Erling Haaland continued his sensational start to life in the Premier League as he made it back-to-back hat-tricks in Manchester City’s 6-0 demolition of Nottingham Forest.
Haaland hit a thrilling treble as City came from 2-0 down to beat Crystal Palace 4-2 at the weekend, but he made sure this was a more straightforward affair, scoring a perfect hat-trick with his left foot, right foot, and head inside 38 minutes.
The 22-year-old’s nine goals in his first five Premier League appearances is a new competition record, surpassing the eight scored by Micky Quinn and City’s all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero.
Joao Cancelo scored an excellent fourth in the 50th minute before Argentina forward Julian Alvarez marked his full City debut with a second-half brace to complete the rout.
Man City vs. Nottingham Forest final score
1H 2H Final
MCI 3 3 6
NOT 0 0 0
MCI — Erling Haaland (Phil Foden) — 12th min.
MCI — Erling Haaland (Phil Foden) — 23rd min.
MCI — Erling Haaland (Phil Foden, John Stones) — 38th min.
MCI — Joao Cancelo (Bernardo Silva) — 50th min.
MCI — Julian Alvarez (Riyad Mahrez) — 65th min.
MCI – Julian Alvarez — 87th min.
Phil Foden set up Haaland’s first goal against Palace, and the duo was at it again to give Forest a mountain to climb in the 12th minute. The England attacker floated an inviting ball from the left that Haaland prodded home after muscling his way around visiting captain Joe Worrall.
Brennan Johnson headed Forest’s best chance of the night into the side netting five minutes later, and the game already looked to be up midway through the half when Dean Henderson miscued a clearance straight to Bernado Silva, and Foden teed up Haaland for a tap-in.
The Etihad Stadium rose to toast another hat-trick from its new hero when Cancelo’s outside-of-the-boot cross found Foden. He headed it across to John Stones, who nodded towards the goalmouth for the insatiable Haaland to do the rest.
Cancelo probably netted the night goal when Forest gave him too much time and space to find the top corner on the end of Silva’s pass.
Alvarez impressed all evening playing off Haaland, and he was alert to pounce with a precise finish across Henderson at the end of a typical marathon spell of City possession.
As if to show more than one player is looking to emulate Aguero’s feats in sky blue right now, Alvarez crashed his second into the roof off the net after substitutes Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez stung Forest on the counter-attack three minutes from time.
Haaland doesn’t care about records; Guardiola claims
After breaking the Premier League records for goals scored in August, talk after the match turned towards quite how many chapters of the record books Haaland might turn to paper-mache during his time in Manchester. But speaking at his post-match news conference, Pep Guardiola said he has a different sense of what is driving a player who only had a DFB-Pokal for his time at Borussia Dortmund.
“I think what he wants is to win the titles. It is my feeling. I think that’s what he wants, and if the records and the goals help us to win, that will be perfect,” he said. “Knowing him a little bit, It’s one month and a half we are together; I don’t know if he would be happy to break the records if we don’t win titles. I think he wants to be part of that.”
Guardiola also acknowledged that Haaland’s enthusiasm around the training ground had been a breath of fresh air as City tried to win their fifth Premier League title in six seasons. “Erling all the time is talking with the young players in the academy. You see that in the canteen, Erling was talking to the players in the academy – I like it. He’s calm, training good, has an easy life, and after in the games, he has this ambition to score.”
Guardiola reveals Man City’s secret weapon in South America.
Alvarez’s sparkling full debut gave Guardiola the chance to praise an unsung hero on City’s staff. “On Julian, we had great opinions. Our scout in South America, Joan Patsy, a friend of ours, talked to me one year and a half ago. He said, ‘This guy is special. He is a guy who scored a lot of goals in a team like River Plate. They have an incredible amount of pressure there to win. Now we are enjoying him. We have two strikers with incredible quality.”
Cooper rues Forest’s costly errors.
Such quality means any opponent has to be nearly flawless when City is in this mood. Even allowing Forest the mitigation of going through a lot of squad turnover since they won the Championship playoff final, Steve Cooper’s side was nowhere near where they needed to be. Bernardo Silva set about debutant Renan Lodi from the off. Although Henderson’s error for Haaland’s second stood out, Cooper felt all three first-half goals his team shipped were entirely avoidable.
“We knew we were coming up against a world-class striker [Haaland], and he’s not the only world-class player in the team they had on the bench,” said Cooper, whose team has taken four points from their opening five games. “Still, you have to back yourself, and I don’t want to take anything away from his goals tonight, but I’m looking at our guys thinking we could have done a bit better. We didn’t go into the game defeatest and always wanted to impose ourselves. We could have done so much better in the game.”
Man City vs. Nottingham Forest as it happened
Fulltime: Toffolo blasts one final shot wide for Forest, whose torment is at an end. The city was far too good tonight, and there’s no shame in that for the Championship playoff winners. Guardiola’s side has won four of the past five Premier Leagues, with Haaland now in their ranks, and they are an utterly terrifying proposition.
90th minute+2: Awoniyi glances wide as Forest continues to seek consolation.
90th minute+1: Johnson gamely tried to beat Walker in a foot race and came up short. Unsurprisingly, Haaland is announced as man of the match in the stadium.
89th minute: It’s been a tough night for Henderson, but that’s excellent save to deny De Bruyne after Mahrez and Alvarez combined to release the midfielder.
87th minute: GOOOAAALLLL!!!! Alvarez!!
Alas, Dennis clouted the freekick into the wall, De Bruyne led a City counter-attack, Mahrez had a shot blocked, and Alvarez smashed the rebound into the roof of the net left-footed.
86th minute: Gundogan blunders into Colback, and Forest has a free-kick in a good position. It’s a spirited end to the contest from the visitors.
84th minute: The Forest fans, who have taken all of this in excellent spirits, are now ole-ing their team during a period of possession. It ends with Gundogan blocking a shot from substitute Colback.
80th minute: City fans chanting Mario Balotelli’s name. It’s safe to say their latest striker might be a little more reliable than the beloved Italian.
75th minute: Highly-rated City youngster Rico Lewis is getting a run out at right-back. Stones make way, and Walker shifts inside alongside Dias.
72nd minute: Williams gets half a sight of goal for Forest, but Gomez pinches the ball from him smartly.
71st minute: Mahrez is through one-on-one and should score. Guardiola has his hands on his head. Replays show the winger was probably slightly offside from Gundogan’s raking pass, so it matters even less than you thought it did.
68th minute: Haaland can’t get on the end of a Mahrez cross for his fourth. That’ll be the last act from the hat-trick hero, who departs to a rapturous ovation. Kevin De Brunye comes on for him. Poor Forest. Gomez is also on for Cancelo at left-back.
65th minute: GOOOAAALLLL!!!! Alvarez!!!!!!
Goodness knows how many passes led up to that goal. It felt like City had the ball for about five minutes before Mahrez lobbed it up, and it looked like he was about to lose it. But that created the room for the Algeria winger to slot a pass-through for Alvarez on the half volley, and he took the chance for a first Premier League goal with aplomb.
60th minute: Palmer floats an inviting ball across goal from the left, and it’s mildly surprising that Haaland isn’t close to it. The city recycles the ball as they do, and Silva stings Henderson’s palms.
57th minute: Rodri and Foden were the men to make way and can rest up for City’s trip to Villa Park at the weekend. Taiwo Awoniyi and Emmanuel Dennis come on to reinforce the Forest attack.
53rd minute: More absolutely tremendous news for the Forest defense as Mahrez and Palmer wait to come on for City.
50th minute: GOOOAAALLLL!!!! Cancelo!!!!!!
Honestly, could you not give him that much room, lads? Silva picks out his Portugal teammate, who launches a dreamy strike into the top right corner from the edge of the box. A beautiful moment that highlights just how ugly this might get for Forest.
46th minute: We’re back. Cooper sent Forest back early and sat on the bench to compose himself. City resume in possession, and Gundogan welts one way off target. Which, funnily enough, is how they started the first half.
Halftime: Forest scamper, almost gleefully, out of their half on the attack, Lodi’s deflected cross ends up in Ederson’s gloves, and the whistle goes. Haaland has just marched off looking like a maniac who thinks much more work must be done. Oof! Catch you back here in a bit.
44th minute: Brilliant from Alvarez, who you sense the crowd wants to get in on the act. Some neat footwork engineers a little room for the Argentinian who arrows a left-footed strike against the base of the post from 20 yards.
38th minute: GOOOAAALLLL!!! Haaland!!!
Honestly, mate, rein it in. Back-to-back hat-tricks for Haaland, with Foden, involved again. The England man nodded one of Cancelo’s outside-of-the-foot crosses back across goal after a partially cleared corner. Stones headed back towards the goalmouth, and Haaland ended the bout of head tennis in the expected fashion.
35th minute: The visitors are scrapping hard, but City is having so much of the ball that their press is rabid when they don’t have it. Then the ball tends to get booted out for City throw. Haaland looks to turn provider, but Henderson palms his low cross away from the waiting Alvarez.
32nd minute: This is a thankless, hard slog for Forest. Cancelo drills in a low cross that’s cleared.
30th minute: City thinks it’s 3-0, but Stones is offside as he taps in Haaland’s flick-on from a left-wing free-kick.
23rd minute: GOOOAAALLLL!!! Haaland!!
Dean Henderson, what are you doing? You can’t be gift-wrapping things like that when City is in this mood. The Forest keeper errantly chips a ball straight to Bernardo. He finds Alvarez, who lays it back to Haaland. The striker is quickly on his bike to accept a return pass and a tap-in from Foden. Too easy.
20th minute: A suffocating spell of City possession ends when Foden takes a tumble under a challenge from Yates on the edge of the area. Referee Paul Tierney opts to let it flow.
17th minute: Decent attacking spell from Forest ends with Johnson heading into the side-netting at the back post. That was lax from City, and the visitors feel they should have capitalized.
12th minute: GOOOAAALLLL!!! Haaland!
Who else? Haaland has his seventh-season goal, but Forest will feel that was a little too easy. Foden floated one of those nagging crosses between defense and goalkeeper where no one knows whether to stick or twist. Everyone stuck except Worrall, who was unceremoniously handled by City’s number nine as he opened the scoring.
9th minute: Silva has decided there’s no time for pleasantries and is going to Lodi again. His curling cross is behind Haaland.
6th minute: The corner is cut low for Alvarez to dart onto. Very much one from the training ground. O’Brien reads it and deflects the stroke behind. Alvarez almost prods home from a more conventional back position from the next center. A lively start from him.
5th minute: Bernardo Silva welcomes recent Champions League foe, Lodi, to the Premier League by absolutely skinning him. The Portugal star loses footing in the box, and Forest can clear behind.
3rd minute: City into their work, stroking the ball about. Interestingly, they appear to be doing so in a rough 4-4-2 setup, with Alvarez and Haaland deployed centrally. Gundogan shanks a left-footed shot way off target, which isn’t good for either of the strikers.
1 min from kickoff: The teams are out. Forest resplendent in their new yellow away kit. Blue Moon is ringing around the ground. Let’s go!
20 mins from kickoff: A Forest’s backroom staff member has just given a big toot on a school whistle to signal the next stage of the warmup. It’s like being back in gym class.
30 mins from kickoff: The teams are out and going through their warmups. Aymeric Laporte is on the touchline, watching his City teammates. The Spain centre-back recently undertook the latest stage of his recovery from knee surgery in Bilbao, and it is hoped he will be back in action in around a month.
55 mins from kickoff: Forest’s latest new arrival Renan Lodi is straight into the starting lineup, while Remo Freuler and Cheikhou Kouyate also make Cooper’s XI.
1 hour from kickoff: The teams are in. Julian Alvarez makes his first competitive start for Manchester City after a lively second-half cameo against Palace on Saturday. He’ll play on one of the wings flanking Haaland. Kevin De Bruyne is rested on the bench.
1hr 5 mins from kickoff: No doubt it’s a tall task for Forest tonight, but they did win on their only previous visit to Eastlands — winning 3-0 to stun Mark Hughes’ City in the FA Cup 2009. In the same competition, Steve Cooper gave Guardiola a big scare when his Swansea City took a 2-0 lead at the Liberty Stadium in 2019. The visitors battled back to win 3-2 with the help of some pretty generous officiating and went on to lift an unprecedented domestic treble.
1hr 25 mins from kickoff: City might be shoring up their backline with Borussia Dortmund center-back Manuel Akanji if they can get a deal over the line before the transfer deadline. With Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte sidelined at the moment, Guardiola is keen for some senior cover in the heart of the defense. The emergence of this transfer story has also reminded everyone that Akanji is a maths whizz.
1hr 45 mins from kickoff: Manchester City has got themselves into the unquestionably entertaining habit of giving opponents two-goal leads and then managing not to lose. After the final two games of last season — 2-2 at West Ham from 2-0 down, with a missed penalty at the death just for the craic, along with the 3-2 win against Aston Villa from 2-0 down midway through the second half to snatch the title — City’s usually assured backline has appeared wildly flimsy.
After going 3-1 down at Newcastle 10 days ago, they drew 3-3, while Crystal Palace was dispatched 4-2 despite leading 2-0 at halftime in last weekend’s thriller. The common denominator in those two games is Erling Haaland’s presence felt in front of the goal. Will the Norway superstar face one of his father’s former clubs in Nottingham Forest tonight, or will Pep Guardiola rotate with a congested Champions League schedule on the horizon?
2 hours from kickoff: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage of Manchester City vs. Nottingham Forest from the Etihad Stadium.
Man City vs. Nottingham Forest lineups
Ilkay Gundogan and Julian Alvarez each impressed from the bench against Palace and have been handed starts, with Kevin De Bruyne dropping to the bench for a rest.
Manchester City starting lineup (4-3-3, right to left): Ederson (GK) — Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo — Silva, Rodri, Gundogan — Alvarez, Haaland, Foden
Steve Cooper has handed a debut to his latest recruit, with Renan Lodi’s Champions League pedigree likely to come in handy against one of the best teams in Europe. Jesse Lingard drops to the bench.
Nottingham Forest starting lineup (5-3-2, right to left): Henderson (GK) — Williams, Worrall, McKenna, Yates, Lodi — Kouyate, Freuler, O’Brien — Johnson, Gibbs-White
How to watch Man City vs. Nottingham Forest
UK, USA, Canada, Australia
Date Wednesday, August 31 Wednesday, August 31 Wednesday, August 31 Thursday, September 1
Time 19:30 BST 14:30 ET 14:30 ET 04:30 AEST
TV channel BT Sport 3 Peacock — —
Streaming BT Sport website/app Peacock Premium fuboTV Optus Sports
UK: BT Sport 3 will show the match, which kicks off at the slightly earlier time of 7:30 pm for an evening match in the UK. Subscribers can stream via the BT Sport website and app to the pay-TV channel.
USA: Subscribers to Peacock can watch in the States, with Peacock Premium users able to use the broadcaster’s streaming services.