* Man City begin title defence with 2-0 win against West Ham
Erling Haaland scored twice as Manchester City began their Premier League title defence in a confident fashion by brushing aside West Ham 2-0 in front of a record crowd at the London Stadium.
A crowd of 62,443 packed into the Hammers’ home ground – the biggest of any London-based club – only to be met by the towering presence of Haaland and the wizardry of Ilkay Gundogan.
Haaland is swarmed by team-mates after scoring for City
Pep Guardiola later named midfielder Gundogan as one of City’s “most important” component parts following an “exceptional” team performance, while also praising the vast improvement made since their Community Shield defeat to Liverpool eight days ago.
The game turned in City’s favour after West Ham were forced to change goalkeepers midway through the first half, withdrawing the injured Lukasz Fabianski and introducing Alphonse Areola, much to the delight of “hungry” Haaland.
The substitute ‘keeper’s mistake led to a golden opportunity for the former Borussia Dortmund striker, whose clever run was found by a pinpoint Gundogan pass before he was upended by Areola. The challenge was rightly penalised, presenting Haaland with the perfect chance to open his City account from 12 yards.
The Norway international predictably found the back of the net with a coolly-struck spot-kick to make the breakthrough (26), but it was his second entry that pleased manager Guardiola most. Kevin De Bruyne’s defence-splitting pass instigated the move, with Haaland applying the finish touch to an “incredible goal” in the 65th minute.
Haaland is the second debutant in Premier League history to win a penalty and then successfully convert it, and the second striker to register twice on their City debut, matching Sergio Aguero’s feat from August 2011.