- Tom Cayless
Review and Player Ratings from brutal Haaland and Alvarez display – Man City 6-0 Nottingham Forest
After an incredible comeback against Crystal Palace at the weekend, Pep Guardiola's side welcomed newly promoted Nottingham Forest to the Etihad. The Blues ran out 6-0 winners.
A second hat-trick in as many games for Erling Haaland, two for Julian Alvarez in his first start, and a screamer from Joao Cancelo did the job for City as they brushed aside Steve Cooper's lacklustre Forest side.
City's No.9 now holds the record for the most goals scored in the first five league games with nine.
Despite all the talk around possible rotation within the squad, Guardiola only made two changes from the team that saw off Palace at the weekend. Club captain, Ilkay Gundogan came in for Kevin De Bruyne, and Julian Alvarez was given his first City start as he replaced Riyad Mahrez.
It took just 12 minutes before City took the lead, and as you'd guess, it came through Haaland. After a flurry of failed corners, Gundogan opted to play the ball to the edge of the area to Phil Foden, who crossed in towards the Norweigan, who volleyed home with his left-foot straight past Dean Henderson into the near-post.
Moments later, however, Forest probably should have had an equaliser. Welsh right-wingback Neco Williams cut inside past Cancelo and hung the ball up to the far post where his opposite wingback and debutant Renan Lodi was unmarked. The Atletico loanee headed straight into the side-netting from close-range.
Nevertheless, City and Haaland had their second shortly after. In what was perhaps the night's best move, Bernardo Silva intercepted a loose ball from Henderson, and the Blues swept forward in their masses. After a clever bit of play from Haaland and Gundogan, Foden was baring down on goal but was tackled. The stray ball found itself straight to the feet of Haaland, who tapped into an empty net.
Just seven minutes before the break, City's number had his third and completed his perfect hat-trick. The move started with a beautiful trivela cross from Cancelo towards Foden, who headed back across goal to John Stones. The Barnsley-born central defender dunked the ball back into the six-yard area where Haaland rose like a fish out of water above the rest to head home for his third.
The Blues pushed on after the break and were once again rewarded with another goal, but this time through Cancelo. His fellow countryman, Silva played with Lodi on the right-wing, chopped inside and laid the ball off to the City left-back. Just when the opportunity of shooting looked to have passed, he cut inside onto his stronger right foot and rifled the strike into the near-post past Henderson to give Guardiola's side a 4-0 lead.
Alvarez, who'd been impressive all night with his constant work off the ball and excellent build-up play, was next on the scoresheet. Substitute Riyad Mahrez, impressively brought down a loose ball, with his head and courtesy of his impressive awareness, the Argentine striker was on his bike in behind the Forest defence and slammed his effort through the legs of a hopeless Henderson.
As the final whistle loomed, Alvarez bagged his second in a Sergio Aguero-like fashion. City moved the ball forwards in a move that resulted in City's No.19 finishing into the near-post with his supposedly weaker left foot.
Ederson - 7
Walker - 7
Stones - 7.5
Dias - 7
Cancelo - 8
Rodri - 7.5
Gundogan - 7
Silva - 8
Alvarez - 9
Haaland - 10
Foden - 7
Subsititues: Mahrez (7), Palmer (6), De Bruyne (6), Gomez (6), Lewis (N/A)
Well, wow, just wow. How good was that?
City were superb from back to front. After shipping five goals in their previous two games, the defensive unit was in top form in denying opportunities.
As for going forward, it was simply unbelievable. The Blues have gone from zero strikers to two world-class number 9s, with five of those six goals tonight occurring without De Bruyne on the pitch.
Guardiola's side next travel to Aston Villa and then Seville as they look to carry on the impressive Premier League start and get their UEFA Champions League campaign off to a quick start.
Written by: @TomCayless_
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