Erling Haaland is taking English soccer by storm.
Back-to-back hat tricks. Nine goals in five games. No player has ever made as good a start to the Premier League as the towering Norway striker.
Haaland’s latest three-goal haul came in the first half of City’s 6-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest on Tuesday, three days after achieving the same feat in the second half against Crystal Palace.
City was banking on Haaland being the heir to long-time striker Sergio Aguero and it’s already looking as if that is the case.
Aguero previously held the record for most goals in a player’s first five Premier League appearances, with eight along with former Coventry striker Mick Quinn (from the early 1990s). Haaland has bettered that, and surely more scoring records will fall if he continues like this.
For example, can he become the first player to score 40 goals in a single top-flight campaign in England since Tottenham’s Jimmy Greaves in 1960-61?
“What Haaland wants is to win titles,” Guardiola said of the striker who scored with his left foot, right foot and head against Forest. “Knowing him, he would not be happy to break records if we don’t win titles.
“Sergio is a legend — no one can break his position in the hearts of Man City fans. But Erling has the quality to be there.”
City is the red-hot favorite to win the Premier League again with Haaland leading the line and is unbeaten with four wins from five games.
Even its back-up striker is scoring, with Julian Alvarez — an offseason arrival from River Plate — marking his first start with two goals in the second half. Joao Cancelo also scored with a blast from outside the box.
Still, the champions aren’t top. That honor remains with Arsenal.
Arsenal has matched its best ever start to a Premier League season after securing a fifth straight win to open the season by beating Aston Villa 2-1.
Gabriel Martinelli’s 77th-minute goal clinched victory at Emirates Stadium after Arsenal was pegged back by conceding a goal straight from a corner by Douglas Luiz, who did the same in an English League Cup match last week, too.
That came against the run of play, with Arsenal dominating the game but only having Gabriel Jesus’ 30th-minute goal — his third of the season — to show for it.
“That is the spirit we need to keep for the whole season,” Martinelli said.
Villa has lost four of its five games, leaving manager Steven Gerrard under pressure.
LATE, LATE GOAL
Liverpool is battling hard to keep up with the fierce pace set by Arsenal and City, needing a goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time by Fábio Carvalho to claim a dramatic 2-1 win over Newcastle.
Alexander Isak gave Newcastle the lead in the 38th on his debut following a move from Real Sociedad on Friday for a club-record fee and was denied a second goal by narrow offside call.
Roberto Firmino swept in a finish from Mohamed Salah’s cross to equalize before a penalty-box melee following a corner saw the ball pop up off the shoulder of Salah, and Carvalho — a summer signing from Fulham — reacted quickest to smash into the roof of the net.
“I am not sure everyone in the stadium kept believing but from now on we have to,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. “What a wonderful goal from the little one.”
It was a second straight victory for Liverpool, which opened the season without winning any of its first three games.
Tottenham remained unbeaten after a 1-1 draw at West Ham, for whom club-record signing Lucas Paqueta missed a chance to score a late winner on his debut.
West Ham manager David Moyes said before kickoff that Paqueta had not so much as passed a ball to his new teammates after only completing his 52 million pound ($61.6 million) switch from Lyon on Monday.
With four minutes remaining, Vladimir Coufal pulled the ball back and Paqueta — on as a 67th-minute substitute — got in a mix-up with fellow new signing Emerson Palmieri as they left the ball to each other, 10 meters from goal, instead of taking a shot. Moyes fell to his knees on the touchline.
An own-goal from Thilo Kehrer gave Tottenham the lead before Tomas Soucek equalized.
In the other game, Bournemouth drew 0-0 at home to Wolverhampton, two days after firing manager Scott Parker.