Erling Haaland has started his second season in English football just like his first — with two goals in a win to open Manchester City’s title defence in the Premier League.
The Norway striker dispatched clinical finishes in the fourth and 36th minutes on Friday as City eased to a 3-0 victory at Burnley, a promoted team managed by City great Vincent Kompany, in the first match of England’s top division. Defensive midfielder Rodri scored the other goal.
Haaland enjoyed a spectacular first year at City, scoring 52 goals in all competitions — including 36 in the league — as Pep Guardiola’s team won the Premier League-FA Cup-Champions League treble.
He opened last season with a double at West Ham in a signal of what was to come and he made another statement at Turf Moor, even if it didn’t completely satisfy Guardiola.
The City manager came onto the field at halftime and remonstrated with Haaland as they walked toward the tunnel, even flicking away a camera that was following the pair.
“We are still in the start phase of this marathon but I’m not stressing. I’m relaxed,” Haaland said. “I have to keep on developing and enjoy the chaos around me and perform on the pitch.”
It wasn’t the perfect evening for City, which is bidding to become the first team in English soccer history to win four straight top-flight league titles.
Kevin De Bruyne, starting for the first time since coming off early in the Champions League final with a hamstring problem, lasted 23 minutes before needing to be substituted after pulling up.
Guardiola said it was a recurrence of the same problem. “It’s a pity... we have lost him for some time,” Guardiola said. City, which gave a debut to centre-back Josko Gvardiol as a second-half substitute, next play Sevilla in the Uefa Super Cup on Wednesday. It’s a match between the winners of last season’s Champions League and Europa League.
Gunners, Magpies rule
Arsenal’s Premier League opener featured a delayed start and a nervy finish before ending in a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka scored first-half goals for Arsenal in a game delayed by 30 minutes because supporters couldn’t get into the stadium on time due to the malfunctioning of the club’s new digital ticketing system. Taiwo Awoniyi pulled a goal back for Forest in the 83rd minute.
Newcastle United made a roaring start with midfielder Sandro Tonali netting on his league debut and striker Alexander Isak adding two more goals as the Magpies beat Aston Villa 5-1 St James’ Park.
Tonali, who signed for Newcastle from AC Milan in July, needed only six minutes to get on the scoresheet as he slid in to volley home Anthony Gordon’s cross. Callum Wilson and Harvey Barnes both came off the bench to score the other two goals for Newcastle.