Grealish and Haaland destroy Wolves as Man City go top
Jack Grealish scored his first goal this season and Erling Haaland extended his record-breaking hot-streak as Manchester City powered to a 3-0 win over 10-man Wolves on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s side needed just 56 seconds to take the lead at Molineux as Grealish finally enjoyed a day to remember after a difficult time since joining City from Aston Villa last year.
Haaland doubled City’s advantage with his 14th goal in 10 games in all competitions following a £51 million ($58 million) move from Borussia Dortmund that already appears a bargain.
Wolves lost any chance of a fightback when Nathan Collins was sent off for an ugly stomach-high foul on Grealish in the first half.
Phil Foden capped City’s stroll in the midlands sunshine as the Premier League champions moved to the top of the table.
Unbeaten City are two points clear of second placed Arsenal, who would regain pole position if they win at Brentford on Sunday.
Guardiola said this week that the “exceptional” Haaland was the “perfect” person to manage because his personality ensured he always remains hungry to improve.
Even Guardiola may run out of superlatives to describe the 22-year-old Norwegian if he continues this astonishing run.
Haaland was named Premier League Player of the Month for August after his blistering start to the season and he is already making his case for the September award.
He has netted in seven successive games for City and is the first player to score in their first four Premier League away appearances.
Showing their hunger to win the title for a fifth time in six seasons, City are unbeaten in a club record 22 away league matches since losing at Tottenham in their opening game last season.
There was a minute’s silence and a rendition of the national anthem following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, with Steve Bull and Mike Summerbee, legends of Wolves and City respectively, laying wreaths on the pitch before kick-off.
After that poignant tribute, City reduced Molineux to silence again with a beautifully crafted opener in the first minute.
Foden’s audacious backheel sent Kevin De Bruyne away down the right flank and the Belgian’s low cross was perfectly placed for Grealish, who timed his run to poke home from close-range.
It was a much-needed contribution from Grealish, who was making just his second league start this term after struggling to reach peak form since his British record £100 million transfer.
Guardiola might feel vindicated as well after defending the England forward following his anonymous display against Dortmund on Wednesday, blaming an ankle injury for his woes and telling him to ignore the doubters.
Haaland doubled City’s lead in the 16th minute with his first goal from outside the area for his new club.
His spectacular late winner against Dortmund led Guardiola to compare Haaland’s improvisation to Dutch legend Johan Cruyff.
This was a more prosaic strike, but it was no less effective.
With Wolves defender Max Kilman fatally backing off outside his own penalty area, Haaland was allowed to advance unchecked before drilling an unerring finish into the bottom corner.
It was Haaland’s 100th goal in his last 99 games in all competitions since leaving RB Salzburg for Dortmund in 2020.
Collins’ reckless foul on Grealish, the Wolves defender leaping into the air to kick him in the midriff, drew an inevitable red card that effectively ended the contest in the 33rd minute.
When Wolves fans jeered Grealish as he writhed on the turf, he lifted his shirt to reveal the red mark left by Collins’ boot.
Foden added City’s third goal in the 69th minute, arriving in the six-yard box to flick in De Bruyne’s cross after Haaland’s flick teed up the Belgian.