Nottingham Forest 0-2 Man City: Erling Haaland scores on his return

Erling Haaland scores for Manchester City
Haaland has scored 21 Premier League goals this season, making him the league’s top scorer

Erling Haaland marked his return with a goal as Manchester City kept up the pressure on leaders Arsenal with victory over Nottingham Forest.

The Norwegian striker missed two games through injury but came off the bench in the 62nd minute at the City Ground.

He slotted into the left corner nine minutes later to wrap up the points and move City back to a point behind Premier League front-runners Arsenal, who won at Tottenham earlier on Sunday.

City went ahead 32 minutes in as Josko Gvardiol scored with a powerful near-post header from Kevin de Bruyne’s inswinging corner.

That came while Forest’s Neco Williams was off the pitch receiving treatment for an injury, which subsequently forced his substitution.

Pep Guardiola’s City have a game in hand over Arsenal but may still need to win all of their games between now and the end of the season to secure a record fourth consecutive Premier League title.

This was a far from comfortable afternoon for the visitors as Forest disrupted their flow and created a number of good opportunities.

Based on this performance, it is hard to believe Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are in a relegation fight, but they remain just one point above the drop zone.

After a tumultuous time off the pitch in which they have criticised refereeing standards, this was a determined display from Forest but they ultimately paid the price for missed chances.

City get the job done

Playing in the last match of the weekend, City had watched rivals Liverpool perhaps knocked out of the title race with a draw at West Ham on Saturday before Arsenal secured their victory in the North London derby to briefly go four points clear.

City faced Forest without Phil Foden and Ruben Dias, absent from the squad through illness, while Haaland was deemed fit enough just for the bench.

There was further concern as goalkeeper Ederson had to be replaced by Stefan Ortega at half-time after picking up an apparent shoulder injury from a clash with Willy Boly, having only returned to the side two matches ago after recovering from a muscle problem. Ederson later left the City Ground with his left arm in a sling.

Mateo Kovacic was brought on at half-time for Jeremy Doku as Guardiola tried to introduce more control in the middle of the park, but Forest remained solid, getting in behind and causing problems as they sought an equaliser.

With City facing pressure, it was only when Haaland scored – in front of his dad and former City and Forest player Alfie Haaland – that the result seemed assured.

While not a vintage performance from the visitors, City’s quality eventually shone through with De Bruyne setting up both goals, taking his assists tally for the season to 14 across all competitions.

It means the title remains in City’s hands. If both they and Arsenal keep winning, and City take advantage of their game in hand, then Guardiola’s team will take the title by two points.

Recent history tells us that at this point in the season, City know how to turn it on when it matters.

Determined Forest rue missed chances

With all eyes on Forest off the pitch, they needed to start doing their talking on it.

A controversial statement released following their 2-0 loss at Everton on 21 April claimed the video assistant referee was a Luton fan after Forest were denied what they believed to be three clear penalties.

Luton are the team directly below Forest in the table.

The statement has triggered criticism of Forest and could result in punishment for the club, who are also waiting for the outcome of an appeal following their four-point deduction for breaches of profit and sustainability rules.

Amid all that distraction it must be noted that Forest’s form on the pitch has been lacking.

They have won just two of their last 15 league games and kept one clean sheet in their last 24.

But Forest will be encouraged by a performance where they created chances and went toe to toe with City.

Chris Wood headed over the bar before missing a simple tap-in when Gonzalo Montiel cut back and the striker only had to slot into an open net but fumbled the shot.

Wood missed another great chance when Anthony Elanga cut the ball back for him, but a tame effort from 10 yards was gathered by Ortega.

With games against relegated Sheffield United, mid-table Chelsea and a potentially decisive match on the last day against relegation rivals Burnley to come, Forest can take strength into those fixtures, knowing there is no-one to save them from the drop but themselves.

Player of the match

GrealishJack Grealish

Nottingham Forest

  1. Squad number32Player nameOmobamidele

  2. Squad number40Player nameMurillo

  3. Squad number43Player nameAina

  4. Squad number14Player nameHudson-Odoi

  5. Squad number30Player nameBoly

  6. Squad number21Player nameElanga

  7. Squad number28Player nameDanilo

  8. Squad number10Player nameGibbs-White

  9. Squad number19Player nameNiakhaté

  10. Squad number7Player nameN Williams

  11. Squad number29Player nameMontiel

  12. Squad number26Player nameSels

  13. Squad number11Player nameWood

  14. Squad number6Player nameSangaré

  15. Squad number20Player nameReyna

  16. Squad number22Player nameYates


Nottm Forest

Formation 5-4-1

  • 26Sels
  • 7N WilliamsSubstituted forMontielat 35′minutes
  • 30BolySubstituted forSangaréat 84′minutes
  • 40Santiago Costa dos SantosSubstituted forOmobamideleat 74′minutes
  • 19Niakhaté
  • 43Aina
  • 21ElangaSubstituted forReynaat 74′minutes
  • 28DaniloSubstituted forYatesat 74′minutes
  • 10Gibbs-White
  • 14Hudson-Odoi
  • 11Wood


  • 1Turner
  • 6Sangaré
  • 15Toffolo
  • 20Reyna
  • 22Yates
  • 27Origi
  • 29Montiel
  • 32Omobamidele
  • 37Duarte Ribeiro

Man City

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 31EdersonSubstituted forOrtegaat 45′minutes
  • 2Walker
  • 25Akanji
  • 6Aké
  • 24Gvardiol
  • 16Rodri
  • 11DokuSubstituted forKovacicat 45′minutes
  • 17De BruyneSubstituted forNunesat 89′minutes
  • 20Bernardo Silva
  • 10GrealishSubstituted forHaalandat 62′minutes
  • 19ÁlvarezSubstituted forBobbat 89′minutes


  • 5Stones
  • 8Kovacic
  • 9Haaland
  • 18Ortega
  • 21Gómez
  • 27Nunes
  • 33Carson
  • 52Bobb
  • 82Lewis

Simon Hooper


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