West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola saw Tomas Soucek clear an instinctive Erling Haaland shot off the line and watched Edson Alvarez stop the superstar striker's tight-angled prod in the goalmouth.
The former Paris Saint-Germain player held his breath in between those two attempts when Haaland erred with the goal at his mercy at the back post.
After halftime at the London Stadium on Saturday, Areola really started to get his hands dirty against Haaland and Manchester City. He reacted brilliantly to beat away one of the No. 9’s flying kung-fu volleys, he held a towering header and flung himself in the way as the Ballon d’Or contender tried to steer home Kyle Walker’s low cross.
By that stage, in the 82nd minute, Haaland had registered eight shots. Five on target, two blocked. He collected Bernardo Silva’s pass four minutes later and drilled attempt number nine unerringly beyond Arreola to seal a 3-1 win and make it five league wins out of five in 2023/24 for the reigning champions.
West Ham vs Man City final score, lineups and result as Doku, Silva and Haaland seal comeback win
“Yeah, I tried,” Areola said ruefully afterwards. “He had lots of shots but defensively we were strong and really worked well against him and against City.
“He’s on a different planet so we have to try our best against these type of teams and players.
“We managed to push them away from the goals but they created lots of chances and at the end they managed to score. They have the players to make the difference as well. Jeremy Doku did an incredible game as well.”
When City travelled to east London on the opening weekend of last season, Haaland was the standout performer, the difference-maker as he scored twice on his league debut to secure a 2-0 win.Read on sportingnews.com