Man City's winners, losers and ratings as Haaland terrifies title rivals with debut double

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Erling Haaland Man City West Ham 2021-22Getty

Erling Haaland showed why every big club in Europe was chasing his signature this summer with a goal-scoring masterclass as Manchester City made the perfect start to their Premier League title defence with a 2-0 victory over West Ham United.

The Norwegian striker stuttered on his City debut in the Community Shield defeat to Liverpool but after 90 minutes at the London Stadium, any doubts about him being a success in England will have disappeared.

His opener may have come from the penalty spot, but Haaland drew the foul from Alphonse Areola with his electric pace seeing him latch onto Ilkay Gundogan’s short pass ahead of the Hammers’ goalkeeper.

The second was a replica of so many of the goals that he scored during his brilliant period at Borussia Dortmund, racing clear of the West Ham back-four to confidently finish Kevin De Bruyne’s pass.

City’s last Premier League away match was a nervy 2-2 draw at the London Stadium but the difference just over two months on was massive as they controlled the game throughout.

Now in possession of a striker capable of finishing off the many chances they always create, City claimed a victory that will have have terrified their title rivals...

  • Erling Haaland; Manchester City; 2022-23Getty

    The Winners

    Erling Haaland

    All eyes were on the 22-year-old after his misses against Liverpool last week but any concerns about his suitability to City's style of player were quickly dismissed with this brilliant and ruthless performance.

    He looked slightly nervous as he stepped up to the spot to take the 36th-minute penalty but it was perfectly passed into the side of the net for his first City goal.

    The second was clinical as he raced onto De Bruyne’s sumptuous through-ball and had the confidence to steady himself before coolly sliding the ball under Areola.

    Sergio Aguero is the only other player to score twice for City on their Premier League debut and Haaland has made a strong start to emulating the club’s greatest ever goalscorer.

    Nathan Ake

    Title rivals Chelsea wanted to sign the Dutch international but he decided to stay at the Etihad Stadium, with Pep Guardiola convincing Ake that he remained a big part of his plans.

    With John Stones unavailable for the pre-season tour to the United States and Aymeric Laporte injured, a spot opened up alongside Ruben Dias.

    Ake has taken the opportunity with a flawless performance against West Ham that will have done his hopes of starting more regularly no harm at all.

    City’s last away game in the Premier League saw the defence harried horribly, but this time the back-four maintained their control throughout, shutting down any Hammers’ threat on the break, and Ake played a big role in that transformation.

    Pep Guardiola

    The City boss likes to give his players extra time off over the summer but that has occasionally left them undercooked at the start of the season, with the benefits of the break coming later in the year.

    So, he will be more than happy that they have made a winning start, particularly at one of the most difficult venues in the Premier League calendar.

    Encouragingly, his players look ready for the gruelling demands of another title charge even though a 'three-peat' hasn't been achieved in the Premier League for 14 years.

    Guardiola warned he will have to adapt his tactics to make room for Haaland but the early signs are that his arrival will prove as game-changing as City fans hoped.

  • Ederson Dias

    The Losers

    Ben Johnson

    An injury to the experienced centre-back Craig Dawson could hardly have come at a worse time for England under-21 international Johnson.

    The heart of defence may ultimately prove Johnson's position in the long-term, but he has been playing at full-back of late, only to be moved into the middle because of Dawson's unavailability to help try keep Haaland quiet. It was an impossible assignment.

    City’s dominance meant he had an awful lot of defending to do, and the visitors' clever and incisive movement meant that they were always going to find a way through eventually.

    Johnson will have learned a lot from the experience but may be praying that Dawson is back by the time they return to the Etihad for the return fixture!

    Ederson & Lukasz Fabianski

    It was a relatively straightforward afternoon for most City players and their Brazilian goalkeeper will have enjoyed the summer sunshine in the capital, as well as his clean sheet.

    However, he may well have a word with team-mate Ruben Dias after the Portuguese defender left him with a black eye during an early mix-up.

    West Ham tried to put City under pressure in the early moments and Ederson caught an elbow in the face as he and his defenders dealt with a dangerous free-kick from Jarrod Bowen.

    His opposite number Lukasz Fabianksi also had a rough day and was forced off with a hip injury after being caught by Haaland when he came from an early cross.

    All in all, a rough afternoon for the goalkeepers on show.

  • Nathan Ake

    Man City Ratings: Defence

    Ederson (6/10)

    After an early flurry from the Hammers, he had a quiet afternoon as he nursed the shiner given to him by Dias.

    Walker (7/10)

    He spent a lot of his time in midfield alongside Rodri and helped City dominate possession as well as closing down any threats on the break.

    Dias (7/10)

    Michail Antonio caused City all sorts of problems at the end of last season but Dias was up for the physical battle and made sure he won his duels. He also committed intelligent fouls when required.

    Ake (7/10)

    Defensively, he was on top of his game, but the Dutchman was also strong with the ball at his feet as helped City keep control of the game.

    Cancelo (6/10)

    His relationship with Grealish is continuing to develop on the left side, but he picked up a silly yellow card for a clumsy challenge that gave West Ham a rare dead-ball opportunity, which is where much of the home side's threat came from.

  • Kevin De Bruyne

    Midfield

    Rodri (7/10)

    The sort of performance that shows why he was given a new five-year contract in the summer as he bossed the centre of the pitch with the minimum of fuss.

    Gundogan (7/10)

    It was perhaps a surprise to see him recalled to the side ahead of Bernardo Silva but the German helped City break through the heavily-manned West Ham defence as his slide-rule pass let in Haaland for the opener.

    De Bruyne (8/10)

    The optimism over the potential link-up between the Belgian and Haaland became a reality with a wonderfully crafted second goal to round off another superb performance as the creator-in-chief.

  • Erling Haaland celebrate Man City West Ham 2022-23Getty Images

    Attack

    Foden (7/10)

    Was left out against Liverpool last week but was clearly hungry to be back in the side and helped stretch the game in an unfamiliar right wing spot that has become available following the sales of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus.

    Haaland (9/10)

    Guardiola tried to play down his potential in his post-match interviews, but he is unlikely to succeed in his attempts after this dream start from the No.9 that City have been desperately craving.

    Grealish (7/10)

    Almost set up a hat-trick goal for Haaland but the Norwegian's header was off-target. Looks confident and dynamic after a tough debut season at the Etihad, and kept driving at the Hammers much to Guardiola’s delight.

  • Guardiola

    Manager & Subs

    Silva (6/10)

    Talk over his future has increased but the commitment on the pitch will always be there irrespective of whether he wants the move to go through before the window shuts.

    Alvarez (6/10)

    Another striker making his Premier League debut and buzzed around to try to extend City’s lead.

    Mahrez (N/A)

    Only came on with two minutes of normal time remaining.

    Palmer (N/A)
    Replaced De Bruyne in the 88th minute.

    Phillips (N/A)

    Introduced with just over a minute to go.

    Guardiola (8/10)

    Leaving out Bernardo Silva amid the interest from Barcelona was a big call but his management of personalities cannot be questioned and all his changes worked out perfectly.