There was no shortage of the hunger Pep Guardiola felt Manchester City have been lacking as Erling Haaland starred in a win over Wolves.
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.
Deadly 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 soon after the restart and completed his hat-trick four minutes later after a terrible mistake by Wolves keeper Jose Sa, taking his tally for the season to a stunning 31.
City boss Pep Guardiola demanded more hunger from his side in their pursuit of more trophies and they responded to move 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 made his mark by rising above Nathan Collins to head Kevin De Bruyne’s cross past Sa in the 40th minute.
Collins was lucky not to concede a penalty for a challenge on Jack Grealish, before the centre-back showed great anticipation to parry the England midfielder’s rasping drive which looked destined for the back of the net.
Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui made a triple substitution at half-time, bringing on Pablo Sarabia for his debut alongside Matheus Cunha and Joao Moutinho.
Haaland gave City a breather five minutes into the second half, sending Saa the wrong way from the spot after Ruben Neves had tipped over Ilkay Gundogan.
The Norwegian goalscorer soon had his treble, Sa inexplicably passed directly to the excellent Riyad Mahrez, who selflessly gifted Haaland with a finish.
Haaland was then replaced by Julian Alvarez before Mahrez had a goal ruled out for being marginally offside and Gundogan headed in from close range as City cruised to victory.
Manchester City player ratings
GK: Ederson – 6/10 – Had nothing to do.
RB: Rico Lewis – 5/10 – Tucked into midfield but was a little sloppier in possession today. Withdrawn at the break.
CB: John Stones – 7/10 – Played with real confidence in his passing from the back.
CB: Manuel Akanji – 7/10 – Stepped up with ease to snuffle Wolves’ forays into City’s half.
LB: Aymeric Laporte – 6/10 – Tucked in as a third centre-back in the first half before Ake’s introduction.
DM: Rodri – 7/10 – Harshly booked early on but that didn’t change his approach to the midfield battle, easily gobbling up his Wolves counterparts.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – 7/10 – Not as precise or as energetic today but De Bruyne was still a potent weapon in attack.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan – 8/10 – Seemed to win every second ball and was a pain in Wolves’ backside the entire afternoon.
RW: Riyad Mahrez – 8/10 – Was able to play his own game at a slower pace than in Thursday’s win against Tottenham because of Haaland’s brilliance, but still brought great quality to City’s attack.
CF: Erling Haaland – 10/10 – Now on 25 Premier League goals this season – two more than the tallies Son Heung-min and Mohamed Salah registered last year to win the Golden Boot.
LW: Jack Grealish – 7/10 – Played with emphasis and directness. A much-needed performance.
Nathan Ake (46′ for Lewis) – 7/10 – Set Gundogan racing away to win the penalty soon after being brought on.
Julian Alvarez (60′ for Haaland) – 6/10
Kalvin Phillips (77′ for Rodri) – N/A
Bernardo Silva (77′ for De Bruyne) – N/A
Cole Palmer (81′ for Mahrez) – N/A
Pep Guardiola – 9/10 – His comments in midweek may have lit a fire in City that they will need in order to catch Arsenal.
Wolverhampton Wanderers player ratings
GK: Jose Sa – 3/10 – Couldn’t blame him for much until he just handed City their third goal on a platter.
RB: Nelson Semedo – 4/10 – Eaten up by Grealish, which is saying something.
CB: Nathan Collins – 5/10 – Lucky not to have given away a penalty in the first half. Was alright after that and not the reason Wolves were hammered.
CB: Max Kilman – 5/10 – Similarly fine on an individual level.
LB: Hugo Bueno – 4/10 – Found it tough to stay afloat against such a stacked City attack.
CM: Mario Lemina – 5/10 – Played without fear and looked to play forward but found few options.
CM: Ruben Neves – 3/10 – Conceding a penalty so early into the second half killed hope of a comeback.
CM: Matheus Nunes – 4/10 – Struggled to get into the game.
RW: Adama Traore – 5/10 – Looked lively in patches of his 45 minute display.
CF: Raul Jimenez – 3/10 – Completely anonymous and the most deserving of hooking at half-time.
LW: Hwang Hee-chan – 4/10 – Barely involved at all and was taken off at the break.
Joao Moutinho (46′ for Hwang) – 4/10 – His experience didn’t prove that useful.
Pablo Sarabia (46′ for Traore) – 5/10 – At least tried to make things happen, if to little avail.
Matheus Cunha (46′ for Jimenez) – 5/10 – Ditto. Probably should have started over Jimenez.
Daniel Podence (67′ for Lemina) – 5/10
Rayan Ait-Nouri (81′ for Bueno) – N/A
Julen Lopetegui – 4/10 – Wolves largely played without fear despite showing some real courage in the opening stages. Disappointing.