Manchester City continued their free-scoring season with a 5-0 demolition of Copenhagen in the Champions League — but it wasn’t Erling Haaland who earned the highest praise.
The Norwegian goal fiend fell below his usual hat-trick standards against the Danish outfit, netting only a brace as Pep Guardiola hauled him off at half-time, no doubt to preserve his most valued asset ahead of the weekend’s Premier League showdown against Southampton.
He has been the headline-maker ever since trading Borussia Dortmund for City in July, but there is another summer recruit and ex-BVB player who has impressed during these early stages of his career at the Etihad. Sergio Gomez has really stepped up recently, and he claimed the MOTM award against Copenhagen.
A top performance from @sergiogm_10! ✨
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 5, 2022
Signed for only £11m from Anderlecht in the summer, that figure is already looking like a snip. Pep Guardiola has a tendency to toss a blizzard of banknotes at full-backs, but the modest fee couriered to Brussels for Gomez’s services is already looking like shrewd business from City.
He made a tangible introduction to the Manchester Derby at the weekend as he came on for an injured Kyle Walker. And he quickly set to work getting involved in City’s cyclical waves of attacking pressure, finally setting up Haaland for the Norwegian’s historic hat-trick.
And again this evening, Haaland profited off Gomez’s attacking enterprise. A rasping volley stung the gloves of Kamil Grabara, who could only parry the ball into Haaland’s trajectory, and the rest was as predictable as Jack Grealish cutting in on his right boot.
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Two matches in succession, two contributions to Haaland’s already-freakish goal tally. With the left-back area having been a problem position for Guardiola pretty much since he joined the club, Gomez’s rapid rise these last few games could really solve the quandary.
The City boss has interchanged between Joao Cancelo and Walker this term, while utility man Oleksandr Zinchenko played the role with distinction as an auxiliary left-back before he joined Arsenal. Heck, even Fabian Delph had a succesful stint as a No. 3 under Guardiola at one point.
But Gomez is, for all intents and purposes, a ‘proper’ left-back, not a versatile midfielder or right-back masquerading as a 3. And that is an even more frightening prospect to a side that contains few, if any flaws.