Erling Haaland scored his fourth Manchester City hat-trick and increased his season goal tally to 31 in all competitions as Pep Guardiola’s men swept aside relegation-threatened Wolves.
Haaland had been experiencing a dry spell by his own incredibly high standards.
City However, after ending a three-game winless streak against Tottenham on Thursday, the Norwegian annihilated Wolves in a 12-minute spell either side of half-time.
Initially, Haaland rose to head home Kevin de Bruyne’s cross, putting the hosts ahead at the break.
He then converted a penalty after Ilkay Gundogan was fouled by Wolves captain Ruben Neves, before sweeping home his third after Jose Sa’s pass out of his six-yard box was intercepted by Riyad Mahrez.
In City’s first 20 Premier League games, Haaland has now scored 25 goals. This is five more than Luis Suarez achieved in 2013-14, the previous high at this point in the season.
The Norwegian striker’s current tally would have earned him the Golden Boot in more than half of the 30 seasons since the English Premier League was renamed in 1992.
He’s also already equaled Mo Salah’s Premier League hat-trick total and one-third of Sergio Aguero’s Premier League record of 12, which the Argentine set during his illustrious decade with City.
Only Alan Shearer (five) has more Premier League hat-tricks in a single season.
Guardiola’s extraordinary rant following the win over Tottenham was about the difficulty of maintaining drive and determination when you are so used to winning.
That is why Haaland is crucial to this team. The Norwegians last won a league title in Austria three years ago. In 2021, he won the German Cup with Borussia Dortmund.
If the prospect of a fifth championship in six seasons fails to motivate some City players, Haaland is not one of them, and his hunger for goals could be a deciding factor as the season progresses.
Guardiola saw no point in pushing the striker and replaced him after an hour with World Cup winner Julian Alvarez.