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Featured Image Credit: Image: Sky Sports
Erling Haaland immediately hit the ground running in the Premier League, notching a sublime brace away at West Ham.
Some had questioned Manchester City's new No.9 after a difficult outing and a sitter from five yards out against Liverpool in the Community Shield.
But after an initial quiet period in the early exchanges at the London Stadium, he soon showed just why City paid £51 million to bring him in as their main man up top after two seasons without a recognised striker.
The 22-year-old opened his account in the 35th minute with a superbly slotted penalty that he won after a blistering bit of pace in behind saw him latch onto Ilkay Gundogan's pass and bring the foul from substitute goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.
Welcome to the Premier League Erling Haaland! 👏— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 7, 2022
He puts Man City in front at West Ham from the spot 🎯 pic.twitter.com/qofv35u4YI
But it was his second strike that will have the Premier League on alert. In the 65th minute, Kevin De Bruyne fizzed in a delicious pass that took out the entire Hammers backline.
Haaland put those extraordinarily big strides to good use by racing clear and providing a clinical first-time finish.
Haaland has bagged a brace on his Premier League debut! 2️⃣— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 7, 2022
That ball from De Bruyne though... 🤤 pic.twitter.com/jsYLXj9qgQ
The combination play between De Bruyne and Haaland was sensational and will undoubtedly be the first of many goals they will link up for this season and beyond.
Wayne Rooney, who hit 208 goals in the Premier League, is backing Haaland to win the Golden Boot and believes he will prove to be the difference in the title race.
"In the Champions League and the Bundesliga Haaland has already proven his qualities at the highest level and last Saturday against Liverpool he was in the right positions, finding chances, moving cleverly and looking quick, strong, and aggressive in his running," he wrote in his column for The Times prior to Haaland's electric first Premier League outing.
“Maybe the main way City, under Pep Guardiola, score is though low balls played across the penalty box.
“Haaland scored in exactly that manner on his City debut in a friendly with Bayern Munich and against Liverpool the two big opportunities he passed up were in central positions six yards out that he had moved into during attacks where City switched play wide.
“If he keeps doing that, goal after goal will come — because his finishing ability is not in doubt.”