Manchester City have moved to the top of the Premier League as Erling Haaland shattered a 92-year goal landmark while Julian Alvarez scored a stunner to clinch a 2-1 win at Fulham.
Norway striker Haaland converted a third-minute penalty at Craven Cottage on Sunday to become the first player in top-flight English football to score 50 goals in all competitions since 1931.
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“Before Winston Churchill was prime minister? Wow. Sounds a long time ago. Congratulations to Erling. The best goal to help us achieve what we want is still there,” City boss Pep Guardiola said.
Haaland also moved level with Alan Shearer and Andy Cole’s single-season Premier League record total.
Shearer scored 34 for Blackburn Rovers in 1995 and Cole hit the same tally for Newcastle United in 1994.
However, the Norwegian’s strike rate puts even his much-vaunted predecessors, who played in the era of 42-game seasons, in the shade.
Shearer started all 42 matches of the 1994-95 season as he fired Blackburn to the title, while Cole made 40 appearances the previous year for Newcastle.
Haaland has needed just 30 games to reach 34 goals, having already raced past Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah to set a new record for a 38-game season.
“If you were building a centre-forward from the ground up, Erling is what you would be left with,” Shearer told The Athletic.
“He’s a goal machine, someone who is quick and direct, who is physically strong and good in the air, who can score with both feet and whose positioning is fantastic.”
Manchester City are closing in on emulating Manchester United’s historic treble of 1998-99.
Now top of the Premier League for the first time in 10 weeks, City have won their last eight league games and are unbeaten in their last 18 matches in all competitions.
The English champions face Real Madrid in the semifinals of the Champions League and take on Manchester United in the FA Cup final on June 3.
Guardiola’s red-hot team, who have a game in hand on Arsenal, need to win five of their last six games to be certain of a fifth title in six seasons.
Arsenal, winless in their last four games, host Chelsea on Tuesday, with City at home to West Ham on Wednesday.