Erling Haaland hat-trick gives glimpse of exciting future for Manchester City

Erling Haaland celebrates scoring for Manchester City against Crystal Palace.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester City might have lost this fixture in the past. But not now. Not with Erling Haaland in their team.

The Norwegian forward scored his maiden hat-trick for City on Saturday – since signing for £50 million from Borussia Dortmund in the summer – as the champions came back from two goals down at home to beat Crystal Palace 4-2. That is six goals for the 22-year-old in his four Premier League appearances. And he is only just getting started.

Haaland faced some ridicule online as he missed chances in the 3-1 loss to Liverpool in the Community Shield earlier this month, but hit back with two goals on his debut at West Ham the following weekend.

There was further scrutiny as he touched the ball only eight times in City's 4-0 win over Bournemouth, even though he did claim an assist in that match.

And since then, more goals: one in the comeback draw against Newcastle last weekend and three more in the 4-2 win over Crystal Palace.

Haaland headed home to make it 2-2 – after Bernardo Silva had pulled one back – following a pass from Phil Foden. "Great comeback today. Happy to assist you," the England international tweeted later.

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Haaland was then in the right place to tap home at the far post following a series of short passes in the area to make it 3-2 and completed his hat-trick with a clinical finish after he ran onto an Ilkay Gundogan ball and used his strength to hold off the challenge of a Crystal Palace defender.

The Norwegian becomes only the fourth player to hit six goals in his first four Premier League appearances – after Diego Costa, Sergio Aguero and Mick Quinn. By the end of the season, expect many more records to be broken.

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"Definitely for this type of game," Pep Guardiola said when asked afterwards if this is why the striker was signed. "We have not done anything special for him that he didn't do before. It is important for him to get goals. He has the sense to score goals."

Haaland himself is a man of few words. "Really good feeling. A proud moment for me and my family," he said in his post-match interview. "We keep going. These games are why I'm here – to turn things around when there are difficult times."

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Later on, he tweeted: "No words needed." He is right, too – because his goals will do the talking this season.

With six of those already, he will be the overwhelming favourite to win the Premier League Golden Boot.

And having told FourFourTwo recently that he is here to improve and become the best, his early form really is quite ominous for his opponents at home and in Europe this term – and a glimpse into an incredibly exciting future for Manchester City.

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.