Inevitable Haaland and more spotted in Man City Champions League rout
Inevitable Haaland and four other things learned from Man City Champions League rout vs RB Leipzig
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Inevitable Haaland and four other things learned from Man City Champions League rout vs RB Leipzig

Erling Haaland scored five goals as Manchester City brushed aside RB Leipzig 7-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Many fans and pundits expected a close game on Tuesday night at the Etihad Stadium, after the first leg in Leipzig three weeks ago ended 1-1.

Haaland didn’t read that script though, as a penalty and four poacher’s finishes took his tally for the season to 39 goals in 36 matches.

The 8-1 aggregate scoreline puts City into the draw for the quarter-finals, which will take place on Friday.

Here’s what we learned from a remarkable night at the Etihad Stadium.

Inevitable Haaland

In February Erling Haaland only scored two goals in six matches, and then only a second half penalty at the weekend got him off the mark for this month.

The striker has missed some big chances in recent games, but give him enough chances and he’ll score.

None of Haaland’s goals on Tuesday were spectacular – one penalty, a header, a goal line tap-in and two more close-range finishes – but they all showed that he will always be in the right position to score. Last season, City didn’t always have that.

There’s a reason why [De Bruyne starts]

Kevin de Bruyne has not been performing at his usual high level in recent weeks, and prior to the game Pep Guardiola said he wanted his midfielder to do the basic things right.

After starting the win at Palace on the bench, he came back into the team on Tuesday. While this wasn’t a vintage De Bruyne performance – he was very good though – he showed exactly why Guardiola will always be reluctant to bench him.

Less than a minute after Erling Haaland had opened the scoring from the penalty spot, the striker headed a long ball down to him 25 yards from goal.

De Bruyne ran onto it and unleashed a thunderous left-footed strike that shook the crossbar, and Haaland was quickest to nod home the rebound.

Later, with Leipzig already soundly beaten, De Bruyne showed no mercy when he curled a luscious effort into the top corner to make to add a last-minute seventh goal.

Few players in world football are capable of producing such moments of genius off the cuff, so he simply has to start.

Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Guardiola cam

Stood up, crouched down, hood off, hood on – Guardiola’s behaviour on the sideline was even more erratic than the Manchester weather on Tuesday, as he clearly wasn’t entirely happy with City’s first-half performance.

His many gesticulations suggested he wanted City to switch the ball to the opposite flank quicker than they were doing, but perhaps that was a minor annoyance rather than a major problem.

Either way, he looked livid for much of the first half. He was even muttering to himself after Haaland scored City’s fifth. Ever the perfectionist.

Erratic Ederson

There’s been lots of debate about Ederson’s shot-stopping abilities this season, but in recent weeks it’s been his feet that have been the issue.

In recent matches he has been unusually inaccurate with his distribution and on a few occasions has needlessly rushed out of his goal.

In the first half he looked lucky to get away with a collision with Konrad Laimer well outside the box, but replays showed he got the slightest of contact on the ball. Whether by luck or design, it was a close call.

Fans in fine voice

Guardiola called on City fans to help create a special night at the Etihad, and like the players they played their part.

The South Stand was in fine voice all evening, producing as much noise as the travelling German fans. There were renditions of I’ll Follow You Everywhere and Tearing Germans [cockneys] Apart Again, and the Poznan was dusted off too.

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