LONDON, England (AP) — Erling Haaland can break all sorts of English Premier League scoring records this season and it still might not secure Manchester City another title.
That's because there is just no stopping Arsenal, who overcame another big obstacle in their bid for a first league title since 2004.
A few hours after Haaland scored his fourth hat trick of the season in City's 3-0 win over Wolverhampton, Arsenal responded by beating Manchester United 3-2, thanks to a 90th-minute winner by Eddie Nketiah.
Arsenal stayed five points clear of second-place City and have a game in hand. The top two must still meet each other twice in the league so there is scope for a turnaround.
It will need Arsenal to slow down and Haaland to keep on scoring. Currently, there's no sign of either of those things happening.
Arsenal were relentless against United after going behind to Marcus Rashford's ninth goal since the World Cup. Goals by Nketiah and Bukayo Saka put the hosts ahead, Lisandro Martinez equalised after a weak punch clear by Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, only for Nketiah to flick home from close range for a goal that was reviewed for offside.
"Emotional, passion and a lot of quality — it doesn't get much better than that," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. "We never panicked, we kept believing."
Remarkably, Arsenal have only dropped seven points from a possible 57 by the halfway stage of the season and have just come through a tough-looking run of games against Brighton, Newcastle, Tottenham, and United by taking 10 points from 12.
It is Arsenal's best start to a league season and only two teams — Liverpool (in 2018-19 and 2019-20) and City (in 2017-18) — have collected more points after 19 games.
With Haaland, though, there is hope for City, the defending champions.
The Norway striker moved to 25 goals for his debut league campaign in England by scoring all of City's goals against Wolves. That would be enough to win the Golden Boot in the Premier League in any of the previous four seasons.
The record goal tally for a 38-game Premier League season is held by Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, with 32 in 2017-18. The most in a 42-game Premier League campaign was 34, by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole.
If Haaland stays fit, he is on course to easily surpass those records.
The quickest a player had previously scored four hat tricks in the Premier League was former Man United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, in 65 appearances. It has taken Haaland just 19 matches to achieve the feat as he continues to take English football by storm in his first season playing in the country of his birth.
"When he scores, I don't know how many hat tricks and goals [people say] he is the solution in our team and when he does not score a goal he is a problem in our team. This is a grey vision of this kind of things," City manager Pep Guardiola said.
"We know his quality, we know each other ... we have to adapt with him and I think we are doing quite well."
Arsenal and City meet for the first time in the league on February 15. Before that, they play each other at City's Etihad Stadium in the FA Cup on Friday.