Wolves face Manchester City in their first home game of the Premier League season on Monday evening. They will be hoping to carry on in the same fashion as last season, when they completed the league double over the former champions. The match kicks off at 8:15pm and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
After a convincing 2-0 win against Sheffield United last Monday, Wolves looked less impressive in their league cup meeting with Stoke City where they lost 1-0. The league cup game did feature a number of new players which may explain the poorer performance with them having only a short amount of time to settle in at the club.
If we look back to the win against Sheffield United, Wolves got off the mark quickly and started the game strong, unlike what we were used to seeing from them last season. Scoring two goals in the space of the opening 6 minutes, it seemed like the lack of a pre-season had no effect on them and the team looked fresh and well prepared.
Despite a better second-half performance from the Blades, Wolves still had a number of chances to increase their lead and defended well to see out the victory and keep a clean sheet.
I hope to see this same momentum and organisation in the game against City. As City are so threatening on the attack it would be good to see us start on the front foot and keep our defence tight to allow them as few opportunities as possible to test Patricio.
Manchester City Form
This will be City’s opening game of the season because of their participation in the Champions League in August. This makes it hard to judge their form but as we know, City are a tough team to face and we can expect them to turn up raring to go.
They will be without a couple of key players for this match, such as Sergio Aguero, but they have a strong enough team for this not to affect them too much. I think the main man to watch out for on Monday is without a doubt Kevin De Bruyne. He was awarded both the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season awards for his performances last season and is a real threat to defences everywhere. He scored 13 goals and provided 20 assists in the league last season which shows just how impressive he is. His ability to pick out a beautiful pass and to carve teams open is something I think Wolves will need to watch out for.
There are no new injury concerns for Wolves going into this match and after an impressive performance against Sheffield United, I think we could see Nuno stick with the same XI. That would mean a starting line-up of:
Patricio, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Traore, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Marcal, Neto, Jimenez, Podence.
For Manchester City, Riyad Mahrez is available to play after completing a period of self-isolation because of a positive coronavirus test. Aymeric Laporte, who also went into self-isolation, is not available and neither is Ilkay Gundogan who has tested positive for the virus. Sergio Aguero is also unavailable due to injury.
Head to Head
Wolves and City have faced each other a total of 122 times, with Wolves winning 49 of those meetings, City winning 48 and 25 ending in draws.
The last time the two teams met was back in December in a thrilling match which saw Wolves run out 3-2 winners and complete the league double over City.
Wolves were handed an early advantage in the match when City goalkeeper Ederson was sent off for a foul on Diogo Jota. They failed to capitalise on that advantage though and fell behind after VAR awarded City a penalty. After saving the initial penalty from Sterling, Rui Patricio was forced to do it again after a retake was awarded for encroachment by Conor Coady. Sterling’s second effort was also saved but Patricio couldn’t do enough to stop the rebound. Sterling then went on to score his second of the night shortly after. Just when it looked like it was all over for Wolves they mounted a stunning comeback, with goals from Adama Traore, Raul Jimenez and Matt Doherty sealing the victory.
I think this will be a tough game for both teams, with Wolves having already played two matches they may have a slight advantage over City who haven’t started their season yet. However, City are always impressive and won’t come to Molineux unprepared.
Speaking about the game, as reported by the Express & Star Nuno said:
“It’s a weird time for every team as there was such a quick turnaround … it’s new for everybody, but we know how good Man City are.
“Everybody knows, so we cannot expect anything different than a very, very tough and demanding game for us. The players have to be ready.”
I’m predicting a 1-1 draw with a really even game and both teams putting on a strong performance.