Erling Haaland arrived at Manchester City with huge expectations this summer and he has not disappointed his new employers after netting his 11th league goal on Saturday.
Original article published 17 September 2022
Having ripped it up for Borussia Dortmund over the past couple of seasons, this summer brought about the end of Haaland's time in Germany after the Citizens activated his £51.2million release clause.
Given the hefty transfer fee, there was a degree of pressure on the 22-year-old and there were initial questions of whether he would be suited to City's style and formation.
Fast-forward a couple of months and the Norway international has already proven he is worth the money after scoring his 11th league goal of the campaign in Saturday's victory at Wolverhampton.
With that strike at Molineux, Haaland has become the first player in Premier League history to score in each of his first four away games and the art of finding the back of the net just looks so easy to him.
Prior to the win at Wolves, the striker became the first player in PL history to score nine times in his opening five games, while back-to-back hat-tricks in home victories over Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest saw him break the previous record held by Demba Ba, who netted his first two top-flight hat-tricks in 21 games.
While Haaland looks like he will fire City to another top-flight title, it is Champions League glory that the club are desperately striving for and he could prove to be the final piece of the puzzle for Pep Guardiola.
The Norwegian has already scored three goals in two CL outings for the Citizens this season and a strong run in the tournament looks likely with the striker leading the line.
A World Cup midway through the season could also benefit City, as Haaland will not be competing in the major event and he will be fresh and ready to go when the domestic action returns.
The Citizens are 2/1 to win the Champions League for the first time in their history this season.
City's 3-0 win at Wolves has seen them move to the top of the standings and the ease of the victory, albeit against 10 men after the sending off of Nathan Collins, should strike fear in the other teams.
Guardiola's side have hit a league-high 23 goals in the league and conceded just six times, so they are impressing at both ends of the pitch, and there doesn't appear to be any weaknesses in the side right now.
Even if Haaland got injured or was handed a rest, Julian Alvarez has already proven he can handle it at this level with two goals from four league appearances.
Throw in the likes of Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez, and there is a wealth of attacking options for Guardiola to choose from.
City have, at times, made things so effortless this season and they will be a tough nut to crack on both the domestic and European stage.
Even when they have struggled, they have had the firepower to hit back. They were 3-1 down against Newcastle earlier in the season before coming back to draw 3-3 at St James' Park.
Despite being two goals behind in that contest, there never seemed to be any panic from the Citizens and they really should have won that game with the chances they created.
After the upcoming international break, City will return to action against rivals Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on 2nd October.
While the Red Devils have shown signs of revival after a difficult start to the campaign, this will surely be a bridge too far for Erik ten Hag's men.
The Citizens are 4/11 to pick up all three points on home soil, while United are at 6/1 for a win on the road and the draw at Old Trafford is 19/4.
Having already been torn apart by Brentford this season, United will be wary of suffering a heavy defeat in the derby and they will need to be at their defensive best to try and stop City.
With Haaland leading the way though, this could be another comfortable win for Guardiola's side as they look to continue their unbeaten start to the campaign.