Erling Haaland’s Scintillating Form Sees Man City Inching Closer to FA Cup Semifinal and Historic Treble
Erling Haaland notched his second hat trick in as many games as Manchester City brushed aside Burnley 6-0 in the FA Cup, taking them to the semifinal of the tournament for the fifth successive season.
The Citizens' 13 goals in two matches was spearheaded by Haaland, who contributed eight of the strikes - two of which came in this comprehensive victory. Julian Alvarez (2) and Cole Palmer were also among the scorers, as former Man City captain Vincent Kompany watched on as his Burnley side were handed a severe defeat.
The feats of Erling Haaland in his debut season for Manchester City have been nothing short of extraordinary. His hat-trick against Burnley, completed before being removed in the 64th minute, was the sixth time he has hit the net in 2021. The 42 goals he has scored in his first year in the Premier League speak for themselves, as do his nine strikes in the last three games, including five against RB Leipzig on Tuesday.
His remarkable ability to put the ball in the net was apparent in his third goal against Burnley. Riyad Mahrez picked out Phil Foden's shot which ricocheted off the post, and the penalty area was filled with defenders and attackers alike. However, the young Erling Haaland had stealthily drifted towards the back post to latch onto the ball and net the goal.
It's not luck that allows Haaland to keep finding the back of the net - it's instinct. The blistering form he has kept up since February looks set to continue in March, with the Norwegian already having played up to 18 games this season and perhaps many more to come in the months ahead.
Just over a week ago Guardiola highlighted the defining nature of three games played in the space of eight days (Crystal Palace, RB Leipzig, and Burnley) for the remainder of the season: These three games will determine what we can and want to do for the remainder of the season.
It's safe to say that he's pleased with the outcome. Man City have possibly recorded the best results possible, winning all three fixtures, scoring 14 goals and conceding none. These outcomes have enabled the club to be in a great position when it comes to competing for the three trophies once games resume after the international break.
Pep Guardiola's side have had their difficulties at times this season, yet they still sit in second place in the league, have advanced to the quarterfinals in the Champions League, and are through to the semifinals in the FA Cup; leaving the prospect that they could equal Manchester United's hallowed treble from 1999.
The month of April should give us a good idea of how close they get. City have Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier League, a two-legged Champions League quarterfinal with Bayern Munich, and an FA Cup semifinal all to play before the start of May.
Should they come out the other side unchanged, Man City's treble dream will be alive and well. Here we go again, Pep!
Burnley are just three wins away from earning their way back to the Premier League, with a vast 13 points separating them from the rest of the Championship and claiming the top spot. Although they produced the only two shots on target in the first 30 minutes of their match, with Nathan Tella's attempt stopped by Stefan Ortega and a Ruben Dias tackle that thwarted a clean through, Burnley were given a harsh reminder of how different life can be for teams competing in the top-flight.
The Burnley supporters who made the trip to the Etihad started to dream of an upset, but it was not to be, as Erling Haaland struck twice to make it 2-0 to Man City. This ended a 18 match unbeaten run for Burnley and highlighted the considerable gap between themselves and the giants of the Premier League.
The Clarets have been extraordinary in Sean Dyche's successor Sean Kompany's first season, only lost two games in the Championship, and remain on course for promotion to the top flight. Their next season aims will be to stay in the Premier League by avoiding the lower reaches, far removed from competing with the likes of Haaland's team.