Manchester City defeated a resolute Leeds to cut the gap between them and Arsenal at the top of the standings to five points, and Erling Haaland became the player to reach 20 Premier League goals the fastest.
At Elland Road, City struggled against a focused and determined home team and their own carelessness for the majority of the first half until grabbing the lead through Rodri’s follow-up goal shortly before the break and cruising to victory in the lopsided second half.
Haaland, who was playing in his hometown against the team he loves after seeing a few of his shots saved early in the game, did not celebrate his goals but showed no mercy in securing them to raise his amazing tally in just his 14th game of the season.
The selfless Jack Grealish, who himself had missed a hat-trick of wonderful opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, put him up in front of an open goal, where he could not mistake for his first.
Grealish again set up Haaland for his second goal, which he scored after a deflection and from close range to leave Leeds with an impossible deficit to overturn.
In keeping with their performance, the home team didn’t give up and responded with a goal via Pascal Struijk’s header from a corner.
And if Joe Gelhardt’s poked finish hadn’t trickled the wrong side of the post, they might have been able to stage a spectacular finish.
Although both City and Newcastle won on Monday, City was able to secure the victory to go back up to second place behind the Gunners and two points ahead of Newcastle.
With Leeds in 15th place with 15 points and one of 11 clubs separated by just eight points, the fight for survival is no less fierce.
Ruthless Haaland Picks Up Where He Left Off
Haaland was forced to watch from afar while 16 of his teammates competed for the World Cup in Qatar, stewing over Norway’s failure to qualify and preparing himself to retaliate against his subsequent opponents.
Early indications suggested that Leeds would be granted a respite, but more out of competitive frost than any sympathy toward his hometown team, whom he reportedly nearly joined as a teenager.
Illan Meslier, the outstanding goalkeeper for the Whites, squandered or rather saved two opportunities that he has a habit of snatching up.
Haaland wasn’t by himself. Grealish was particularly wasteful, earning jeers from a home crowd that was already against him with three misses that a player of his caliber should have converted.
However, Haaland and Grealish responded forcefully when Rodri broke the tie at the end of an insightful break right before halftime.
The latter scored a goal after winning a high-up ball battle and setting it up for the later before soon after assisting for another easy goal. Despite Struijk giving the home team a last-ditch glimmer of hope, the two seconds sealed the victory.
It provided more proof of Haaland’s danger. He can dribble throughout the majority of a game, yet all it takes to damage opponents is a fraction of a yard on a defender or a glimpse of the net.