LONDON: Erling Haaland and Manchester City is a love affair less than one month into the Premier League season.

Already champions City are favourites to run away with the title again and the Norwegian is favourite to end up as leading scorer after scoring a first-half hat-trick in an easy 6-0 thrashing of promoted Nottingham Forest.

Haaland thus became the seventh player to score a hat-trick in successive Premier League appearances after Les Ferdinand, Ian Wright, Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane (twice).

He was also the fourth player to score multiple hat-tricks for Manchester City in a single Premier League season, after Sergio Aguero (four times), Raheem Sterling and Carlos Tevez.

The Norwegian needed only 12 minutes to break through. Ilkay Gundogan played a corner back to Phil Foden and Haaland shrugged off a defender pulling his shirt to score from close range.

Haaland is frightening opponents. He forced the second goal initially but pressing goalkeeper Dean Henderson into a poor clearance to Bernardo Silva and Haaland struck again after exchanging passes with Foden. That was 23 minutes. No3 came in the 38th with John Stones this time proving the assist.

Joao Cancelo added a fourth goal five minutes into the second half as Forest fans began to fear that City were aiming to match Liverpool’s 9:0 battering of fellow newly-promoted side Bournemouth.

Julian Alvarez, City’s other new attacker, scored the next two goals. These were the former River Plate right winger first in the league after having scored City’s consolation in their FA Community Shield defeat by Liverpool.

This was also the 32nd time under Guardiola that City scored five or more goals in the Premier League, more than twice as many as next-best Liverpool (15).

Liverpool substitute Fabio Carvalho struck five minutes into stoppage time for a 2-1 comeback win over Newcastle at Anfield while Arsenal stayed top of the table after beating Aston Villa more easily than the 2:1 scoreline suggested.

A handling slip by the ex-Arsenal keeper Emi Martinez presented the opening goal to Gabriel Jesus. Villa grabbed an undeserved equaliser through newly-arrived substitute Douglas Luiz direct from a corner but Arsenal immediately responded through Gabriel Martinelli. Gabriel Jesus has never lost any of the 49 league matches in which he has scored for Manchester City and Arsenal.