seeing red | 

Nathan Collins was given a horrible lesson against Manchester City

Manchester City are looking like they have finally found that key to crack Champions League success

Wolves defender Nathan Collins takes out Jack Grealish© Getty Images

City ace Haaland bears down on goal© Getty Images

Robbie Brady is back in the Irish set-up© SPORTSFILE

Paul McGrathSunday World

Any more of this and they may just give the Premier League trophy to Manchester City now.

Wolves away is just the sort of fixture to sort out the men from the boys when it comes to a title challenge.

It’s one you need to battle in and win if you are going to contend for the big prize.

What happened at Molineaux yesterday suggests we must now regard Manchester City as giants among men.

They toyed with the home team and were toying with them long before Nathan Collins was sent off.

I felt so sorry for the Dubliner, this was supposed to be a big match in his football education, going up against Erling Haaland.

Well it was an education, but not in the way the lad would have wanted.

No matter what the circumstances, you cannot raise your foot that high and make contact with a player.

If you do it will be a red card all day long, them’s the rules nowadays.

Nathan will learn from this, to stay on the ground, to position himself better. It’s a part of learning as a young professional, but as you step up the ranks in football, the forwards gets faster, more elusive and if you are not careful, you wil makes a bad mistake as Nathan did yesterday.

City ace Haaland bears down on goal© Getty Images

Afterwards Pep Guardiola made a rueful, if not cynical, reference to “the Nations League being very important”.

I have to say it is strange to stop the season at this point for an international break, when club football is going to stop for seven weeks for the World Cup in November and December.

More and more that dreadful decision, 11 years ago now, to award the World Cup to Qatar is haunting professional football at all levels.

I would say Guardiola knows that if the English season could just go on and on, his team is in such a rich vein of top form that they would continue to amass three points after three points.

Now the players, those from qualified countries, start to think about the World Cup.

His players start to listen to other managers and coaches, playing different formations and tactics and then they have to come back to Manchester and pick it all up again at City, just in time for the Manchester derby.

Still, right now, you would doubt that they have too much to worry about. Haaland has made them a better side than the team that has won four of the last five English titles.

That sentence should worry everyone at Liverpool Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and any other club who has designs on challenging for the league crown this season.

Haaland has scored 11 times in the Premier League in just seven games to date, and he looked hungry yesterday, wanting the ball every time a Manchester City player was in a good position to pass it to him.

In an era where €100million players are commonplace, getting Haaland for a little more than half that, is looking like an utter steal for City.

Ironically, for a club who almost got themselves into Fair Play trouble a few years ago, Manchester City must be absolutely delighted that Haaland was available for transfer just when both Barcelona and Real Madrid got themselves into money troubles.

The Norwegian would surely have gone to one of the Spanish giants otherwise.

Instead, he looks like being the last piece of the jigsaw for City as they pursue the Champions League win that has now become their be-all and end-all.

Robbie Brady is back in the Irish set-up© SPORTSFILE


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