Review and Player Ratings as Erling Haaland nets ANOTHER hat-trick – Manchester City 3-0 Wolves
Manchester City produced a performance more like that of past seasons with a truly dominant display as they beat Wolves 3-0, with Erling Haaland getting yet another hat-trick at the Etihad, his fourth hat-trick of the season.
Pep Guardiola named a similar lineup as the one that faced Spurs in midweek but with two changes; Aymeric Laporte replaced Nathan Ake, and Kevin De Bruyne replaced Julian Alvarez, as City hoped to claim another important three points in their attempt to close the gap with current league leaders Arsenal. Ederson remained in goal with a back four of Rico Lewis, John Stones, Manuel Akanji and Laporte in front of him. Rodri remained in his usual position in the midfield with Ilkay Gundogan and De Bruyne just in front of him. Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez once again maintained their places out wide, with Erling Haaland leading the line.
City started off the game more positively than they have in recent times, with a good sense of control on the pitch. The first real chance, however, didn't come until the 18th minute when Grealish found himself winning the ball high up the pitch, which resulted in a Haaland shot that was subsequently saved by Jose Sa. The next major chances of the game came around the 30th minute, with Grealish having his attempt from range denied by Sa and Haaland only being stopped through on goal by a last-ditch tackle. The Wolves defence had started strong denying City many chances, but all they could do was watch as De Bruyne whipped a lovely cross onto the head of Haaland, who put the ball past Sa and into the back of the net to put City ahead. 1-0.
Only two minutes later, in the 42nd minute, City found themselves calling for a penalty as Grealish went down in the Wolves box after being kicked in the back of the calf, but both the referee and subsequent VAR review said no penalty. Just before halftime, Grealish found himself so close to doubling City's lead but found his attempt being cleared off the line by Nathan Collins. Guardiola made one change at halftime as Ake replaced Lewis leaving City with four centre-backs on the pitch going into the second half. It did not take long for City to stamp their authority onto the game in the second half as Gundogan found himself getting tripped over inside the Wolves penalty area in the 49th minute, with the referee promptly pointing to the spot. Haaland took the penalty and sent Sa the wrong way as he comfortably slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0 City with his second goal of the night.
In the 54th minute, City once again found themselves pressuring Wolves, and the pressure paid off when Sa made a critical mistake trying to throw the ball out as Mahrez found himself in the perfect place to intercept before playing the ball to Haaland, who comfortably completed his hat-trick making it 3-0 City. City continued the game strongly, denying Wolves many chances at all and producing some impressive defending when they did produce a chance; Mahrez almost made it 4-0 City in the 66th minute after producing a lovely finish past Sa but was flagged for offside after having gone just half a second too early. This was a fantastic and dominant performance from City in an electric Etihad that had definitely listened to Guardiola's comments in the press conference after the game against Spurs midweek. The players showed a lot more fight and desire, and it has been reflected in the comfortable result and important three points.
Man of the Match
Erling Haaland comfortably earned the Man of the Match award with his hat-trick from four shots, all being on target as he fired himself ten goals clear of his nearest competition for the golden boot, making it 25 Premier League goals already in his debut season in the league – surpassing the last four seasons golden boot winners.
Ederson - 7 Stones - 8 Akanji - 7 Laporte - 7 Lewis - 6 Rodri - 8 Mahrez - 8 De Bruyne - 8 Gundogan - 8 Grealish - 7 Haaland - 10 Substitutions: Ake - 7, Alvarez - 6, Phillips - N/A, Bernardo - N/A, Palmer - N/A
Written by: @BPFoden_
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