Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Manchester City
Venue: Molineux Stadium
TV: Sky Sports Main Event
Referee: Martin Atkinson
In a clash of champions, Wolves will be seeking their first win of the season when hosting Manchester City at Molineux in the early kick-off on Saturday, and will be hoping to better their well deserved goalless league cup draw earned against the current Premier League Champions last season.
Nuno Santo’s side are currently pursuing their first win of the 2018/19 Premier League campaign while City and Guardiola will look to keep their 100% record in-tact and add to their already impressive goal difference.
The home side have produced some exhilarating football but have failed to capitalise against 10 men in both of their first two games resulting in only earning a point so far. In contrast, Manchester City picked up where they left off and continued their dominance of the league, overturning Arsenal comfortably while putting six past Huddersfield last weekend without some of their key players.
While the hosts can expect one of their toughest games of the season, the Sky Blues would expect to win the game with ease. With this being said, Pep Guardiola never allows his men to step off the pace, especially after their previous cup fixture last season. The Wanderers held City to a 0-0 draw at the Etihad and had opportunities to win the game before being knocked out on penalties.
Wolves currently have players sidelined for this game, with winger Ivan Cavaleiro carrying a back injury since pre-season and is not expected to make a return this weekend while Matt Doherty, who conceded an unlucky own goal against Leicester last week, is a doubt for the fixture.
Nuno may have some headaches with his team selection considering the starting eleven against Leicester last weekend began so positively. However, he may opt for more physicality and defensive structure to try and replicate last seasons League Cup performance with introductions for Dendoncker or Roman Saiss. Adama Traore could make a start considering he was more direct and fast-paced compared to Jota and Costa when introduced at the King Power.
Wolves’ bright start to the season on the pitch has arguably been harshly rewarded in results. They have failed to register their first win against opposition who only had 10 men in both games. Granted, games against a reformed Everton side and away at Leicester are not going to be the easiest, but Wolves will need to learn to profit from their chances if they want to make impact on the Premier League and survive.
Manchester City’s injury list contains a more high profile selection of Kevin De Bruyne (knee) who will be out till mid-November and Danilo, who likely won’t be available for selection with an ankle injury. Claudio Bravo, Eliaquim Mangala and Philippe Sandler are all unavailable but were unlikely to feature in this match.
Guardiola chose to start without wide players Sterling, Sane and record signing Mahrez against Huddersfield which came as a surprise to most. The logic behind the team selection could not be argued with considering the incredibly one sided 6-1 result in City’s favour. Depending on how Pep thinks the opposition are going to set up, his team selection may vary but an away fixture against an exciting Wolves side may mean recalls for Sterling, Sane or Mahrez.
Pep’s philosophy is still in full force as it proves it still beats Premier League teams, even the likes of their competitors such as Arsenal in the opening game and Chelsea the game before in the Community Shield. Manchester City will fancy their chances in this game and with Wolves conceding two in both of their games, they will feel there is a prospect of adding significantly to their goal tally.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Rui Patricio; R Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Moutinho, Ruben Neves, Jonny; Helder Costa, Raul Jimenez, Diogo Jota
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Stone, Laporte, Mendy; Gundogan, Fernandinho; Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Sterling; Aguero
Score Prediction: Wolverhampton 1 Manchester City 4
This game can be expected to be a highly attacking and fast paced match with exceptional quality being produced from both teams. If Wolves can open up City like they did last season, then they could score more than one. However, they have squandered easy chances recently and come close on the spectacular ones. City will exploit the open style of play from Wolves and will be expected to score a few. Should be a comfortable win for Manchester City.