Erling Haaland can break all sorts of Premier League scoring records this season and it still might not secure Manchester City another title.
That’s because there is just no stopping Arsenal, which overcame another big obstacle in its bid for a first league title since 2004.
A few hours after Haaland scored his fourth hat trick of the season in City’s 3-0 win over Wolverhampton, Arsenal responded by beating Manchester United 3-2 thanks to a 90th-minute winner by Eddie Nketiah.
Arsenal stayed five points clear of second-place City and has a game in hand. The top two must still meet each other twice in the league so there is scope for a turnaround.
It will need Arsenal to slow down and Haaland to keep on scoring. Currently, there’s no sign of either of those things happening.
Arsenal was relentless against United after going behind to Marcus Rashford’s ninth goal since the World Cup. Goals by Nketiah and Bukayo Saka put the hosts ahead, Lisandro Martinez equalized after a weak punch clear by Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, only for Nketiah to flick home from close range for a goal that was reviewed for offside.
Remarkably, Arsenal has still only dropped seven points from a possible 57 and has just come through a tough-looking run of games against Brighton, Newcastle, Tottenham and United by taking 10 points from 12.
Still, with Haaland there is hope for City, the defending champion.
The Norway striker moved to 25 goals for his debut league campaign in England by scoring all of City’s goals against Wolves. That would be enough to win the Golden Boot in the Premier League in any of the previous four seasons.
The record goal tally for a 38-game Premier League season is held by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, with 32 in 2017-18. The most in a 42-game Premier League campaign was 34, by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole.
If Haaland stays fit, he is on course to easily surpass those records.
Arsenal and City meet for the first time in the league on Feb. 15. Before that, they play each other at City’s Etihad Stadium in the FA Cup on Friday.
United and third-place Newcastle are both six points behind City now.
Leeds’ winless run in the league is up to six matches.
A 0-0 home draw with Brentford moved Leeds a point clear of the relegation zone but it was another frustrating game for the home fans, who saw Willy Gnonto denied by visiting goalkeeper David Raya in the best chance.
Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80
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