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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

Premier League: Erling Haaland 'shuts up' critics, Manchester City close in on Reds

Pep Guardiola’s team, unbeaten in their last 10 league matches and finally even in games played with title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal, have 56 points, one ahead of Arsenal in a title race that looks destined to go down to the wire

Reuters Manchester Published 22.02.24, 09:26 AM
Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland File image

Erling Haaland erased any questions about his scoring touch on Tuesday, netting Manchester City’s only goal in a 1-0 victory over Brentford that lifted them into second place in the Premier League table, just one point behind leaders Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola’s team, unbeaten in their last 10 league matches and finally even in games played with title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal, have 56 points, one ahead of Arsenal in a title race that looks destined to go down to the wire. Brentford are five points above the relegation zone in 14th.

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Haaland, who three days earlier pushed a camera in frustration after failing to score with nine shots in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea, was back in form, increasing his league tally to 17 goals.

The Norwegian broke the deadlock in the 71st minute when he sprinted onto a beautiful through ball from Julian Alvarez then stroked it past a slipping Kristoffer Ajer before beating keeper Mark Flekken. Haaland has now scored against every Premier League club he has faced. He has yet to play Luton Town.

“Top strikers score a lot of goals. Don’t criticise, he will shut your mouth. Sooner or later he is there,” said Guardiola.

“He was out for two months, he lost his grandmother, it is not easy for a human being.”

“It wasn’t easy. We scored a goal on the counter-attack,” City defender Manuel Akanji told Sky Sports. “The defender slipped early and the efficiency was there (from Haaland). He scored a great goal.

“We know how hard it is to play against Brentford, with their back five. That’s why we tried to attack and we didn’t run into too many counter-attacks.

“After the weekend we had to show a reaction and we did that. Now we have to improve game by game.”

Haaland had another effort ruled out late in the game because Kyle Walker was offside in the buildup.

Brentford missed a huge early opportunity when Frank Onyeka ran onto a pass from Yoane Wissa but shot straight at City’s keeper Ederson.

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