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West Ham 0-2 Man City: Erling Haaland scores twice as Premier League champions begin title defence with win

Match report and highlights as Erling Haaland marked his Premier League debut with a well-taken double against West Ham; the striker became the second Man City player to score twice as a debutant, following Sergio Aguero in 2011; Pep Guardiola praised an "exceptional" team performance

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s win against West Ham in the Premier League

Erling Haaland scored twice as Manchester City began their Premier League title defence in confident fashion by brushing aside West Ham 2-0 in front of a record crowd at the London Stadium.

A crowd of 62,443 packed into the Hammers' home ground - the biggest of any London-based club - only to be met by the towering presence of Haaland and the wizardry of Ilkay Gundogan.

Pep Guardiola later named midfielder Gundogan as one of City's "most important" component parts following an "exceptional" team performance, while also praising the vast improvement made since their Community Shield defeat to Liverpool eight days ago.

Player ratings

West Ham: Fabianski (n/a), Coufal (5), Johnson (5), Zouma (5), Cresswell (6), Soucek (4), Rice (6), Bowen (6), Lanzini (5), Fornals (5), Antonio (6).

Subs: Areola (3), Scamacca (5), Benrahma (6), Downes (n/a), Coventry (n/a).

Man City: Ederson (6), Cancelo (8), Ake (7), Dias (7), Walker (8), Rodri (8), Gundogan (9), De Bruyne (9), Grealish (7), Foden (7), Haaland (10).

Subs: Silva (6), Alvarez (7), Mahrez (n/a), Palmer (n/a), Phillips (n/a).

Man of the match: Erling Haaland

The game turned in City's favour after West Ham were forced to change goalkeepers midway through the first half, withdrawing the injured Lukasz Fabianski and introducing Alphonse Areola, much to the delight of "hungry" Haaland.

The substitute 'keeper's mistake led to a golden opportunity for the former Borussia Dortmund striker, whose clever run was found by a pinpoint Gundogan pass before he was upended by Areola. The challenge was rightly penalised, presenting Haaland with the perfect chance to open his City account from 12 yards.

Erling Haaland celebrates scoring his second for Man City vs West Ham
Image: Erling Haaland celebrates scoring his second for Man City vs West Ham

The Norway international predictably found the back of the net with a coolly-struck spot-kick to make the breakthrough (26), but it was his second entry that pleased manager Guardiola most. Kevin De Bruyne's defence-splitting pass instigated the move, with Haaland applying the finishing touch to an "incredible goal" in the 65th minute as he opened his body and side-footed past a despairing Areola.

Haaland is the second debutant in Premier League history to win a penalty and then successfully convert it, and the second striker to register twice on their City debut, matching Sergio Aguero's feat from August 2011.

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How Man City broke West Ham's meagre resistance

Erling Haaland celebrates scoring for Man City vs West Ham
Image: Haaland is swarmed by team-mates after scoring for City

"Our opening fixture couldn't be more testing," Hammers boss David Moyes acknowledged in his pre-match programme notes, and his side felt the full force of City's attacking vigour during a game that grew steadily in entertainment value.

Michail Antonio had threatened to break the deadlock early on, directing a header marginally over, but it was De Bruyne who went closest when rounding off an archetypal City move in the 27th minute, having been unsurprisingly found by Gundogan - the goal was swiftly chalked off by the linesman's flag, but it served to preview the inevitable.

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Haaland wins and scores penalty!

Guardiola's side, who have invested heavily in the transfer window but also recuperated more than they have spent, were spearheaded by summer arrival Haaland, who fired a warning shot when attempting to meet Phil Foden's deft cross midway through the half, before fully announcing his Premier League emergence with the game's opener from the spot.

Declan Rice was the beneficiary of a momentary lapse in City concentration in the 54th minute, as West Ham pounced on a misplaced Gundogan pass, but the strike flew over as the visitors reduced their hosts to snapshots and half chances throughout.

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Haaland doubles City's lead!

The contest was over when Haaland raced onto De Bruyne's through ball nine minutes after Rice's miss, leaving Areola stranded as he swept into the far corner. "All the talk should be about Man City," Moyes conceded in the aftermath of the game, with his side only able to muster 25 per cent possession across a below-par 90 minutes.

City's confident start will only serve to strengthen bookmakers' projections that they are poised to become the first team to win three straight Premier League titles since Manchester United achieved the feat between 2007-09. They remain unbeaten since October 2021.

Guardiola lauds "exceptional" team performance

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola praised Haaland after the game

Haaland has been quick to adapt to the Premier League champions' style of play, Guardiola said after the Norwegian's double.

The striker was called a "weapon" by his manager following a standout display, while the quality on show from a team perspective also pleased the Spaniard.

"Last two years we couldn't do it here," he said. "We make an exceptional performance everywhere today. We were much more aggressive. Against Liverpool it was really, really poor, but today we played really well.

"Of course Erling scoring his first two goals is important for him. He has a good threat. Another weapon that we have now, but he isn't going to solve all of our problems. We talk about the team, the way we want to play, the way we want to create chances. We found the right moments with the goals today."

Erling Haaland's heat map and attacking stats against West Ham
Image: Haaland's heat map and attacking stats against West Ham

When asked about silencing critics following Haaland's performance in the Community Shield, Guardiola replied wryly: "One week ago he could not adapt in the Premier League, now he's alongside Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo. We want all the new guys to be happy. Feel happy in the city, feel happy in the team. We want to try and give everything to him to become a better player.

"He was very calm, in handling a lot of criticism this week. The way he took the ball for the penalty, I like that. You need to show ambition. I really like that. What I want is 'be part of something'. The debate is over, I know he is going to score goals.

"I was fortunate as a manager to be with (Lionel) Messi; if he scores one he wants two, two he wants three. The top strikers, they are never satisfied. They are always hungry, starving. But I want to involve all of the new players. Fresh legs and fresh minds, then onto the next one."

Moyes: The talk should be about City

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West Ham manager David Moyes reflects on his side's performance

Moyes said his West Ham team had been outfoxed by City, who dominated more than just the possession stats, while also conceding the Hammers were tactically a step behind their counterparts.

"Really difficult," he accepted. "City played really well. They've changed from last year. We found it hard today. Tactically they've changed. We found it hard to outnumber them in the middle of the pitch.

"We found it difficult to cope when they got it wide. We hadn't prepped for that, because we hadn't seen it. It was really difficult tactically today.

"We tried to do it, but we couldn't get near them today. I hope that next time we play them we might be able to offer something different. Both full-backs played either side of Rodri, which was a problem. That's how I saw it.

"We hung in, stuck at it, against a team that have completely outplayed us. There were bits where we tried, we tried to alter it and gain some possession, but today the talk should be about Man City. They played very well."

Analysis: Haaland's dream Man City debut

Erling Haaland celebrates scoring his second for Man City vs West Ham
Image: Haaland's second goal came from a flowing City move

Sky Sports' Nick Wright:

Erling Haaland's two-goal performance against West Ham made it a straightforward afternoon for Manchester City at the London Stadium. It also provided a first clue of just how much the Norway striker could elevate this already brilliant side.

There was talk of patience and adaption time after last weekend's Community Shield defeat to Liverpool, during which he only touched the ball 16 times and missed a gilt-edged scoring chance, but on the evidence of his Premier debut, neither of those things will be necessary.

Haaland was outstanding, taking his two goals brilliantly and causing West Ham problems they could not solve. Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville described him as "unplayable", while Roy Keane tipped him to score "30 or 40" goals.

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Roy Keane, Karen Carney, Micah Richards and Gary Neville analyse the performance of Manchester City's Erling Haaland after the striker scored twice in his first Premier League game

"One week ago, he could not adapt in the Premier League," said a smiling Guardiola in his press conference, referencing the reaction to Haaland's display against Liverpool. "And now he is alongside Titi Henry, Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo."

Guardiola was speaking ironically but his goals certainly put him in good company, making him only the second Manchester City player to score twice on his Premier League debut after Sergio Aguero. The early evidence suggests they now have a striker capable of taking on the mantle from the Argentine.

In addition to his two goals, Haaland ranked top for shots (five), shots on target (two) and touches in the opposition box (10). He even linked the play effectively too, completing 21 of his 23 passes at a success rate of 91 per cent.

What's next?

West Ham are on their travels in the Premier League's second round of fixtures and will visit Nottingham Forest, who lost to Newcastle on opening weekend, with that game taking place on Sunday August 14, live on Sky Sports. The match starts at 2pm.

Manchester City return home to host Bournemouth next Saturday, 3pm, before a trip to face Eddie Howe's rejuvenated Newcastle on Sunday August 21, live on Sky Sports.

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