Nottingham Forest 0-2 Man City: Erling Haaland scores on his return

Erling Haaland scores for Manchester City
Haaland has scored 21 Premier League goals this season, making him the league's top scorer [Getty Images]

Erling Haaland marked his return with a goal as Manchester City kept up the pressure on leaders Arsenal with victory over Nottingham Forest.

The Norwegian striker missed two games through injury but came off the bench in the 62nd minute at the City Ground.

He slotted into the left corner nine minutes later to wrap up the points and move City back to a point behind Premier League front-runners Arsenal, who won at Tottenham earlier on Sunday.

City went ahead 32 minutes in as Josko Gvardiol scored with a powerful near-post header from Kevin de Bruyne's inswinging corner.

That came while Forest's Neco Williams was off the pitch receiving treatment for an injury, which subsequently forced his substitution.

Pep Guardiola's City have a game in hand over Arsenal but may still need to win all of their games between now and the end of the season to secure a record fourth consecutive Premier League title.

This was a far from comfortable afternoon for the visitors as Forest disrupted their flow and created a number of good opportunities.

Based on this performance, it is hard to believe Nuno Espirito Santo's side are in a relegation fight, but they remain just one point above the drop zone.

After a tumultuous time off the pitch in which they have criticised refereeing standards, this was a determined display from Forest but they ultimately paid the price for missed chances.

City get the job done

Playing in the last match of the weekend, City had watched rivals Liverpool perhaps knocked out of the title race with a draw at West Ham on Saturday before Arsenal secured their victory in the North London derby to briefly go four points clear.

City faced Forest without Phil Foden and Ruben Dias, absent from the squad through illness, while Haaland was deemed fit enough just for the bench.

There was further concern as goalkeeper Ederson had to be replaced by Stefan Ortega at half-time after picking up an apparent shoulder injury from a clash with Willy Boly, having only returned to the side two matches ago after recovering from a muscle problem.

Mateo Kovacic was brought on at half-time for Jeremy Doku as Guardiola tried to introduce more control in the middle of the park, but Forest remained solid, getting in behind and causing problems as they sought an equaliser.

With City facing pressure, it was only when Haaland scored - in front of his dad and former City and Forest player Alfie Haaland - that the result seemed assured.

While not a vintage performance from the visitors, City's quality eventually shone through with De Bruyne setting up both goals, taking his assists tally for the season to 14 across all competitions.

It means the title remains in City's hands. If both they and Arsenal keep winning, and City take advantage of their game in hand, then Guardiola's team will take the title by two points.

Recent history tells us that at this point in the season, City know how to turn it on when it matters.

More to follow.