After last week’s superb victory Wolves were brought back to planet earth as they fell to a defeat against title challengers Manchester City. After a woeful and disjointed first half Wolves grew into the second and even got a goal back – however, they spurned chances to equalise with poor finishing. They were eventually beaten by a City side full of flair and attacking fluidity, albeit shaky in defence. With the chances, we had to equalise it was disappointing to lose the game.
Wolves came into this game full of verve and excitement after starting the season brilliantly at Bramall Lane, dispatching Sheffield United in what was a comfortable performance. The only change to that eleven was Ruben Neves who came into the side replacing Leander Dendoncker.
Manchester City started the game as you would expect title challengers to, they zipped the ball around with phenomenal ease, although they were helped by a Wolves back three which had one of its shakiest performances under Nuno.
They pressed early on and Wolves struggled to break out of their own half, with it looking like only a matter of time before the Cityzens scored. That feeling was confirmed when Romain Saiss, who was unbelievable against Sheffield United, needlessly fouled Kevin De Bruyne inside the box to give away a penalty. Last season’s PFA Player of the Year duly dispatched the spot-kick to give the away side the lead. The pressure only then increased on an increasingly confused backline as Wolves continued to give chance after chance away.
The pressure told once again for City as Raheem Sterling broke beyond Willy Boly and Conor Coady to then square it across for Phil Foden, who duly accepted the chance and converted it with ease to double up their lead.
Wolves didn’t close down possession enough and Adama Traore struggled greatly at Ring-wing-back. The signing of Nelson Semedo can’t come soon enough for the team and this game was a showcase as to why they need someone with a bit more defensive nouse. He was exposed often in the first period of play.
The first half ended with Wolves very much wondering how they were going to get anything from the game, and the second half began very much the same with City in control of the ball. The opening 10 or so minutes continued in the same vein until Wolves began to play and grow in attacking confidence.
Daniel Podence started the spree of chances with a shot on the turn that flew just wide of the post, and from then on it was all Wolves. Podence then went through on goal and chipped over the bar where he should have scored. The change in pace suited Wolves as they attacked with more intensity and verve. The chances fell again as Raul Jimenez sliced a pull-back wide, whilst Wolves were frustratingly wasteful you could see there was a chance to get back into the game.
The goal then came 12 minutes from time, Podence was once more the catalyst as he nutmegged Kevin De Bruyne and placed a beautiful cross on to the head of Jimenez to bring the game back to within one goal. Wolves pressed for a late equaliser but struggled to break City down, with the away side holding out with some solid defending. The nail in the coffin then cam in added time as Gabriel Jesus made use of some poor defending to score a deflected shot off Conor Coady (he seems to have a thing for those does Coady). Wolves rued their missed chances against what was a clinical and impressive return for Manchester City.
Man of the Match – Daniel Podence
A constant threat throughout the night in what was a stellar performance from the diminutive Portuguese frontman. He gave the City defence hell for most of the game and produced a world-class assist for the goal. His pace and direct play should give Wolves a constant threat this season, and with this performance against one of the league’s best teams you can believe he’ll be crucial in offsetting the loss of Diogo Jota. Plenty more to come from this man and I cannot wait.
Whilst the defeat is disappointing it offered us another chance to see the attacking threat that Wolves can pose teams this season, and with Nelson Semedo coming in to free up Traore at wind-back, we have certainly yet to see the best of this team just yet. However, some of the defensive play was a huge concern and if Wolves are to make a push for the top 6 this season, they need to cut out unnecessary errors from their center-backs. Defensive solidity is something they pride on, back some of the post-lockdown defending was on show here – improvements are certainly needed.