Match Report

Haaland's debut double gets City off to perfect start at West Ham

AT THE DOUBLE: Haaland finds the net again!
Premier League
Premier League
Sun 7 Aug
0
2
Erling Haaland 
(36', 65')
Erling Haaland bagged a brilliant brace of goals on his Premier League debut as City’s defence of our title got off to a flying start at West Ham.

In what was a superb all-round performance by Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions, Haaland gave City a deserved 36th minute lead from the penalty spot with what was the very first shot on target of his Premier League career.

The Norwegian centre forward then doubled down on a dynamic debut display by firing home from Kevin De Bruyne’s pinpoint, precision pass on 65 minutes to seal a deserved win.

The feat saw Haaland become only the second City player to score a brace on his Premier League debut following Sergio Agüero in August 2011.

And it capped what was a perfect opening to the 2022/23 campaign for City.

What happened

With the sun blazing down in East London and the on-field temperature breaking through the 90 degree Fahrenheit barrier, City also had to weather some early West Ham pressure as we set out in defence of our title.

A dipping Manuel Lanzini cross found Michail Antonio who fortunately headed over the bar.

LEADING MAN: Captain Ilkay Gundogan puts in some close control work
LEADING MAN: Captain Ilkay Gundogan puts in some close control work

However, after that frantic start from the hosts, City soon slotted back into our familiar passing game with our trademark fluid movement and tactical flexibility evident again as we dominated territory and possession.

A driving 14th minute run up the left flank from Joao Cancelo fashioned a chance for De Bruyne from the edge of the box but the Belgian dragged his shot wide of the mark.

More fine work from Cancelo found Phil Foden on the right flank and the England international curled in a delightful teasing cross which was inches away from being met by Haaland.

De Bruyne then had the ball in the net on 28 minutes slotting home from Gundogan’s neat cutback but the German was offside.

West Ham were then forced into a change of keeper with Lukas Fabianksi forced off on the half hour after feeling the effects of an earlier collision, Alphonse Areola replacing the Pole.

City though didn’t have much longer to wait for our deserved breakthrough and it was that man Haaland who provided the goal via a 36th minute penalty

The Norwegian was brought down by Areola as he chased a sumptuous Gundogan through ball with referee Michael Oliver pointing straight to the spot.

SPOT ON: Erling Haaland fires City ahead from the penalty spot.
SPOT ON: Erling Haaland fires City ahead from the penalty spot.

Haaland immediately picked the ball up and marched straight to the spot before calmly despatching a superb spot kick into the bottom left-hand corner of the net to mark his Premier League debut in style.

It was no less than Guardiola’s side deserved after a dominant opening 45 minutes.

The hosts sought up to summon up a response after the break with new signing Gianluca Scamacca and Said Benrahma both thrown into the fray and Declan Rice seeing a 20 yard shot just blaze over the bar.

City though retained a potent edge going forward and we came within an ace of doubling our lead when Foden slipped in De Bruyne superbly. He crossed from the right, Haaland slid in but can't reach it and Gundogan came in behind and struck the ball wide.

But the second goal did arrive on 68 minutes and it was Haaland who doubled his and City’s tally.

Another of his surging runs was found by an inch perfect De Bruyne pass and the striker coolly waited before despatching a low shot past Areola into the net to the delight of his team-mates and travelling fans.

CELEBRATION TIME: For Haaland and City
CELEBRATION TIME: For Haaland and City

Haaland then had a chance to bag a Premier League hat trick, heading narrowly over from Grealish’s cross.

But two goals and three points made for the perfect way to get our season up and running!

Quality street

It wasn’t just those two goals that caught the eye in terms of Haaland’s Premier League debut.

The Norwegian’s surging runs forward into the heart of the Hammers defence allied to an imposing physical presence provided an inviting outlet for our battery of creative talent.

The way he latched onto De Bruyne’s delightful pass for his second goal will also have every City fan drooling.

And on the encouraging evidence of Sunday’s magnificent all-round display, Erling’s debut Premier League strikes promise to be first of many for the 22-year-old.

DOUBLE DELIGHT: Haaland slots home his second goal
DOUBLE DELIGHT: Haaland slots home his second goal

Teams

West Ham: Fabianski (Areola 32), Coufal, Zouma, Cresswell, Johnson, Rice, Soucek, Lanzini (Benrahma 59), Bowen, Fornals, Antonio (Scamacca 59)

Subs: Randolph, Ashby, Coventry, Downes, Okoflex, Vlasic

City XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Rodrigo (Phillips 88), De Bruyne (Palmer 88), Gundogan (Bernardo 78) , Grealish, Haaland (Alvarez 78), Foden (Mahrez 88)

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Stones, Lewis, Wilson-Esbrand

What it means

Early days of course, after just one game, but three points out of three, a debut Haaland brace and a clean sheet to boot after a tough trip to West Ham adds up to a more than decent start to proceedings!

PEP'S POINTER: The boss hands out more crucial advice to his players
PEP'S POINTER: The boss hands out more crucial advice to his players

Pep Guardiola's reaction

“I know how Erling handled a lot of criticism this week.

“He was really calm, he trained really well but the way he took the ball for the penalty I said 'I like it'.

“So direct and I think if someone is taking the ball, he would punch them in the face even though they are his mates!

“And that is a pretty good sign. To be so confident, I like it.”

What’s next

City make our first home appearance of the new Premier League season next Saturday when we play host to newly promoted Bournemouth.

Kick-off at the Etihad will be 3pm (BST) with City looking to build on Sunday’s superb start at West Ham

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