Erling Haaland tied the 38-game Premier League season scoring record with two strikes in Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Leicester on Saturday.
The Norway international now has 32 goals to his name after following up John Stones’ early screamer with two first-half goals of his own, and is now just two behind the division’s all-time scoring record co-held by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole, who both bagged 34 in a 42-game campaign.
It took City just five minutes to open the scoring, and the way they went about it wasn’t half bad, either. After some pinball from a corner, Stones crashed home a delightful half-volley from the edge of the box which landed perfectly in the top corner.
After a further eight minutes, the lead was doubled. VAR spotted a Wilfred Ndidi handball and gifted a penalty to Haaland, whose effort was about as perfect as they come to fizz past Daniel Iversen.
Leicester slowly started to get into the game but they were staring at a 3-0 scoreline 25 minutes in. Once again, Haaland was wheeling off in celebration after dinking over Iversen following a perfect Kevin De Bruyne through-ball.
The Foxes weren’t total bystanders, however, as the likes of James Maddison and Jamie Vardy had opportunities which may not even qualify as half-chances, but the gulf in quality between the two teams meant they were never getting back into this one.
With the game done and dusted, Pep Guardiola made two big changes during the interval, withdrawing both Stones and Haaland to keep them fresh.
Predictably, the tempo of the game dropped but Riyad Mahrez nearly injected some energy with an excellent curling effort from outside the box which drew an impressive save from Iversen.
Out of nowhere and with 15 minutes remaining, Leicester snatched one back through Kelechi Iheanacho, who poked into an open net after Harry Souttar’s header was palmed into his path by Ederson.
The stopper did redeem himself somewhat as he got down well to deny Maddison from close range, but Leicester were not disheartened and still had time to hit the post through Iheanacho before the full-time whistle.
GK: Ederson – 5/10 – Will have been desperate to make a save just to feel involved, but got it wrong and ended up gifting Iheanacho a consolation. A great save to deny Maddison later, however.
CB: John Stones – 7/10 – An absolute worldie of a goal in a sensational performance.
CB: Ruben Dias – 6/10 – Nice passing but didn’t really need to do much.
CB: Aymeric Laporte – 7/10 – Really intelligent movement to fill in the gaps and form triangles whenever he was needed.
DM: Rodri – 8/10 – The starting point of nearly every move from City. Dictated the tempo.
DM: Bernardo Silva – 7/10 – It was Silva who was asked to drop deep but City’s dominance meant he never needed to. Enjoyed getting involved in attack.
RM: Kyle Walker – 7/10 – With barely any defending to do, Walker got to focus on his attacking play, getting most of it right.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – 8/10 – Another impressive passing performance and another assist for Haaland.
CM: Riyad Mahrez – 6/10 – This central role was a bit awkward for Mahrez. Felt a bit crowded out at times.
LM: Jack Grealish – 7/10 – On top of proceedings without ever needing to get out of second gear.
ST: Erling Haaland – 8/10 – Two more goals and could have easily had a few more.
Manuel Akanji (46′ for Stones) – 6/10
Julian Alvarez (46′ for Haaland) – 6/10
Kalvin Phillips (53′ for Rodri) – 5/10
Cole Palmer (61′ for De Bruyne) – 6/10
Sergio Gomez (74′ for Grealish) – 6/10
Pep Guardiola – 7/10 – Blew Leicester away early on and sensibly used the opportunity to protect some of his bigger names. Won’t be happy with the drop-off after his substitutions.
GK: Daniel Iversen – 5/10 – Could do nothing to prevent this defeat.
CB: Wout Faes – 4/10 – Always unhappy as City’s forward line picked their way around him.
CB: Harry Souttar – 5/10 – Never looked capable of going toe-to-toe with Haaland in the first half. Made an impact after the break with an imposing header to set up Iheanacho’s consolation.
CB: Caglar Soyuncu – 6/10 – Somehow quite good in among all the mess.
RM: Timothy Castagne – 4/10 – His attacking input left a whole lot to be desired. Couldn’t help Leicester get out from all the pressure.
CM: Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall – 4/10 – Lazy and sow passing did nothing to help Leicester’s cause.
CM: Wilfred Ndidi – 3/10 – Absolutely hounded by City’s press to ensure he got so many things wrong.
CM: Youri Tielemans – 5/10 – Was never given the time to get creative on the ball. His pressing was full of energy but void of ambition.
LM: Victor Kristiansen – 5/10 – Deserves credit for his work rate, even if his end product was pretty poor.
AM: James Maddison – 6/10 – Clearly Leicester’s best player. Always looked likely to get involved in a goal and played the corner for Iheanacho.
ST: Jamie Vardy – 4/10 – Another who clearly tries hard, but Vardy’s best days look to be behind him.
Luke Thomas (46′ for Kristiansen) – 5/10
Kelechi Iheanacho (46′ for Vardy) – 7/10
Nampalys Mendy (62′ for Tielemans) – 5/10
Dennis Praet (62′ for Dewsbury-Hall) – 5/10
Patson Daka (87′ for Ndidi) – N/A
Dean Smith – 3/10 – Was never ever going to get anything out of this game but will be disappointed with the speed at which everything fell apart.
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