- Hosts dominated throughout at the Etihad Stadium
- Norwegian forward up to 25 Premier League goals
- Guardiola’s side rarely tested by struggling opponents
TELL ME MORE: Wolves made it clear from the off that they would look to get in City’s faces – quite literally in the case of Ilkay Gundogan – but the hosts enjoyed 92 per cent possession through the opening 15 minutes and were always going to force a breakthrough at some stage. Following a number of half-chances and ambitious efforts from distance, Haaland opened the scoring five minutes before half-time.
Kevin De Bruyne clipped over a cross from the right, with Haaland’s powerful leap allowing him to get above Nathan Collins and head beyond Jose Sa for his 23rd Premier League goal of the season. City thought they should have had a shot at adding a second before the break, but Jack Grealish’s penalty shouts fell on deaf ears and failed to convince those in the VAR booth – with the England winger then seeing a strike cleared off the line in stoppage-time.
Guardiola did see his side double their lead inside five minutes of the restart as Gundogan had his heels clipped by Ruben Neves inside the box and Haaland made no mistake when sending Sa the wrong way from the penalty spot. The game was then ended as a contest in the 54th minute when Sa passed the ball straight to Riyad Mahrez and he squared for Haaland to roll into the back of the net and complete his hat-trick.
THE MVP: Erling Haaland, who else!? The Norwegian’s remarkable exploits in the final third continue to see records tumble around him. No player has scored more home goals for City in a single Premier League campaign that Haaland’s haul of 16. He has also smashed Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of quickest player to four hat-tricks in the English top-flight – with the Blues frontman requiring just 19 games to hit that mark while the Manchester United legend needed 65. Haaland was taken off just before the hour mark against Wolves, but he had already made all of the headlines by then.
THE BIG LOSER: Phil Foden was a notable absentee from the City squad, with the England international not even included among the substitutes. Guardiola has suggested that the 22-year-old is not fully match fit, with more expected from him. Foden has been short on game time of late after being replaced less than an hour into a derby defeat at Manchester United and being left on the bench for a 4-2 victory over Tottenham. Grealish has impressed in Foden’s enforced absence on the left of City’s attack, while Mahrez remains a lively option on the right and was involved in two of Haaland’s goals against Wolves – while also seeing one of his own ruled out in the second-half following the tightest of offside calls.
MATCH IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty
WHAT NEXT? City have closed to within touching distance of table-topping Arsenal following another convincing victory on home soil, but the Gunners do have two games in hand – starting with a crunch clash at home to Manchester United – and the Blues are still playing catch-up as the games begin to stack up across multiple competitions.