Erling Haaland returns from injury to fire Manchester City to 2-1 victory over Fulham

Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Manchester_City_dressing_room_2022.jpg

Manchester City were made to sweat for their 10th Premier League victory of 2022-23 on Saturday (5 November) against Fulham, with Erling Haaland returning from injury and coming off the bench to grab a very late winner.

Pep Guardiola’s side found themselves ahead after 17 minutes at the Etihad Stadium, with Julian Alvarez’s strike too powerful for Bernd Leno to save.

Man City had their work cut out for them after Joao Cancelo was shown his marching orders in the 26th minute for bringing down Harry Wilson and stopping a goalscoring opportunity in the box.

Fulham equalised from the subsequent penalty, with Andreas Pereira sending Ederson the wrong way.

Haaland thought he had put Man City ahead in the 74th minute, but replays showed that he was marginally offside, and the VAR chalked it off.

However, the Norwegian international striker had the last laugh, converting from the spot after Kevin De Bruyne was brought down in the box in the 95th minute.

It was the 22-year-old’s 23rd goal (in his 17th appearance) for the Premier League defending champions since joining them in the summer from Borussia Dortmund, but it was almost saved, and he admitted afterwards that “it was one of the most nervous moments of my life.”

Haaland has now bagged 18 league goals so far – almost half of the 39 the entire team has scored – but the side remain second in the table, two points behind Arsenal after 13 games played.

Man City host Brentford on Saturday (12 November) before action is suspended for the World Cup, and they will be keen to win in order to maintain or close the gap between them and the Gunners.

Fulham were left gutted after suffering their fifth loss of the campaign very late into the game.

The result leaves them in ninth place in the table after five wins and four defeats, and they will fancy their chances of finishing in the top half of the table and challenging for the European places.

Marco Silva’s side host Manchester United on Sunday (13 November) and a win will move them further up the log.

They have been impressive since their return to the top-flight this term, and they almost became the fourth side to take points off Man City.

Fulham were without their highest goalscorer Aleksandar Mitrović due to an injury, and his absence clearly did not boost their chances of getting a result.

Having the Serbian international hitman available for the Red Devils’ clash will come in handy, and he will be keen to take his goal tally into double figures against them.

While all eyes are on the likes of Man City and Arsenal, Fulham are a side that are surpassing everyone’s expectations, and that is impressive given that they have suffered immediate relegation in each of the last two seasons they have spent in the English top-flight.

They are on course to spend consecutive seasons in the Premier League for the first time in a while after 13 consecutive seasons in the top-flight culminated in relegation in 2014, and they could be challenging for the top seven going forward if the current momentum is sustained.