Haaland And Kane Lay Down Markers In Title Race

The fourth round of matches in the Premier League saw two contenders to be this year’s top scorer fired their teams to victory with impressive scoring displays.

Erling Haaland scored the first hat-trick of his nascent Manchester City career – it certainly won’t be the last – in a 4-2 win over Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium.

The Norwegian international netted three times after Bernardo Silva had got City back into the game, following two first half goals for Palace from set pieces, including a John Stones own goal.

Having failed to score against the Londoners last year, including a home defeat, it seemed that City’s bogey side had struck again. But, not for the first time of late, City showed the resilience to come back.

It was the fifth time in eight matches they had been two goals behind, including the last two Premier League matches of last season, but in only one of them – the 3-1 Community Shield defeat to Liverpool – did they actually lose. This latest comeback followed a 3-3 draw at Newcastle from 3-1 down six days earlier, another game in which Haaland scored.

Fans buying football team kits will not just include City supporters wanting the name Haaland emblazoned across the back. Harry Kane, a transfer target for City a year ago, was unhappy at not being able to leave Tottenham, but his two goals in a hard-fought 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest helped Spurs join City and Brighton in joint second on ten points.

Kane would have had a hat-trick of his own had Dean Henderson not saved a second-half penalty, but the England skipper is clearly a happier man a year on in a revived team ready to challenge for top honours.

Arsenal remain on top of the table with four straight wins, the latest being a 2-1 victory at home to a stubborn Fulham side.  Like Forest, Fulham look like a side with the potential to compete in the top flight, in contrast to a hapless Bournemouth side that was mauled 9-0 by Liverpool at Anfield.