What Erling Haaland did before and after fourth Man City goal should worry Arsenal

In the week Erling Haaland revealed himself as a new character, the Manchester City forward reprised last season's role to fire his team closer to the Premier League title.

Haaland was unveiled this week as the Barbarian King in Clash of Clans, inviting people to #ClashWithHaaland on the game. Nobody in a Wolves shirt fancied it and with the form he has shown over the last week nobody at Fulham, Spurs or West Ham will either.

A tricky game for Pep Guardiola's side, playing catch-up again after Arsenal had stretched their lead to four points in the lunchtime kick-off, was redundant by half-time with three Haaland goals putting the contest out of sight.

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Two were penalties, although the goals were exactly the type that Haaland scored last season that made him so exceptional. City had been wasteful in the opening exchanges, with Kevin De Bruyne particularly culpable in not making the most of good positions, when Rayan Ait-Nouri clattered into Josko Gvardiol in the box and Haaland stuck away the spot kick.

Despite excellent work from Manu Akanji and Bernardo Silva, City struggled to capitalise on their 12th-minute advantage. Wolves were looking like they could cause some problems and the crowd and team were both a little unsure of themselves, knowing they could press on and get another goal but almost complacent as a result of it.

Rodri nipped in brilliantly to intercept a ball when City nearly gave it away, and strode towards the box after exchanging passes with De Bruyne. The cross was hung to the back post and there was the No.9, thundering home his first headed goal since the October derby at Old Trafford as if he'd been knocking such efforts in every week.

On the stroke of half-time, Haaland raced onto a through ball and Nelson Semedo clipped him in the box. The referee didn't give it but was advised to reconsider at the monitor and the Norwegian did the rest.

It was the Haaland show, a series that felt like it happened every week at the Etihad last season yet hasn't been seen enough this campaign. That feels ludicrous to say given he now has 34 goals in a season in which he has missed two months, but as well as the decline in goals there has been a loss of aura as if Haaland has been a man searching for the immortal standards that he has possessed for so long in his career.

Wolves got one back when Ederson - in for Stefan Ortega in what was a significant call from Guardiola and surely signals a summer move for the back-up keeper - flapped at a cross and Hwang Hee-Chan tucked into an empty net. Yet seconds later it was four for Haaland after he superbly controlled a Phil Foden ball in a move started by Ederson, and curled it into the bottom corner.

The finish was excellent, yet even more impressive was the fact that he went for goal rather than holding up for someone else. This was the Haaland from last season, the man with the insatiable appetite for goals and the precise touch to try to feed it.

A nonchalant celebration was followed by Haaland getting back into position to restart the game before many of his teammates, hungry for more. That said a lot about a player who was suddenly making everything look easy again.

That look and feel is perhaps the difference, for it has still been a terrific goalscoring season by anyone's standards apart from Haaland. He is now five goals clear in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot on 25 and has scored against 14 of the 19 Premier League teams he has faced with another chance at Tottenham still to come; not bad someone who didn't pick up a single vote at the FWA Footballer of the Year awards!

There has never been any argument that he was one of City's top players this season though. Foden and Rodri have both been levels ahead of him, and Akanji and Ake have also impressed even before you start debating.

If he hasn't always been City's main man, there was no question about it on Saturday. Every time a City player got the ball they instinctively looked for the Norwegian and Wolves winced every time he picked it up.

City are slowly creeping up on Arsenal and not just on points - they trail by one with that game at Spurs in the final week in hand - but on goals. Arsenal have scored 18 goals in the seven matches since their 0-0 at the Etihad at the end of March yet City have 24 in six and are suddenly only one goal behind after Julian Alvarez lashed in a fifth - his tenth of the Premier League campaign.

It may not be enough to change the goal difference question but would retain a streak City have had since the Centurions campaign if they are the top goalscorers. The way they are going, the Blues do not intend for the title to be decided on goal difference anyway.

After another long season playing catch-up, they can hit the front when they play next weekend in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off at Fulham. Arsenal are at Old Trafford on the Sunday, knowing United have already put paid to one title contender in ruining Jurgen Klopp's farewell.

City and Haaland have both looked tired for long spells of the campaign, and understandably so. With just a few games to go, they have rarely looked fresher.