- Daniel Gallagher-Parker
Review and Player Ratings as City secure win and focus on Munich – Manchester City 3-1 Leicester
An incredibly dominant first-half performance from Manchester City saw Erling Haaland break and equal two different goalscoring records after a spectacular volley from John Stones opened the scoring for Pep Guardiola's side to set up a 3-1 win.
Aymeric Laporte replaced Nathan Ake for his first start for the Blues in the Premier League since the 1-1 draw away to Nottingham Forest, only his seventh start in the league all season. The two other changes made from City's rampant 3-0 win against Bayern Munich midweek were Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez in for Ilkay Gundogan and Manuel Akanji.
It took City only five minutes before they took the lead through the in-form Stones. Mahrez won the hosts a corner from his blocked shot, and after a few attempted clearances, the ball dropped for the centre half to produce an amazing left-footed volley from the edge of the box, which went flying into the top right corner.
Jack Grealish had two penalty claims in a matter of minutes; the first one was waved away by referee Darren England and VAR, but the second, was a blatant handball by Wilfred Ndidi, which after a lengthy check was eventually given.
Haaland was the man to take the penalty, and of course, he converted from the spot. Daniel Iversen did dive the correct way, but the Norwegian placed it too far into the bottom right corner for the Leicester goalkeeper to do anything about.
As he always does against Guardiola's side, Jamie Vardy put fear into the Etihad Stadium temporarily as he rounded Ederson but only fired into the side netting – thankfully for the Brazilian goalkeeper, the offside flag was eventually raised.
De Bruyne racked up his 100th Premier League assist for the Citizens as he set Haaland up for a record-equalling 32nd Premier League goal. The third goal came from some sloppy play from Leicester, which the Belgian pounced upon.
The midfielder drove at the away defence and fed Haaland through on goal, who produced a delightful chip to lift it over the oncoming goalkeeper to put the hosts 3-0 up in 25 minutes.
With this brace, the centre-forward broke the record for most goals (45) in all competitions by a Premier League player; Haaland now has 47.
City weren't able to create that many chances for the rest of the first half, with the majority of the action taking place in the middle of the pitch. De Bruyne latched onto a loose ball, but his volley from 30 yards out went into the back of the away section.
Unfortunately for City fans, Haaland would not have the chance to break the record today as he was replaced at half-time by Julian Alvarez, whilst Stones also got an extra 45 minutes rest as he was taken off for Akanji.
City's next Premier League fixture for Haaland to attempt to break the record is Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium; Wednesday, April 26th.
Former City player Kelechi Iheancho also entered the action at half-time for Vardy. The striker's first involvement in the game was an offside run.
Rodri was the next City player to be rested as he was replaced by Kalvin Phillips just over five minutes after the second half began.
Grealish and Silva combined beautifully to avoid Leicester's high press, with the former taking on every Leicester challenge that came his way until Wout Faes opted to foul the Englishman.
Mahrez came the closest of anyone in the second half as his long-range effort from a corner routine was destined for the top left corner if not for a fabulous save by Iversen.
Bang on the hour mark saw De Bruyne make way for Cole Palmer.
The Belgian has recorded 15 Premier League assists for the season, just five away from equalling his own record for most assists (20) in a Premier League campaign. This is also De Bruyne's fourth Premier League season in which he has provided 15+ assists.
Dennis Praet had the visitors' first shot on target in the 71st minute of the game. It was a very tame effort which Ederson dealt with very easily. The build-up was the best passage of play Dean Smith's side had managed all game, as Timothy Castagne found himself in acres of space down the right side of the pitch.
Sergio Gomez was brought onto the pitch for the final quarter of an hour as Grealish's replacement.
Ederson's clean sheet went out the window as a lack of communication between himself and Phillips presented Iheanacho with perhaps the easiest goal the Nigerian will score in his career. James Maddison's cross found the head of Harry Souttar, and the City goalkeeper tried to parry it away, only for his own teammate to get in the way.
Maddison then latched onto a loose ball and was bearing down on goal with only Ederson to beat – thankfully for the Premier League champions, City's shot-stopper was equal to the task and tipped it around the post.
From the resulting corner, there were appeals for a penalty for the away side, but after a brief check, VAR determined that Gomez's hands were in a natural position, and play continued as normal.
Iheanacho came so close to scoring his and Leicester's second of the game, but his first-time effort across goal rattled the post and came back out to safety.
Despite Leicester being by far the more threatening side in the closing stages of the game, a heavily rotated City side, at that point, were able to see the game out and go within three points of the league leaders Arsenal, who face West Ham at the London Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Guardiola's side now aim to progress through to the next round of the Champions League as they travel to Germany to face Bayern Munich in the second leg of the quarter-finals on Wednesday, April 19th; the game kicks off at 20:00 live on BT Sport.
Man of the Match
Despite only playing the first 45 minutes, nothing of note happened in the second half to knock this player off another Man of the Match award. A wonderful scoop finish and a finally-placed penalty were enough to see Haaland walk off the pitch with two or more goals for the 13th time this season.
It's getting to the point where anytime he's on the pitch, you expect him to leave with the Man of the Match trophy. But even by Haaland's standards, scoring a brace to equal the all-time 38-game Premier League goalscoring record, isn't just a regular day at the office.
Ederson - 7
Walker - 7
Stones - 8.5
Dias - 7
Laporte - 7
Rodri - 8
De Bruyne - 8.5
Bernardo Silva - 7
Mahrez - 7.5
Haaland - 9
Grealish - 8
Substitutes: Alvarez - 6.5, Akanji - 6, Phillips - 5, Palmer - 6.5, Gomez - 6
Written by: @DanGP17_
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