Erling Haaland hits another hat-trick as Manchester City ease past Wolves

Norwegian striker hits fourth Premier League treble in comfortable 3-0 victory at the Etihad

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Erling Haaland scored his fourth hit-trick for Manchester City as Wolves were brushed aside 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The Norwegian striker completed his latest treble before the hour mark, taking his Premier League tally for the season to 25, and making it 31 in all competitions.

With the win safely in the bag, manager Pep Guardiola was even able to take off the 21-year-old minutes after scoring his third goal.

It was the perfect response from City after Guardiola's criticism of his team following their comeback win against Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday.

The victory against Wolves moved City back to within two points of league leaders Arsenal, but the Gunners will still have a game in hand on the Sky Blues after their match against Manchester United later on Sunday.

"We knew today we had to hit the ground running and get off to a good start, playing with tempo and that set the game," said defender John Stones.

"I didn't see the comments from Pep. But I knew what he said to us at half-time and what he wants from us and what he knows we can do.

"Today we knew that we had to do that from the off and we did. The patience and desire was there and we were scoring goals and creating chances. Obviously a clean sheet is massive now."

After a scrappy opening, Haaland headed City in front five minutes before the interval and doubled the lead from the penalty spot after 50 minutes.

He claimed a third four minutes later and then, with his job done, left the field to a standing ovation.

City’s victory kept City firmly in the title picture and further eased concerns about their form after indifferent results earlier in the month.

It took time for City to get into their stride due to Wolves’ rough tactics, but their victory was ultimately a convincing one.

Phil Foden did not appear in City’s matchday squad but Kevin De Bruyne was back in the side after being left out in midweek.

City needed to be patient early on. It was evident, after some grappling in the box twice delayed their attempts to take a corner, that Wolves wanted to constrain and frustrate their hosts.

Max Kilman was booked for a heavy challenge on Ilkay Gundogan and Mario Lemina, on his full debut, and manager Julen Lopetegui also received early yellow cards.

City gradually adapted with Haaland and Jack Grealish both having shots saved by Jose Sa before Rodri fired just over.

Their breakthrough came late in the first half when De Bruyne stood up a cross to the far post and Haaland rose to nod home in style.

City wanted a penalty soon after when Grealish went down under a challenge from Nathan Collins but referee David Coote and VAR both spared the Wolves defender.

Collins frustrated Grealish again soon after when he cleared his powerful shot off the line.

City were awarded a spot-kick early in the second half after Gundogan was felled by Ruben Neves and Haaland made no mistake from 12 yards.

Haaland punished Wolves further in the 54th minute. Sa gifted possession straight to Riyad Mahrez, who moments after going close himself when he headed into the side-netting, quickly laid off to the striker.

Haaland could not miss from in front of goal and peeled away to celebrate yet another goal before making way for World Cup-winner Julian Alvarez.

Wolves showed some spirit with debutant Pablo Sarabia having an effort blocked by Nathan Ake and Daniel Podence testing Ederson.

City threatened more but Mahrez was denied by an offside flag, Alvarez could not get round Sa and Gundogan headed over.

Updated: January 22, 2023, 4:26 PM