ETIHAD STADIUM, MANCHESTER — Erling Haaland scored his sixth hat-trick of the season and second this week as Manchester City romped to a 6-0 FA Cup quarterfinal win over Burnley.
Vincent Kompany received a rousing reception on his return to east Manchester in the Burnley dugout and his runaway Championship leaders started in enterprising fashion, with their top scorer Nathan Tella forcing an 18th-minute save from Stefan Ortega in the City goal.
But, fresh from his astonishing five-goal haul against RB Leipzig in midweek, Haaland dinked home a first-time finish from Julian Alvarez’s 32nd-minute pass and converted Phil Foden’s low cross three minutes later.
City piled on the pressure early in the second half. Haaland added another matchball to his collection after Foden’s shot came back off the post and Alvarez tapped home Kevin De Bruyne’s pass in the 62nd minute.
Cole Palmer replaced Haaland to a standing ovation and got in on the act when Foden’s deflected cross was punched in his direction by Bailey Peacock-Farrell. De Bruyne then teed up Alvarez again for City’s sixth.
Vincent Kompany tactics shine before Erling Haaland demolition
Kompany’s intricate knowledge of the Guardiola playbook was to the fore during the early stages as Burnley pressed effectively and set traps for the City defence in possession.
Teenage full-back Rico Lewis twice scampered back to make recovery tackles and Ruben Dias needed an inch-perfect challenge to deny Nathan Tella. “The game was really tight in the first half,” Guardiola said afterwards. “We could not control, we could not press well.”
Burnley’s top scorer Tella saw a scrambling Ortega push his shot around the post before Manchester City’s goalkeeper had a key role in the opener. Not that a long-in-the-tooth centre-back will see it this way, but that was even a victory of sorts for Kompany, with City forced to pump a long ball in Haaland’s direction.
Alvarez collected the loose ball, Riyad Mahrez’s decoy run diverted attention Burnley couldn’t spare and Haaland found a delicate first-time finish as Peacock-Farrell narrowed the angle. A similarly delightful contribution from Foden’s left boot put Haaland’s second on a plate and turned an intriguing cup tie into a futile exercise in damage limitation.
Can Erling Haaland break Dixie Dean’s record?
As the old adage goes, to assume makes an ass out of “u” and “me”, but considering the week Haaland has had, let’s indulge a little. If City make it past Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and Real Madrid or Chelsea in the semis, while claiming an FA Cup semifinal win in between, they will play 18 more games this season.
Haaland’s implausible double hat-trick, eight-goal week puts him on 42 for the season in all competitions. A goal a game from this point would take him to 60 if City go the distance in all three competitions. That is a revered mark in English football, the all-time record individual haul in a single league season, set by Everton great Dixie Dean in 1927/28.
Sixty in the Premier League alone is beyond even Haaland, but Dean hit 63 in all competitions that year. At his current rate, Haaland can do that, which is just an absurd thing to be saying in the year 2023, but here we are.