Erling Haaland scored his fourth Premier League hat-trick of the season as Manchester City beat relegation-threatened Wolves 3-0 to apply the pressure on leaders Arsenal.
Lethal striker Haaland opened the scoring with a header from close range in a one-sided first half at the Etihad Stadium.
He was on target again from the penalty spot early after the restart and completed his hat-trick four minutes later following a terrible mistake from Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa, taking his goal tally for the season to a staggering 31.
City boss Pep Guardiola had demanded more hunger from his side in their quest for more trophies and they responded, moving two points behind the Gunners ahead of their huge clash with Manchester United later on Sunday.
Wolves defended resolutely in the first half, but it seemed only a matter of time before they went behind and Haaland got the breakthrough by rising above Nathan Collins to head Kevin De Bruyne's cross beyond Sa in the 40th minute.
Collins was fortunate not to concede a penalty for a challenge on Jack Grealish, before the centre-back showed great anticipation to head away a rasping drive from the England midfielder that looked destined for the back of the net.
Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui made a triple substitution at half-time, bringing Pablo Sarabia on for his debut along with Matheus Cunha and Joao Moutinho.
Haaland gave City breathing space five minutes into the second half, sending Sa the wrong way from the spot after Ruben Neves upended Ilkay Gundogan.
The Norway goal machine had his treble soon after, Sa inexplicably passing straight to the excellent Riyad Mahrez, who unselfishly presented Haaland with a tap-in.
Haaland was then replaced by Julian Alvarez before Mahrez had a goal ruled out due to being marginally offside and Gundogan headed over from close range as City cruised to victory.
What does it mean? No shortage of City desire
City were booed off when they went in at half-time two goals down against Tottenham on Thursday before rallying to win 4-2.
Guardiola, who left Phil Foden out of his squad to face Wolves due to a lack of match fitness, demanded more desire from his players and he certainly got it.
They swarmed all over lowly Wolves and Haaland delivered another masterclass of finishing, sending a message to Arsenal before they locked horns with United.
Haaland surpasses last season's Golden Boot tally
Former Borussia Dortmund marksman Haaland has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water and it is anybody's guess how many goals he will end up with.
That is 25 top-flight goals for the season from 19 appearances, taking him past the haul of 23 that was enough for Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min to win the 2021-22 Golden Boot.
Only Alan Shearer has scored more hat-tricks in a Premier League season, helping himself to an incredible five for Blackburn Rovers in the 1995-96 campaign.
Majestic De Bruyne delivers again
De Bruyne was an unused substitute in the victory over Spurs after being given time off to deal with a personal issue.
He returned to produce another brilliant midfield display, providing an 11th Premier League assist of the season – more than any other player in the top flight.
It was the fifth time he has laid a goal on for Haaland in the Premier League and there will no doubt be many more to come.
Key Opta Facts:
- Manchester City have won each of their last six Premier League matches against Wolves, scoring 19 goals at an average of 3.2 per game.
- Wolves have scored 12 goals in the Premier League this season (after 20 games), the fewest of any side. Each of the last four teams to score 12 goals or fewer after 20 matches in a single campaign have been relegated to the Championship.
- Haaland has scored 18 goals in just 11 Premier League home games, the most home goals by a Manchester City player in a single campaign (overtaking Sergio Agüero in 2011-12 - 16).
- De Bruyne has assisted Erling Haaland five times in the Premier League this season for Manchester City – this is the most assists by one player for another in the competition this term.
- Haaland has scored his fourth Premier League hat-trick for Man City in what is just his 19th appearance, the fewest games taken to score four hat-tricks in the competition’s history (previous record was 65 apps by Ruud van Nistelrooy).
City entertain Arsenal in a mouth-watering FA Cup tie on Friday, while Wolves have a break before they are at home to Liverpool in the Premier League on February 4.