West Ham 0-2 Manchester City: Haaland hits debut double
Erling Haaland scored twice on his Premier League debut as Manchester City beat West Ham 2-0 at London Stadium.
A first-half penalty from Haaland was followed by a typically clinical finish when the big-money signing after the break, as the champions picked up three points from their opening game.
With Haaland seen as the striker Pep Guardiola has been lacking since Sergio Aguero's departure, it was fitting that the new arrival became only the second City player to score a brace on his Premier League bow, with the former Argentina international being the other in August 2011.
Hammers boss David Moyes was forced to start full-back Ben Johnson at centre-back alongside Kurt Zouma, with Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop and new signing Nayef Aguerd all out injured.
It took a while for City to get going, and they thought they had taken the lead when a neat move down the left led to Haaland playing in Ilkay Gundogan, who squared for Kevin De Bruyne to sweep home, only for the offside flag to go up.
Moyes's injury problems mounted further as Lukasz Fabianski had to go off after taking a knock in a challenge for the ball with Haaland, Alphonse Areola replacing him.
One of Areola's first contributions was to bring down Haaland when he was through on goal to concede a 36th-minute penalty, which the Norway striker dispatched calmly, sending Areola the wrong way.
Declan Rice skied a presentable chance over after a Gundogan error early in the second half, and some uncharacteristic misplaced City passes crept in as the Hammers looked for an equaliser, turning to their own new striker Gianluca Scamacca to come on just before the hour.
Haaland struck again after 65 minutes, though, when a City counter-attack saw De Bruyne slide his new team-mate in and the former Borussia Dortmund man placed his shot coolly past Areola to seal the points.
What does it mean? Champions make ominous start
It was not a classic performance from the champions, but they still broadly dominated the contest against a lacklustre West Ham side, maintaining their outstanding away record.
City have lost just one of their past 29 Premier League games (W24 D4) and are also unbeaten in 19 away from home (W15 D4), with their only defeat on the road in the top flight last season coming on the opening weekend at Tottenham.
With Liverpool dropping points on this opening weekend, an early blow has already been struck by City, who are looking to win their fifth Premier League title in six years.
Dream start for Haaland
Haaland became the seventh Norwegian to score on his Premier League debut, and the third to do so in the opening game of a season after Tore Andre Flo in 1997-98 and Adama Diomande in 2016-17.
The 22-year-old has also been involved in nine goals in his four games played on the opening weekend of a league season – one assist with Red Bull Salzburg in 2019, two goals with Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a double and two assists with BVB last season, and a brace for City.
City the pass masters
It is always difficult to see much of the ball when coming up against City, but the home side conceded far too much of it in the first half.
City stroked around 403 in the opening 45 minutes, while Moyes’ men could only muster 106, with an accuracy of just 69.8 per cent.
The only time since 2003-04 that West Ham have attempted fewer passes in the first half of a Premier League game came in the 2-2 draw with City in May.
Key Opta facts
- City have won five of their past six season-opening league games as champions, keeping a clean sheet in four of those matches.
- Sean Dyche (15) is the only manager Guardiola has faced more times in all competitions without losing to in his managerial career (excluding Barcelona B) than he has against Moyes (13 – W9 D4).
- Haaland became the second Premier League debutant to win a penalty and then successfully convert it, after Alexandre Pato for Chelsea in April 2016 (v Aston Villa).
- De Bruyne has been directly involved in nine goals in his 12 Premier League starts versus West Ham, scoring three and assisting six.
Both face promoted sides as West Ham travel to Nottingham Forest on Sunday, while City host Bournemouth on Saturday.