Erling Haaland matched Mohamed Salah’s scoring record in a 38-game Premier League season as Manchester City swatted aside lowly Leicester City 3-1.
Free-scoring City had the game won by the 25th minute at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with Haaland scoring twice after John Stones’ stunning opener.
Subbed off at half-time, Haaland has now netted 32 league goals this season, matching Salah’s haul from the 2017-18 campaign.
Sloppy defending allowed Kelechi Iheanacho to grab a consolation for Leicester in Dean Smith’s first match in charge, with the former City striker hitting the post in stoppage time as the hosts rather staggered over the line to reduce Arsenal’s lead to three points.
City enjoyed 93 per cent possession in the opening five minutes and were rewarded when Stones arched a brilliant left-footed strike into the right-hand corner.
Leicester’s slim chances of snatching a much-needed shock victory were further dented when Wilfred Ndidi was deemed to have handled from Jack Grealish’s cross.
Haaland slammed away the resulting penalty, and had his second 12 minutes later, brilliantly collecting in Kevin De Bruyne’s throughball and lifting a cute finish over Daniel Iversen.
With an eye on the midweek trip to Bayern Munich, Pep Guardiola took the chance to rest both of his goalscorers at half-time.
Rodri joined Stones and Haaland in earning a rest shortly after, with Kalvin Phillips handed a rare league appearance, although City’s composure turned to complacency when Iheanacho tapped in after Harry Souttar’s header was saved by Ederson.
James Maddison missed a golden chance to set up a grandstand finish when he failed to beat Ederson, before Iheanacho struck the woodwork between two hopeful penalty appeals, albeit Leicester’s resurgence was too little, too late.
Man City player ratings (3-2-4-1)
GK: Ederson – 5/10 – Will have been desperate to make a save just to feel involved, but got it wrong and ended up gifting Iheanacho a consolation. A great save to deny Maddison later, however.
CB: John Stones – 7/10 – An absolute worldie of a goal in a sensational performance.
CB: Ruben Dias – 6/10 – Nice passing but didn’t really need to do much.
CB: Aymeric Laporte – 7/10 – Really intelligent movement to fill in the gaps and form triangles whenever he was needed.
DM: Rodri – 8/10 – The starting point of nearly every move from City. Dictated the tempo.
DM: Bernardo Silva – 7/10 – It was Silva who was asked to drop deep but City’s dominance meant he never needed to. Enjoyed getting involved in attack.
RM: Kyle Walker – 7/10 – With barely any defending to do, Walker got to focus on his attacking play, getting most of it right.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – 8/10 – Another impressive passing performance and another assist for Haaland.
CM: Riyad Mahrez – 6/10 – This central role was a bit awkward for Mahrez. Felt a bit crowded out at times.
LM: Jack Grealish – 7/10 – On top of proceedings without ever needing to get out of second gear.
ST: Erling Haaland – 8/10 – Two more goals and could have easily had a few more.
Manuel Akanji (46′ for Stones) – 6/10
Julian Alvarez (46′ for Haaland) – 6/10
Kalvin Phillips (53′ for Rodri) – 5/10
Cole Palmer (61′ for De Bruyne) – 6/10
Sergio Gomez (74′ for Grealish) – 6/10
Pep Guardiola – 7/10 – Blew Leicester away early on and sensibly used the opportunity to protect some of his bigger names. Won’t be happy with the drop-off after his substitutions.
Leicester player ratings (3-5-1-1)
GK: Daniel Iversen – 5/10 – Could do nothing to prevent this defeat.
CB: Wout Faes – 4/10 – Always unhappy as City’s forward line picked their way around him.
CB: Harry Souttar – 5/10 – Never looked capable of going toe-to-toe with Haaland in the first half. Made an impact after the break with an imposing header to set up Iheanacho’s consolation.
CB: Caglar Soyuncu – 6/10 – Somehow quite good in among all the mess.
RM: Timothy Castagne – 4/10 – His attacking input left a whole lot to be desired. Couldn’t help Leicester get out from all the pressure.
CM: Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall – 4/10 – Lazy and sow passing did nothing to help Leicester’s cause.
CM: Wilfred Ndidi – 3/10 – Absolutely hounded by City’s press to ensure he got so many things wrong.
CM: Youri Tielemans – 5/10 – Was never given the time to get creative on the ball. His pressing was full of energy but void of ambition.
LM: Victor Kristiansen – 5/10 – Deserves credit for his work rate, even if his end product was pretty poor.
AM: James Maddison – 6/10 – Clearly Leicester’s best player. Always looked likely to get involved in a goal and played the corner for Iheanacho.
ST: Jamie Vardy – 4/10 – Another who clearly tries hard, but Vardy’s best days look to be behind him.
Luke Thomas (46′ for Kristiansen) – 5/10
Kelechi Iheanacho (46′ for Vardy) – 7/10
Nampalys Mendy (62′ for Tielemans) – 5/10
Dennis Praet (62′ for Dewsbury-Hall) – 5/10
Patson Daka (87′ for Ndidi) – N/A
Dean Smith – 3/10 – Was never ever going to get anything out of this game but will be disappointed with the speed at which everything fell apart.