Wolves face a difficult trip to the Etihad to take on an in-form Manchester City side who have won a staggering twenty consecutive games in all competitions. Pep Guardiola’s side sit twelve points clear at the top of the table, but Wolves will take heart from their recent five game unbeaten run, as well as not too distant memories of winning at the Etihad last season. The game will be behind closed doors and broadcast live on BT Sport with a 20:00 kick off.
Wolves’ predictable draw at St James’ Park meant they stretched their unbeaten run to five league games, with just one league defeat in seven. However, Wolves were far from their best against Newcastle and will ultimately view it as a missed opportunity to move into the top half of the table with difficult games to come. Despite this, confidence remains high after back-to-back wins against Southampton and Leeds which have eased any worries of Wolves being dragged into a relegation battle, as Nuno’s men look upwards and aim to break into the top half of the table with over a third of the season still remaining.
After an inconsistent start to the season, Manchester City have been impeccable of late, winning their last 20 (Twenty) consecutive games, including 13 in the Premier League. They have very quickly become the run-away leaders and are on course to win four competitions this season as they remain in the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League. What is perhaps most impressive about City’s recent run is the way in which they have won games when they have not played particularly well, most recently a 2-1 win at home to West Ham on Saturday. City were made to work hard for their win and saw the result through in difficult circumstances, an important trait of Premier League champions.
After months of inconsistency, Wolves have finally found some form and they have done so with a consistent starting XI, despite recent injuries to Willy Boly and Daniel Podence. Wolves have also become more potent in attack, with the second half performances of Pedro Neto and Adama Traore at Southampton meaning Nuno has opted to stick with the pair playing as inverted wingers, which means the front three play much narrower, and the wing backs become far more effective. It is no coincidence that Nelson Semedo’s upturn in form has aligned with this tactical switch. There are no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game with Jonny Otto now likely to be able to play the full 90 minutes following his remarkable recovery from the ACL injury he picked up in July. Marcal and Podence remain side-lined. Meanwhile, in the absence of Willy Boly, Leander Dendoncker is likely to keep his place on the right-hand side of defence, despite Max Kilman’s impressive form and Dendoncker’s poor performance at Newcastle.
Likely Line Up: Patricio, Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss, Semedo, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny, Neto, Jose, Traore (Subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Ait-Nouri, Richards, Kilman, Gibbs-White, Vitinha, Otasowie, Silva)
After a lengthy spell on the side-lines recovering from COVID-19, Sergio Aguero is back to full fitness and started in Man City’s win against West Ham. Guardiola rotated his ridiculously impressive squad with Sterling, Foden, Cancelo, Rodri and Silva all rested on the bench. Indeed, all nine players on the Manchester City bench could quite easily fit into the starting eleven of most Premier League sides. Guardiola’s unpredictability in squad selection makes the Man City side hard to predict, but one thing is for sure it will be a side of real quality on an incredible run of form.
The sides have met 123 times in competitive games across three different divisions as both clubs have experienced highs and lows down the years. Both sides have won 49 games against each other, with the other 25 ending all square. This shows that it is honours even between the clubs as far as history is concerned, but it is far from honours even on paper prior to this game. City eased past Wolves earlier in the season with a 3-1 victory at Molineux in what was the Citizens first league game of the season. Wolves did however, complete an impressive double over Guardiola’s side last season, with an Adama Traore brace sealing three points at the Etihad before Wolves won the reverse fixture at Molineux, a 3-2 thriller, a game that had just about everything.
Wolves have an impressive record against the ‘big six’ since their return to the top flight in 2018. Even against Guardiola’s ever-impressive City, Wolves have been more than a match in recent seasons. However, given the home sides incredible winning run and Wolves’ less than convincing performances this season, it is hard to envisage Wolves taking anything away from the Etihad on Tuesday evening. However, Wolves put in stern performances away at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge in recent months and will take heart from their solid defensive performances in difficult away fixtures. Despite this, City are likely to have too much quality on the night and will likely extend their lead at the top with a routine win.
Prediction: Man City 2-0 Wolves