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Clear and concise, Erling Haaland agrees with Guardiola while celebrating

By William Estrella

Clear and concise, Erling Haaland agrees with Guardiola while celebrating

Pep Guardiola was restless on the touchline during the win over Everton.

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Maybe, just maybe, winning another Treble might not be straightforward for Manchester City this season. It is only six weeks since Pep Guardiola's side were at Goodison Park staring at a sixth Premier League game in seven without a victory, yet some are already talking of another Manchester City coronation as inevitable. Saturday's slog of a 2-0 home win against Everton supported the manager's claim that there is only the tiniest of chances of an unprecedented repeat.

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Perhaps in part because of the title chatter back circling around his team, Guardiola had been particularly gloomy about their home displays against Everton in his pre-match press conference. Recent meetings don't necessarily back that up but the two draws in his first two years about the club would have had the manager tearing his hair out if he could; they missed two penalties in a 1-1 draw in 2016 and then missed so many chances the following year in a 1-1 repeat that he locked himself in his office to sulk and try to comprehend how his team could win games.

That draw would be City's last in the league for 19 games as they went on a league-record run to win their first of many titles, and they have now equalled this season's best of six in a row. It was anything but easy, though. If you could bottle up all the key ingredients of a Saturday early kick-off, it would come out looking exactly like Saturday's game did. Guardiola's patience was thin early on and got progressively worse as his team failed to find a spark and Everton slowed the game down at every opportunity; it felt like not a City attack went by in the second half without a visiting defender falling to the floor asking for some kind of treatment.

The arrivals of Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker injected some energy and pace off the bench, with Matheus Nunes hooked after failing to make the most of his opportunity. However, for every Jeremy Doku dance past his man there was a miscontrol to set City back to square one. Out of nowhere, enter Erling Haaland. The Norwegian had barely had a kick in his first start at the Etihad this year yet as a loose ball broke to him from a corner he lashed it into the net with his weaker foot and wheeled off to enjoy a celebration he has been without for far too long; it was his first goal since November and moved him onto 15 in the league - enough to enjoy top spot alone in the division rankings once again.

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More moments from the match

There were four changes from the win over Brentford, with De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva on the bench presumably with European competition in mind. Guardiola needs all of his squad if they are to have success this season, and he needs all of them to be better than they were on Saturday. For all the internal reflection, many will see Haaland's return to goalscoring form and another assist for De Bruyne as more evidence that it will take something special to stop them. That may be true, but you don't need to have been to Harvard or Yale to see that it will be anything but easy for the Blues.


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