Different Fortunes For Both Manchester Giants, And Both Claim Important Victories

 

 

By The 42.com and Mancity.com

 

Erling Haaland hit a second half hat-trick as Manchester City fought back from two goals down to extend our unbeaten start to the Premier League season with a 4-2 victory over Crystal Palace.

The Norwegian striker scored three times in 19 minutes to claim his first treble in English football as the defending champions again came from behind to avoid defeat.

A John Stones own goal and Joachim Andersen’s towering header had put Palace in control at half-time, but Bernardo Silva reduced the deficit with his 50th goal for the Club before Haaland’s heroics turned the game on its head to send City top of the table ahead of Arsenal’s meeting with Fulham.

City got off to the worst possible start at the Etihad Stadium, falling behind in the fourth minute when Eberechi Eze’s free-kick deflected off Stones’ knee and beyond Ederson.

There was an element of misfortune about the opener, with Stones caught unawares as the cross flicked off both Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker before bouncing into his leg, but the same could not be said as Palace doubled their lead in emphatic fashion in the 21st minute.

Eze was again the architect, delivering an inviting cross from a corner, with Andersen rising highest to power a header into the bottom left corner.

 

 

Despite enjoying 75% possession in the first half, the hosts failed to register a shot on target, but that all changed in the second 45 minutes when Palace were forced to defend for long periods.

The fightback was instigated by the impressive Bernardo, who drove inside Tyrick Mitchell and beat Vicente Guaita with a low strike that deflected off Jeffrey Schlupp.

Haaland opened his account nine minutes later, nodding in the leveller from Phil Foden’s pinpoint delivery and the 22-year-old quickly doubled his tally when he tapped in at the far post to finish off a well-worked corner routine that put Guardiola’s side in front.

From there, there only looked like being one winner and Haaland made sure of the three points with the most impressive of his three goals, collecting Ilkay Gundogan’s precise through ball and holding off the attentions of Joel Ward before calmly slotting into the bottom left corner to complete a thrilling turnaround.

Fernandes sinks Saints as Man Utd maintain revival

Meanwhile Manchester United maintained their revival as Bruno Fernandes clinched a hard-fought 1-0 win at Southampton on Saturday.
Erik ten Hag’s side sat bottom of the Premier League after losing their opening two games against Brighton and Brentford.

But United have recovered from that embarrassing start to secure successive league victories for the first time since February.

Fernandes netted with a composed strike early in the second half and the Portugal midfielder’s first goal this season lifted United into sixth place ahead of the rest of the weekend’s matches.

 

 

Ten Hag named the same starting line-up that defeated Liverpool 2-1 on Monday, meaning unsettled star Cristiano Ronaldo and club captain Harry Maguire were both on the bench.

Ronaldo, keen to leave Old Trafford before the transfer window closes on September 1, was largely anonymous when he came on for the last 20 minutes.

Casemiro helped United close out the win as the Brazil midfielder made his debut in a 10-minute substitute appearance following his move from Real Madrid.

United were some way short of the intensity and quality that inspired their win against Liverpool.

But they showed the grit so badly lacking in the first two games as they kept Southampton at bay after Fernandes’ goal.

Ten Hag will be pleased that Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez stood firm at centre-back, rewarding his decision to keep Maguire on the sidelines.

It took an incredible combination of superb goalkeeping and last-ditch defending to stop United taking the lead midway through the first-half.

When Southampton failed to clear a cross, Gavin Bazunu had to scramble to block Anthony Elanga’s shot at the far post.

In the ensuing melee, Christian Eriksen looked certain to score but Kyle Walker-Peters blocked his shot on the line before Fernandes saw his goalbound strike repelled by Armel Bella-Kotchap.

 

 

Bella-Kotchap should have made United pay for those misses when a corner fell to the Saints defender, but he somehow contrived to shoot high into the stands from close-range.

Che Adams couldn’t generate enough power to beat David De Gea after making a perfectly-timed run behind the flat-footed United defence.

Scott McTominay’s drive tested Bazunu early in the second half, while Bella-Kotchap made a superb tackle to stop Elanga as he prepared to shoot after bursting through on goal.

Although United were never dominant, they conjured an impressive move to break the deadlock in the 55th minute.

A flurry of passes scythed through the Southampton midfield and Diogo Dalot curled a cross towards Fernandes, who guided a fine volley past Bazunu from just inside the area.

Southampton pushed for an equaliser but they were frustrated when a strong penalty appeal was rejected by VAR after McTominay handled as he challenged Adams for a high ball.

De Gea preserved United’s slender lead with a reflex save from Joe Aribo’s close-range header, with Walker-Peters nodding the rebound over.

Bella-Kotchap blazed over and Sekou Mara shot wide as Southampton wasted their chance to deny United victory.

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