommended an onfield review of the incident.

Wolves reduced the deficit eight minutes into the second half as Hwang fired into an empty net from Ederson’s unconvincing punch, though City restored their three-goal advantage just a minute later.

Haaland latched onto Phil Foden’s over-the-top pass before cutting inside and blasting an arrowed left-footed strike into the top-left corner for the finest of his four strikes.

There was time for City to increase their goal difference, too, as substitute Alvarez wrapped up the scoring after Rodri regained possession high before finding the Argentine, who angled a low effort across Sa.

Golden Boot within Haaland’s grasp

For every Arsenal victory, Guardiola’s side continue to respond with three points of their own and still boast a game in hand away against Tottenham to move clear of the Gunners.

City are now unbeaten in their last 20 Premier League games (W15 D4), becoming the second side to manage a streak of 20+ undefeated league matches on five separate occasions – after fierce rivals Manchester United (seven).

That is in large part thanks to Haaland, whose four goals came in just 54 minutes here. Only Gabriel Jesus has scored as many times earlier in a Premier League game, finding the net four times in 53 minutes against Watford in April 2022.

He is now five clear of his rivals in the hunt for the Premier League Golden Boot, and surely he has all but wrapped up that award now.

Frustration grows at Wolves

Gary O’Neil has regularly voiced his concerns over the depth of Wolves’ squad, with his side suffering from numerous injury issues across a troubled season.

Matheus Cunha and Ait-Nouri – the latter who conceded the first penalty for an accidental collision with Gvardiol – returned to the starting XI from injury, but that did little to mask Wolves’ problems.

Injuries have played their part in hampering O’Neil’s tenure, though this clash was a stark reminder of their shortcomings – Wolves have now lost eight of their last nine Premier League visits to Man City.

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SoccerNews

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