‘Bonkers’ Haaland smashes 40-goal barrier, Conte slams Spurs’ owners and players after meltdown, Chelsea’s late blow
Unstoppable Erling Haaland has smashed through the 40-goal barrier in his first season at Manchester City with a hat-trick in his side’s 6-0 FA Cup quarter-final rout of Burnley.
Fresh from his five-goal salvo against RB Leipzig in midweek, the Norwegian forward proved insatiable again to demolish the Championship leaders at The Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The 22-year-old struck trademark goals in the 32nd and 35th minutes and completed his sixth hat-trick of the season when he converted a rebound to finish the tie just before the hour.
He now has an astonishing 42 goals for City since joining from Borussia Dortmund last June.
Julian Alvarez then struck twice with a goal by substitute Cole Palmer in between as City ran riot to make it 13 goals in the week to cruise into the semi-finals.
It proved a chastening day for former City hero Vincent Kompany who has guided Burnley to the brink of a fast return to the Premier League after last year’s relegation.
Haaland is just the sixth player in the Premier League era to score at least 40 goals in all competitions in a season – joining Ruud van Nistelrooy (44), Mohamed Salah (44), Cristiano Ronaldo (42), Andy Cole (41) and Harry Kane (41).
And with City still in three competitions it surely will not be long before he goes past 50.
“He might get 50 goals, maybe even 60. It’s bonkers,” Premier League record goalscorer Alan Shearer said in the BBC’s Match of the Day Live studio.
“Haaland is a beast. He is a goalscoring machine. He lives and breathes goals.”
Haaland was more low-key about his extraordinary statistics.
“It’s been a good couple of last games,” said Haaland, who scored his first goals in the FA Cup.
“7-0 and 6-0 before the international break is impressive and I’m really happy.
“Every goal means a lot to me and every goal for the team means a lot.”
Burnley had actually coped well with City for the opening half an hour and created some decent chances.
But once Haaland sped on to Alvarez’s through pass and touched the ball past Burnley’s onrushing Bailey Peacock-Farrell to break the deadlock the writing was on the wall.
Phil Foden’s low cross set up Haaland’s second goal and his hat-trick goal came after Foden’s effort struck the post.
Alvarez also impressed and he took his goals superbly while youngster Palmer’s goal made it a most satisfying day for a City side who suddenly look back to their best.
The three other FA Cup sixth-round ties take place on Sunday with Manchester United at home to Fulham, Sheffield United hosting Blackburn Rovers and Brighton and Hove Albion welcoming fourth-tier survivors Grimsby Town.
Meanwhile, Leeds have climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with a manic 4-2 win at Wolves while Tottenham’s grip on a top-four place loosened after they threw away a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 at last-placed Southampton.
Leeds were in danger of wasting a 3-0 lead at Molineux on Saturday as the hosts pulled two goals back before going down to 10 men, but Rodrigo put the game away with their fourth goal in injury time.
Jack Harrison, Luke Ayling and Rasmus Kristensen also struck for Leeds while Wolves had Jonny, an earlier scorer, shown red for a studs-up challenge in the 84th minute and unsused substitute Matheus Nunes also got dismissed in stoppage time, furious that Rodrigo’s goal was not ruled out for a foul.
It’s just the second win in 13 league games for Leeds and lifts the team from 19th place up to 14th in the exceedingly tight lower half of the table.
While the title race has long been a two-way fight between Arsenal and Manchester City, the relegation battle involves no fewer than nine teams who are in real danger of finishing among the bottom three.
Only four points now separate 12th-place Crystal Palace and last-place Southampton, who rallied to draw at home with Spurs after being awarded a contentious penalty in injury time.
James Ward-Prowse smashed that spot kick into the net for a point that helps give Southampton some hope of avoiding the drop, even though they’ve played at least one more game than most of the teams directly above them.
It could be a costly collapse for Tottenham, though, as Antonio Conte’s team had a chance to provisionally climb above Manchester United into third.
The Spurs manager went on a sustained rant about his players and the clubs ownership afterwards.
“Tottenham’s story is this – 20 years there is this owner and they never won something. Why?” Conte said.
“The fault is only for the club, or for every manager that stay here,” said Conte. “I have seen the managers that Tottenham had on the bench. You risk to disrupt the figure of the manager and to protect the other situation in every moment.
“Until now I try to hide the situation but not now because, I repeat, I don’t want to see what I have seen today because this is unacceptable and also unacceptable for the fans.”
Tottenham have won one trophy since the ownership group, chaired by Daniel Levy, took over the club in 2001 – the League Cup in 2008.
They have had 11 different managers in that time, including three since the departure of Mauricio Pochettino in 2019, who took them to the Champions League final before being sacked six months later.
Conte said it is time for the club and players to start taking responsibility.
“Not only the club, the manager and the staff. The players have to be involved in this situation because it is time to change this situation if Tottenham want to change,” he said.
“If they want to continue in this way, they can change the manager, a lot of managers, but the situation cannot change. Believe me.
“Maybe previously in the other games something can change. But here we’re used to it for a long time. The club has the responsibility for the transfer market, every coach that stayed here has the responsibility. And the players? The players? Where are the players?
“In my experience, I can tell you that if you want to be competitive, if you want to fight, you have to improve this aspect. And this aspect, I can tell you, in this moment is really, really low. And I see only 11 players that play for themselves.”
When asked why this is the case at Tottenham, Conte said: “Because they are used to it here, they are used to it. They don’t play for something important here. They don’t want to play under pressure, they don’t want to play under stress.”
Spurs are now just two points ahead of fifth-place Newcastle, who have played two fewer games.
Leicester remained firmly entrenched in the relegation battle despite halting a five-game losing streak in all competitions with a 1-1 draw at Brentford that keeps them just one point above the drop zone, two points ahead of Southampton.
Mid-table Aston Villa made it three wins in four games with a 3-0 victory over Bournemouth.
Ellis Simms scored his first Everton goal to earn Sean Dyche’s side a precious point with a 2-2 draw in the final minute at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea broke down Everton’s resistance seven minutes after halftime when Joao Felix drilled home a low drive, but they were pegged back when Abdoulaye Doucoure scrambled home an equaliser from a corner after 69 minutes.
Everton were only on level terms for seven minutes until Kai Havertz scored from the spot after Reece James was fouled by James Tarkowski.