Wolves 1-5 Man City: Who needs Haaland? De Bruyne fills in up front and scores FOUR

There are, of course, plenty of other parts of the pitch De Bruyne will make his mark from but against Wolves on Wednesday it was the centre-forward role in which he flourished.

Six minutes into the match, he combined nicely with Bernardo Silva to dart in behind the defensive line and slot past Jose Sa in front of a Molineux stunned into silence having won only one of seven going into this game.

But, the home fans were on their feet within moments as Raul Jimenez and Pedro Neto engineered a fantastic breakaway, which led to Leander Dendoncker side-footing home the equaliser.

Just as Liverpool found themselves at Villa Park 24 hours earlier, the title chasers were 1-1 away from home early on and facing a big test of their credentials. Little did Wolves know that City were, in fact, having one of their on-days.

It took De Bruyne just five minutes to put his side back in front, needing no second invitation to finish off after Jose Sa fumbled his chipped pass through to Raheem Sterling.

After only 24 minutes, the mercurial Belgian had his third, another left-footed strike that came from outside the box as he scampered towards retreating defenders.

Guardiola, in his 350th match in charge of City, spoke pre-game about his troubling trips to Molineux in years previous but this fourth consecutive victory over Wolves was confirmed shortly after the break.

Following a strong start to the second half for the hosts, City countered and Phil Foden’s cross was played a yard behind Sterling but could only be cleared into De Bruyne’s path for the midfielder to slam home and notch his fourth. Sterling then missed a sitter before making it 5-1 with a late tap-in.

That De Bruyne’s stunning quartet of goals arrived so soon after his club agreed to match his top-earner status with a £400,000-a-week contract offer for Erling Haaland delivers a certain degree of irony for a team often accused of being short of centre-forward options.

In reality, the prospect of Haaland being put at the disposal of this lot should send shivers down the spines of every top club in Europe.

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