London (AFP) – Erling Haaland hit a second successive hat-trick as Manchester City crushed Nottingham Forest 6-0, while leaders Arsenal extended their perfect start to the Premier League season with a 2-1 win against Aston Villa on Wednesday.
City and Arsenal have set the early pace, but Liverpool are gathering momentum after snatching a last-gasp 2-1 victory against Newcastle.
Haaland has made a blistering start since his £50 million ($58 million) move from Borussia Dortmund in the close-season and the Norway striker’s latest goal spree set a Premier League record.
Haaland’s tally of nine goals after his first five appearances is a new high in the Premier League era, beating the previous mark of eight set by City legend Sergio Aguero and Micky Quinn.
Inspired by Haaland’s first-half treble, Pep Guardiola’s unbeaten side ran riot at the Etihad Stadium, reaching 19 goals from just five games.
City went ahead in the 12th minute when Phil Foden’s cross reached Haaland, who poked home from close range.
Haaland, whose father Alfie played for Forest between 1993 and 1997, struck again from close range in the 23rd minute after Foden’s run was halted by a Neco Williams tackle that diverted the ball into the Norwegian’s path.
Haaland was impossible for Forest to handle and he sealed his treble eight minutes later with a header from virtually on the goal-line after John Stones nodded across the six-yard box.
Haaland is only the seventh player to score a hat-trick in successive Premier League appearances.
Even with Kevin De Bruyne starting on the bench, the champions were unstoppable and Joao Cancelo curled into the top corner from 20 yards in the 50th minute.
Argentine forward Julian Alvarez celebrated his first Premier League start for City following his move from River Plate with a goal on the hour as the 22-year-old slotted home from Riyad Mahrez’s pass.
Alvarez lashed in his second in the 87th minute to seal City’s biggest win since a 7-0 rout of Leeds in December.
– Perfect Arsenal –
City are two points behind Arsenal after Mikel Arteta’s side once again showed a tenacity so often missing from Gunners teams in recent seasons.
Arsenal struck in the 30th minute thanks to a gift from their former keeper Emiliano Martinez, who pushed a tame Gabriel Martinelli cross straight to Gabriel Jesus for a simple finish.
Second bottom Villa were level when Douglas Luiz’s corner flew straight past Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale in the 74th minute despite the hosts’ appeal for a foul.
But Arsenal, who came from behind to beat Fulham on Saturday, responded impressively as Martinelli restored their lead three minutes later from Bukayo Saka’s cross.
Villa boss Steven Gerrard, jeered off after losing at home to West Ham on Sunday, will come under renewed pressure following his side’s fourth defeat in five games this season.
At Anfield, Liverpool left it late to secure a second win this season as Fabio Carvalho’s 98th-minute goal saw off Newcastle.
Away striker Alexander Isak rocked Liverpool in the 38th minute of his debut following his £60 million move from Real Sociedad, netting with a composed finish from Sean Longstaff’s pass.
But, building on the momentum from Saturday’s 9-0 rout of Bournemouth — which equalled the record for the Premier League’s biggest win — Liverpool equalised when Roberto Firmino slotted in Mohamed Salah’s 61st-minute pass.
And, well past the original five minutes of stoppage time, Carvalho — a day after his 20th birthday — fired home to spark wild celebrations.
Third-placed Tottenham had to settle for a 1-1 draw at London rivals West Ham.
Antonio Conte’s side took the lead in the 34th minute when Harry Kane’s cross was diverted for an own goal by Hammers defender Thilo Kehrer.
But West Ham levelled 10 minutes into the second half when Tomas Soucek rifled home from Michail Antonio’s assist.
Managerless Bournemouth drew 0-0 with Wolves at Dean Court in their first game following Scott Parker’s sacking after the humiliation at Liverpool.
Third-bottom Wolves are now without a win in their last 12 league games dating back to April.
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