Man City 3 – 0 Wolves

Report

Erling Haaland scored a hat-trick against Wolves as Manchester City maintained the pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal with a 3-0 win.

Wolves stifled the home side for much of the first half before Haaland took charge, heading in Kevin De Bruyne’s cross. He added a second from the spot early in the second half and completed the hat-trick with a straightforward finish after Jose Sa’s error.

Only his substitution spared Wolves. The goals take Haaland’s Premier League total for the season to 25 in just 19 appearances. The mini drought of two games ended with his header against Tottenham on Thursday evening. A new scoring streak has begun.

The result moved City to within two points of Arsenal at the full-time whistle with the Gunners playing one of their two games in hand later in the afternoon. Wolves remain just outside the relegation zone, ahead of Bournemouth on goal difference.

Player ratings

Man City: Ederson (6), Lewis (7), Stones (8), Akanji (7), Laporte (7), Rodri (7), Gundogan (7), De Bruyne (8), Mahrez (8), Haaland (9), Grealish (8).

Subs: Ake (7), Alvarez (7), Silva (7), Phillips (6), Palmer (6).

Wolves: Sa (4), Semedo (5), Collins (5), Kilman (5), Bueno (6), Neves (5), Nunes (6), Lemina (6), Traore (5), Jimenez (5), Hwang (5).

Subs: Cunha (6), Moutinho (6), Sarabia (5), Podence (7), Ait-Nouri (6).

Player of the match: Erling Haaland.

How Haaland saw off Wolves

Pep Guardiola had been frustrated with his players in midweek, criticising the lack of fire and there were periods during the first half when that intensity was lacking. But that trusted combination of De Bruyne and Haaland broke the deadlock and City did not look back.

Image:
Erling Haaland celebrates with Kevin De Bruyne after opening the scoring for Man City against Wolves

The lively Jack Grealish had a strong penalty appeal denied and saw a shot cleared off the line by Nathan Collins in the minutes after the opening goal as the Premier League champions upped the tempo. Wolves made three substitutions at half-time. It did not help.

Team news

Pep Guardiola made two changes to the team that beat Tottenham with Nathan Ake and Julian Alvarez dropping out, replaced by Aymeric Laporte and Kevin De Bruyne.

Wolves changed three of the team that beat West Ham with Daniel Podence, Joao Moutinho and Matheus Cunha benched in favour of Mario Lemina, Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore. Pablo Sarabia had to wait for his full debut, he was among the substitutes.

Ruben Neves tripped Ilkay Gundogan inside the penalty box soon after the break and Haaland did the rest from the spot. His third goal might have been even easier, laid on for him unselfishly by Riyad Mahrez after Sa had passed the ball straight to the winger.

Mahrez thought he had his goal when De Bruyne played him in but he was narrowly offside and with Haaland substituted Wolves were spared further punishment. The debate about Haaland’s impact at City will continue but his scoring record really does speak for itself.

Haaland in stats

  • Erling Haaland has scored 18 goals in just 11 Premier League home games, the most home goals by a Manchester City player in a single campaign (overtaking Sergio Aguero in 2011-12 – 16).
  • Kevin De Bruyne has assisted Haaland five times in the Premier League this season for Manchester City – this is the most assists by one player for another in the competition this term.
  • Haaland has scored 25 goals in the Premier League this season, overtaking last season’s Golden Boot winners (Mohamed Salah and Heung-Min – 23).
  • Haaland has scored his fourth Premier League hat-trick for Man City in what is just his 19th appearance, the fewest games taken to score four hat-tricks in the competition’s history. The previous record was 65 appearances by Ruud van Nistelrooy.

FPL Stats: Man City 3-0 Wolves

Goals Haaland (3)
Assists De Bruyne, Gundogan, Mahrez
Bonus points Haaland (3), Laporte, Stones (2)

What’s next?

Manchester City now turn their attention to a blockbuster FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to Premier League title rivals Arsenal on Friday, kick-off 8pm.

City then face another north London club in Tottenham for their next Premier League game on February 5, live on Sky Sports with kick-off at 4.30pm.

City’s busy February schedule sees them host Aston Villa, live on Sky Sports, on February 12, before a league clash against Arsenal three days later. A trip to Nottingham Forest is followed by their Champions League last-16 first-leg at RB Leipzig, before travelling to Bournemouth to end the month.

Wolves‘ FA Cup exit last week means they have next weekend off, with their next game being a home clash with Liverpool on Feburary 4.

Julen Lopetegui’s side travel to Southampton, host Bournemouth and go to Fulham in their remaining fixtures next month.

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