City eased to a 3-1 win at Elland Road in their first league game since the end of the World Cup, with Haaland bagging a second-half brace after Rodri had opened the scoring just before the break.
The result means the Citizens have moved back to second in the table, five points off Arsenal, as they look to become the first club since Manchester United in 2009 to win three Premier League titles in a row.
But the Gunners have been in formidable form this season and in their Boxing Day win over West Ham they showed no signs of slowing down, even without star striker Gabriel Jesus.
Yet City are notorious for turning up the heat in the second-half of a campaign, having come from being behind at Christmas to win the title in 2014, 2019 and 2021.
Haaland is the man spearheading their charge, and his latest brace means he has broken the record for the fewest number of games needed to reach 20 Premier League goals, achieving the feat in just 15 appearances.
Despite this, the sensational striker admitted that he missed plenty of chances against Leeds, telling Amazon Prime: ‘We have to hunt Arsenal. I have a [goal] target but I cannot say it!
‘I just said inside the dressing room that I could have scored five but the most important thing is that we won. I could have scored a couple more but that’s life and I have to train more.
‘I’ve been at home, a bit mad that I’ve not been at the World Cup. I recharged my batteries. Watching other people score to win games at the World Cup triggered, motivated and irritated me. I’m more hungry than ever.’
Both City and Leeds’ players and coaching staff were highly complimentary of Haaland post-match, including Jesse Marsch, who worked with the Norwegian at Red Bull Salzburg.
‘I don’t know whether Man City are my favourites for the league but Haaland is one of my favourite players to watch,’ the American manager said.
‘Haaland has an uncanny ability to know where to be to score goals and a hunger like I have never seen before. It is infectious in the team. It is a desire that spreads through the team.’
It was an emotional game for Haaland who was born in Leeds and had grown up a supporter of the club due to his dad Alfie Haaland playing for them from 1997 to 2000.
‘My father and mother were on the tribune today,’ the 22-year-old added.
‘It’s special. I’m happy, it’s a special moment in my career. When I was young, I had an Eirik Bakke shirt in my room and a jersey of my father.
‘It’s crazy – it was a fantasy of mine to score at Elland Road for City.’
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