Erling Haaland scored twice to seal Manchester City's comfortable win over West Ham United at the London Stadium

West Ham 0-2 Manchester City: Erling Haaland scores TWICE on Premier League debut

Erling Haaland won the penalty, Erling Haaland scored the penalty.

In Premier League history, only one other player has done so on his debut. Alexandre Pato for Chelsea against Aston Villa, April 2, 2016. OK, so that’s not the greatest omen.

Pato did not score again for Chelsea and only played for them in one other game. He ended up in China with Tianjin Quanjian and for the past two seasons he has played in MLS at Orlando City.

Erling Haaland scored twice to seal Manchester City’s comfortable win over West Ham United at the London Stadium

Haaland produced a cool finish after being played on goal by Kevin De Bruyne in the second half of the game

Haaland produced a cool finish after being played on goal by Kevin De Bruyne in the second half of the game

Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was powerless to prevent Haaland from finding the net for the second time in the game

Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was powerless to prevent Haaland from finding the net for the second time in the game

Kalvin Phillips congratulates Haaland after the striker sealed the three points with his second goal of the game

Kalvin Phillips congratulates Haaland after the striker sealed the three points with his second goal of the game

Haaland gave his famous celebration after opening the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half of the game

Haaland gave his famous celebration after opening the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half of the game

Still, we already know that the anti-climax is unlikely to be Haaland’s fate, not least because 30 minutes after scoring his first goal he added a second. So it was quite the arrival. It was, in fact, what many feared, a signing that could transform Manchester City, making them even stronger, perhaps almost unbeatable.

It’s too early to draw such dramatic conclusions, but hope after the Community Shield defeat that Haaland could upset Manchester City’s precious balance has all but evaporated. It was the real start of sanity and City looked an extraordinarily good side, made even better by Haaland’s key presence.

He combines well with all their most important builders – Kevin De Bruyne in the middle, Jack Grealish out – and West Ham were so busy trying to contain them that they forgot to play their game. Liverpool have already dropped points , unexpectedly at Fulham, and with the aggregate totals City continue to post under Pap Guardiola, one wonders if they are already catching up.

There is genuine concern City could turn this into a procession if they leave early. And think of Manchester United: after losing to Brighton, it’s entirely possible they will never top City in the season standings. And we’re in 90 minutes.

MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS & PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE

West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 6 (Areola 29, 4); Coufal 5, Johnson 5.5, Zouma 5, Creswell 5.5; Soucek 5.5, Rice 6; Bowen 5.5 (Downes 90), Lanzini 5 (Benrahma 57, 6), Fornals 5 (Coventry 90); Anthony 5 (Scamacca 57, 6)

Subtitles (not used): Randolph, Vlasic, Oko-Flex, Ashby

Administrator: David Moyes 5

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson 8; Walker 8, Dias 8, Ake 8, Cancelo 8; De Bruyne 8.5 (Palmer 88), Rodri 8.5 (Phillips 88), Gundogan 8.5 (Silva 78); Foden 8 (Mahrez 88), Haaland 9 (Alvarez 78), Grealish 8

Subtitles (not used): Ortega Moreno, Stones, Lewis, Wilson-Esbrand

Scorers: Haaland (36 pen, 65)

Reserve: to cancel

Administrator: Pep Guardiola 8

Arbitrator: Michael Olivier 6

Presence: 62,500



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Haaland broke the deadlock from the spot after winning the penalty by drawing a foul from West Ham goalkeeper Areola

Haaland broke the deadlock from the spot after winning the penalty by drawing a foul from West Ham goalkeeper Areola

The Norwegian striker sent the keeper the wrong way to put his side in front shortly before half-time in London.

The Norwegian striker sent the keeper the wrong way to put his side in front shortly before half-time in London.

The striker certainly seemed to be enjoying the moment after scoring his first Premier League goal on Sunday

The striker certainly seemed to be enjoying the moment after scoring his first Premier League goal on Sunday

City were helped, to be fair, by a very tame display from West Ham. They posed little threat even when it became clear that the containment attempt had failed. In the end, West Ham seemed content to have escaped with just the two-goal deficit – and, of course, it could have been more.

Notably for Haaland, who narrowly failed to complete two more good crosses, and headed in a 70th-minute cross from Grealish that could have been his hat-trick. Just five minutes earlier he had decided the game with City’s second and his setup looked rather ominous. A very fine ball from De Bruyne cleared it and, one-on-one with substitute keeper Alphonse Areola, Haaland planted the ball firmly in the far corner. There was never a single second of doubt. In the stands, his father Alf Inge and his mother Gry Marita celebrated wildly. We imagine we’ll see a lot more of that this season; and many more performances like this too.

Strangely, West Ham had started well. Really good, actually. Brave, on the front foot, causing City problems from the back and in the air. Unfortunately, for them, that period of dominance lasted around three minutes, at which point normal service resumed, meaning Manchester City dominated. And that’s how it all began: the tsunami of passing and possession that defines this City team and overwhelms inadequate opposition. It’s wonderful to watch, as a neutral or a purist, and certainly as a City fan. For home maintenance, on the other hand, it is quite another thing.

The stadium becomes dim. Not exactly calm, but distracted from how a crowd at Lord’s can sometimes seem preoccupied with more than events on the pitch. There is a soft hum. Conversations take place, about who goes to the bar, what is required of the bar, going anywhere on vacation, are we ever going to get the ball back? And through it all, City are scrambling, probing, testing, pulling the opposition out of place, biding their time. And, invariably, a goal arises

Pep Guardiola's side picked up where they left off last season with a dominant display in a tough away game

Pep Guardiola’s side picked up where they left off last season with a dominant display in a tough away game

Perhaps that’s the kind of shot De Bruyne had after 14 minutes, screwed surprisingly far from Joao Cancelo’s set-up when he’s usually so accurate; it may be a cross from Phil Foden, whom Haaland was unable to meet nine minutes later, or another from De Bruyne in the second half, an inch wide before Ilkay Gundogan missed; or it could be the work of a fine pass to the new striker, and the nervous reaction of the opposition given the time spent chasing shadows against a Guardiola side.

And, yesterday, it was the latter. Areola was the culprit. He came on after 28 minutes once Lukasz Fabianski gave up on continuing after a clash with Haaland minutes earlier. There was no fault. It was a loose ball, enjoyed by both goalkeeper and striker, and they bounced off each other. It’s a great unit, however, Haaland – it’s one of his many strengths – and Fabianski certainly came out injured. He had treatment for several minutes, tried to continue playing, decided against it soon after, and disappeared.

Vint Areola, Moyes’ first choice in cups, including the Europa League campaign last season. There’s a reason it doesn’t start more regularly here, though. It was a horrendous decision making that brought Manchester City into the game. A through pass for Haaland, the giant striker rounding Areola, the goalkeeper reaching out a desperate arm to claw him to the ground. We don’t know if Haaland would have scored from this position, but he was certainly better with the ball on the spot from 12 yards out. The top scorers fancy penalty shootouts and, to Haaland’s credit, there’s no longer any doubt who takes them to Manchester City. The ball went low to the left, Areola went in the opposite direction, City and Haaland were off target.

Phil Foden (left) and Haaland celebrate as Man City win after the referee's full-time whistle at the London Stadium

Phil Foden (left) and Haaland celebrate as Man City win after the referee’s full-time whistle at the London Stadium

By now City possession was over 80 per cent and West Ham’s initial promise was much forgotten. This had resulted in pressure from a set piece, prompting a clash between Ruben Dias and his own goalkeeper Ederson, who ended up with a minnow more commonly seen at York Hall in Bethnal Green. Perhaps still feeling it, he didn’t come looking for a cross from Pablo Fornals and Michail Antonio headed just over. West Ham supporters must have made that memory last for quite a while, as City threw down their cover on the game. It wasn’t until Declan Rice shot from good position after 54 minutes that they had another chance.

City have been here before, of course. In 2011, an Argentine striker called Sergio Aguero scored twice on his debut against Swansea. He was going to change the history of the club. It is quite possible that Haaland will do the same. It was pretty good as an opening; but Europe is waiting.

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West Ham 0-2 Manchester City: Erling Haaland scores TWICE on Premier League debut

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