Manchester City 4-2 Crystal Palace: Haaland hat-trick ensures champions fight back again

·4-min read

Erling Haaland's scored a hat-trick as Manchester City once again fought back from two down, beating Crystal Palace 4-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola's men found themselves trailing by two goals for the fourth time in six Premier League matches, but they stormed back to defeat Palace.

Eberechi Eze had a role in both goals as Palace raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to John Stones' own goal and Joachim Andersen's bullet header, leaving a blunt City side stunned at the interval.

But the excellent Bernardo Silva began the comeback by halving the deficit just after half-time before Haaland took over, completing the turnaround with a pair of poacher's finishes and a third clinical strike for the champions.

City had an uphill task early on, as Eze's free-kick delivery deflected off Kyle Walker and found its way in off Stones.

The hosts' response was hardly emphatic, and they found themselves two down by the 21st minute for the first time in the league since December 2010.

Another Eze set-piece – this time a corner – teed up a powerful header into the bottom-left corner from Andersen, who easily evaded Walker.

Silva looked City's biggest threat and was unsurprisingly the one to pull a goal back in the 53rd minute, cutting in from the right and seeing a low strike flicked past Guaita by Jeffrey Schlupp.

City levelled just past the hour as Haaland beat his marker to head Phil Foden's cross in from close range, before then putting them in front with a tap-in 20 minutes from time.

He slotted past Guaita to complete his hat-trick and cap a fine second-half City display after brilliantly holding off his marker.

Palace
Palace

What does it mean? City happy playing catch up

They had to settle with a point from two goals down at Newcastle United last weekend, but they went one better this time around.

With the firepower they possess, it is no wonder City remain confident even when facing such a deficit – they have not lost any of their past four Premier League games when finding themselves 2-0 down, which is some feat.

Having Haaland certainly helps, with the Norwegian showing a range of skills here.

A quintessential Haaland performance

Being a goal poacher is a skill in itself, and Haaland definitely showed his instincts in this regard on Saturday, with his first two goals falling into that category.

But his third was of an entirely different variety, as he ran onto Ilkay Gundogan's throughball and showed exceptional composure to finish all while holding off a persistent defender. This truly was a classic Haaland display.

Haaland
Haaland

Silva shows why Guardiola denied transfer

Haaland will obviously hog the headlines here, but Silva's brilliant performance is worthy of noting. When City were 2-0 down, he looked just about their only way back into the game, and he duly got their first goal.

Then, in the middle of a chaotic box, picked out Haaland for the equaliser. His two assists were just the tip of the iceberg, as his all-round showing was one of supreme quality – hence why Guardiola refused to sell him to Barcelona.

Key Opta facts

- City have come back from two goals down at half-time in the Premier League for the first time ever, drawing two and losing 51 of the previous 53 occasions.

- Guardiola's side have found themselves two goals behind in four of their last six Premier League matches, as many as in their previous 84 matches combined.

- Eze is just the third player to provide an assist in three consecutive away Premier League appearances for Palace, after John Salako in 1992 (four in a row) and Christian Benteke in 2018 (three).

- Scoring his fourth hat-trick in Europe's big five leagues, Haaland is just the fourth player to score six or more goals in his first four Premier League appearances (six goals) and the first to do so since Diego Costa netted seven in 2014 (also six each for Sergio Aguero and Mick Quinn).

What's next?

City are at home again on Wednesday as they entertain Nottingham Forest. Palace face Brentford at Selhurst Park a day earlier.