Man City reclaim the top spot from Arsenal
Man City won their ninth consecutive match to return to the top of the Premier League table, defeating West Ham 3-0 in a rescheduled match from Gameweek 28.
Erling Haaland was the game star, scoring to make it 2-0 in the 70th minute and breaking the record for the fastest to 35 Premier League goals. The Norwegian striker achieved the feat in just 31 games, taking his overall tally to 51 goals in 45 appearances.
He played a key role in Man City’s ninth straight win in the Premier League, helping them move one point ahead of Arsenal with a game in hand. Pep Guardiola’s men are also on track for a third consecutive league title.
Man City was again without midfielder Kevin de Bruyne due to injury, while goalkeeper Ederson was on the bench with Stefan Ortega taking his place. Julian Alvarez played in place of De Bruyne, dropping back into an attacking midfield role, with Haaland leading the line.
In defense, John Stones has been pushed up to play as a central midfielder in recent games, which has helped Man City control the game better by adding more personnel in midfield.
Man City dominated the first half with a possession rate of nearly 80%. However, their finishing was not good as they hit the post twice in two minutes. In the 30th minute, Jack Grealish made a breakthrough and fired a shot, but goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski dove and pushed the ball onto the post with his fingertips.
Two minutes later, Rodri was brought down by Fabianski, but the Spanish midfielder’s shot hit the post and bounced across the goal line before going out of bounds.
It seemed like Man City would be unlucky in this game, but they scored early in the second half. From Riyad Mahrez’s cross on the left, defender Ake rose up and headed the ball into the net at the far post without being marked by anyone. The ball hit the visiting goalkeeper’s body, but he could not prevent the goal.
West Ham had to push forward and at one point they had a possession rate of nearly 90%, but they failed to create good chances. On the contrary, they also made mistakes in midfield which allowed Man City to counter-attack quickly. Grealish played a through ball for Haaland to run onto and he broke the offside trap before chipping the ball over the goalkeeper’s head and into the net.
The 23-year-old forward sat down on the pitch to meditate as his teammates celebrated with him. Haaland broke the record held by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer for the most goals in a single Premier League season. And he still has five games left to improve upon that record.
Man City sealed the match with a volley from Phil Foden that deflected off the leg of defender Emerson and into the net, securing a 3-0 victory. They will continue playing at Etihad Stadium in their next Premier League match against Leeds on May 6th. After that, Haaland and his teammates will travel to Madrid to face Real in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.
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