Haaland nets four as City remain on course for another Premier League triumph

Erling Haaland
Manchester City's Erling Haaland, second right, celebrates with teammates after scoring a hat-trick in the first half. Photo: AFP/Darren Staples

Manchester City's Erling Haaland struck four times as they remained on course to win a fourth successive Premier League title with a 5-1 thrashing of Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

Hours after Arsenal's 3-0 win over Bournemouth, Pep Guardiola's men responded with a resounding victory that pulled them to within a point of the North Londoners at the top of the standings, but with a game in hand. Haaland -- who boosted his league scoring lead to 25 with the first four-goal haul of his career -- converted from the penalty spot in the 12th minute and doubled City's lead in the 35th when he headed home at the far post from Rodri's cross.

The 23-year-old Norwegian converted again from the spot just before half-time. Hwang Hee-chan pulled one back for Wolves in the 53rd. But a minute later, Haaland smothered any hopes of a comeback by the visitors with his fourth. Substitute Julian Alvarez completed City's scoring in the 85th. 

Earlier, Arsenal cleared another hurdle in their title quest with a victory over Bournemouth in their penultimate home game.

A penalty shortly before half-time converted by Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal the lead, Leandro Trossard eased the nerves inside the Emirates Stadium with a second goal on 70 minutes and Declan Rice added the third deep into stoppage-time.

Bournemouth had cause to feel aggrieved with the Arsenal penalty confirmed after a long VAR check and they also had a goal ruled out in the second half after another VAR check.

Gabriel also had a goal ruled out for Arsenal, but Rice put the icing on the cake as Mikel Arteta's team stayed firmly in the hunt to win a first Premier League title for 20 years.

Declan Rice
Declan Rice scored Arsenal third goal. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

As expected, Arsenal dominated possession but 10th-placed Bournemouth frustrated the hosts with 10 men behind the ball for much of the opening half.

Trossard twice had shots blocked as Bournemouth threw players in front of the ball and captain Martin Odegaard was also denied early on in the Arsenal siege.

The inevitable nerves surfaced as a mistake by Gabriel let in Bournemouth danger man Dominic Solanke, but William Saliba rescued his side with a last-ditch tackle.

Arsenal made the breakthrough just before half-time thanks to a rather fortuitous penalty.

Kai Havertz was played in behind Bournemouth's defence and the German's first touch took him past keeper Mark Travers before he fell to the ground and referee David Coote pointed to the spot.

A lengthy VAR check followed and the decision was allowed to stand despite Havertz appearing to have dragged his foot to initiate contact with the leg of Travers when it would have been simpler for him to convert the chance.

Kai Havertz
Arsenal's Kai Havertz shoots at goal. Photo: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

Saka then calmly rolled the penalty into the net past a static Travers, his 16th league goal of the season met with relief around the stadium.

Bournemouth were more adventurous after the break, aided by Arsenal mistakes, and Solanke had a chance but his angled shot was easily saved by David Raya.

Arsenal then doubled their lead with Rice setting up Trossard for a clinical finish.

There was still anxiety, though, and a crazy goalmouth scramble ended up with the ball in Arsenal's net, but Solanke was adjudged to have impeded Raya with minimal contact.

In the end, Arsenal won with a flourish and will now focus on beating Manchester United and Everton in their final two games and hope that City falter.

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