Haaland hits four as rampant City crush Wolves to close gap on Arsenal

Erling Haaland produced a breathtaking performance as Manchester City beat Wolves 5-1, scoring four goals as the champions moved to within three wins of a record fourth consecutive Premier League title.

Arsenal’s comfortable victory over Bournemouth earlier on Saturday extended the Gunners’ lead at the top of the table to four points but Pep Guardiola’s team – who hold a game in hand – were never panicked.

City led after just 12 minutes when Haaland converted his first of two penalties, although Craig Pawson’s decision to penalise Rayan Ait-Nouri for catching Josko Gvardiol was described as “harsh” by Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher.

Haaland doubled his tally with a towering header from Rodri’s pinpoint cross and had his hat-trick before half-time with his second penalty, belatedly awarded by Pawson following a pitch-side review that showed Nelson Semedo had clearly fouled the striker.

Hee-Chan Hwang looked to have reignited the contest after Ederson’s error, only for Haaland to douse the flames with a brilliant fourth moments later.

There was still time for Julian Alvarez to add a fifth on his 100th City appearance as the champions took another step towards the title – and chipped into Arsenal’s superior goal difference.

More to follow…

How Haaland punished Wolves to move City closer to title

At the age of 23, Haaland now has a remarkable 21 career hat-tricks, with six of those coming in the Premier League.

The striker was given a helping hand for his first goal by referee Pawson, who pointed to the spot under pressure from City players after a collision between Gvardiol and Ait-Nouri.

The pair seemed to run into each other as Gvardiol’s shot flew over the bar but VAR did not advise the official to overturn his decision, and Haaland took advantage by firing in the penalty.

Team news

  • Man City made three changes, with Phil Foden, Erling Haaland and Mateo Kovacic replacing Jack Grealish, Julian Alvarez and Jeremy Doku.
  • Wolves made just one alteration, with Hugo Bueno in for Matt Doherty.

Jose Sa prevented him from adding a second but Haaland would not be denied, perfectly placing a header beyond the Wolves goalkeeper in the 35th minute.

The hat-trick was complete in first-half stoppage time when Haaland again beat Sa from the spot, although Pawson initially waved away the claims after Semedo bundled into the back of the striker.

The referee then took an eternity at the monitor before eventually penalising what appeared to be a clear foul – ending Wolves’ lingering hopes of a comeback.

City’s intensity was lowered after half-time and Ederson handed the visitors a lifeline when he flapped at a cross, with Hwang burying the rebound.

But City’s response was emphatic, with Haaland scoring his fourth – and best – goal of the game, bursting into the box before firing the ball into the far corner.

Haaland no doubt harboured hopes of becoming the first player to score six goals in a Premier League game but Guardiola had other ideas, replacing him with Alvarez, who promptly added City’s fifth.

Haaland expressed his frustration at being replaced after taking his place on the bench but his mood will surely improve when he takes a look at the table, which shows a sixth title of Guardiola’s reign remains firmly in City’s hands.

What’s next?

Manchester City have three matches left in their quest for the Premier League title. They travel to Fulham on Saturday May 11 – kick-off 12.30pm – before visiting Tottenham on Tuesday May 14, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8pm. City then finish the season at home to West Ham on Sunday May 19; kick-off 4pm.

Wolves host Crystal Palace on May 11 – kick-off 3pm – before finishing their season at Liverpool in Jurgen Klopp’s final game in charge on May 19; kick-off 4pm.

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