There does not appear to be a glitch in the unerring Erling Haaland machine. The Manchester City striker took his tally to 11 league goals from seven games, and 14 from nine in all competitions, after scoring with robotic precision in a procession against Wolves. A one-sided game was bookended by strikes by Jack Grealish and Phil Foden but it is Haaland’s borderline silly numbers that continue to raise eyebrows and create a general sense of disbelief.
For Haaland, this season so far has amounted to one giant masterclass in finishing. By scoring here he became the first Premier League player to score in his each of his first four away games. City led inside a minute and things went from bad to worse for Wolves when, trailing by two goals, Nathan Collins was sent off on 33 minutes for a wild kung fu kick on Grealish. City are now 22 league away games unbeaten.
When City seized the lead with 55 seconds on the clock, it spelled the start of a miserable afternoon for anyone wearing old gold. City streamed down the right, Foden back-heeling the ball into the path of Kevin De Bruyne, whose cross was typically peerless. The ball eluded Haaland at the front post but not Grealish at the back, the winger beating Jonny to the punch to register his first goal since May before wheeling away in celebration. Foden kissed Grealish’s forehead and Pep Guardiola, who this week defended Grealish’s form, simply took a few sips of water.
By the time Haaland stroked the ball into the net in 16 minutes the contest had turned into a non-event. The game was certainly up for Wolves when Collins made a high and rash challenge on Grealish that left the City midfielder nursing his hip and stomach, and Wolves with 10 men. Collins sloped off the pitch, livid and seemingly inconsolable as he headed down the tunnel via a fruitless pit stop with the fourth official, Tony Harrington, to argue his point from him. The pained expression on Bruno Lage’s face said everything but to their credit Wolves did not crumble. Their captain, Rúben Neves, filled in at centre-back and Gonçalo Guedes and Daniel Podence kept plugging away, the latter cutting inside John Stones to fire a powerful shot just past a post. But City never really needed to fret.
The visitors were in total control but it seems the more comfortable they are, the more Guardiola appears to get on the case of his players. He frantically flapped his hands around on the touchline with the demeanour of a man who had just been told his luggage from him has been lost. Approaching the hour mark, shortly after Guedes fluffed his lines after being picked out inside the box by Rayan Aït-Nouri, Guardiola shut his eyes and quietly stewed from his seat in the dugout as City allowed Wolves to cling on to the idea of a comeback . It is safe to say those hopes were extinguished when Foden applied a deft finishing touch to another delicious cross by De Bruyne with 21 minutes to play.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism