Thanks to Erling Haaland’s 20th goal, Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League with a 4-0 victory over Southampton.
The 22-year-old Norwegian striker has only played 13 games in all competitions, with struggling Saints the latest side to discover how difficult it is to keep him or his teammates quiet.
City attacked relentlessly from the start, and Erling Haaland came within inches of giving them an early lead when he hit the inside of the post after galloping clear, much to the surprise of nearly the entire stadium.
Instead, it was Joao Cancelo who gave the home side the lead, latching onto Phil Foden’s pass and cutting past James Ward-Prowse before finding the bottom corner of the net.
Foden, who, like Haaland, scored a hat-trick here last weekend against Manchester United, got on the board soon after with a dinked finish after Kevin de Bruyne found him in space in the box.
City were in complete control at the break, and Mahrez volleyed home a Rodri cross to seal the points early in the second half.
The only thing missing for the home fans was another Erling Haaland goal, and after three consecutive home league hat-tricks, it appeared that his day might not come.
Under pressure from Mohammed Salisu, Haaland was unable to get on the end of De Bruyne’s cross, and was then brilliantly denied by Bazunu, who dived at his feet as he charged through on goal.
However, as the chances piled up, you just knew Erling Haaland would take one – and he did, meeting Cancelo’s cutback with a typically precise low finish to make it 4-0 after 65 minutes.
Southampton drew home and away against Pep Guardiola’s side last season, despite having only one touch in the City area and two shots – both from distance and both off target. They had no chance of avoiding a fourth straight defeat this time.
City was last at the top on August 20 and may not be there for long – Arsenal will reclaim the top spot if they beat Liverpool on Sunday.
Regardless of their current position in the table, the defending champions are clearly in form that will worry all of their title rivals.
City are the last unbeaten team in England’s top four divisions, but the manner in which they are dispatching opponents is the most concerning sign.
City’s victory over Saints means they have now scored 33 goals in nine league games, 13 more than Arsenal, who come in second.