Erling Haaland on target again as Manchester City punish 10-man Wolves – The Guardian

There seems to be no problem in the Erling Haaland machine. The Manchester City striker took his tally to 11 league goals from seven games, and 14 from nine in all competitions, after scoring with robotic precision in a procession against Wolves. A one-sided contest was bookended by strikes from Jack Grealish and Phil Foden but it is Haaland’s borderline silly numbers that continue to raise eyebrows and generate a general sense of disbelief.

For Haaland, this season so far has amounted to one giant masterclass in finishing. Haaland became the first to score here Premier League player to score in each of his first four away games. He has scored in each of his last seven games and personally outplayed Chelsea, Manchester United and 11 other top sides. City led within a minute and things went from bad to worse for Wolves when, two goals behind, Nathan Collins was sent off on 33 minutes for a savage kung fu kick on Grealish. City are now unbeaten in 22 Premier League away games – a club record.

When the visitors grabbed the lead with 55 seconds on the clock, it spelled the start of a miserable afternoon for those in old gold. City flowed down the right, Foden back-heeling the ball into the path of the peerless Kevin De Bruyne, whose cross was typically masterful.

The ball eluded Haaland at the front post but not Grealish at the back, the winger beating Jonny to the punch to score his first goal since May before rolling away in celebration. Foden kissed the forehead of Grealish and Pep Guardiola, who this week defended Grealish’s formsimply took a few sips of water.

Phil Foden beats José Sá for the third goal.
Phil Foden beats José Sá for the third goal. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

“Just for people to ask, I should be winning more and getting more help,” Grealish said. “I will always have people talking about me because of the amount I bought for [£100m] but if you look at my entire career, I probably didn’t earn as much as some people. It’s something I want to add to my game.”

By the time Haaland stroked the ball into the net on 16 minutes, having been allowed to wander into a vast hole of space, that match had become a non-event. The game was surely for Wolves when Collins made a high and unpunished challenge on Grealish that left the City midfielder nursing his hip and stomach, and Wolves with 10 men. Collins limped off the pitch, livid and seemingly inconsolable as he made his way down the tunnel in a futile pit stop with the fourth official, Tony Harrington, to argue his point. The pained look on Bruno Lage’s face said it all, but to their credit Wolves didn’t crumble. Their captain, Rúben Neves, filled in at centre-back and Gonçalo Guedes and Daniel Podence continued to plug away, the latter dropping a shot just wide of the post. But City never really needed to be upset.

Wolves' Nathan Collins flies into a rash challenge on Jack Grealish.
Wolves’ Nathan Collins flies into the rash challenge on Jack Grealish which resulted in him being shown a red card. Photo: Carl Recine/Action Images/Reuters

The visitors were completely in control but it seems the more comfortable they are, the more Guardiola seems to be dealing with his players. He waved his hands frantically on the touchline with the demeanor of a man who has just been told his luggage has been lost. Approaching the hour mark, shortly after Guedes fluffed his lines after being picked out inside the box by Rayan Aït-Nouri, Guardiola closed his eyes and stewed quietly as City allowed Wolves to cling to the idea of ​​a comeback. It’s safe to say those hopes were extinguished when Foden applied a deft finishing touch to another delicious De Bruyne cross with 21 minutes to play.

Before Collins’ blood rush to the head, Pedro Neto pulled a shot wide after good work from Guedes, who is still looking for his first goal since signing from Valencia. He shuffled past John Stones and dispatched a shot that Ederson saved at his near post. Haaland may have made it into double figures but Wolves, who have won just one of their past 14 top-flight matches, have mustered just three goals this season. “When you don’t win, it’s a concern,” Lage said. “I’m not happy because we lost the game but I see good signs.”

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