Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Wolves face the toughest task in English football this weekend as they try and stop champions Manchester City who have started the season in frightening form. A 2-0 win at Arsenal was followed by a 6-1 hammering of Huddersfield and it’s fair to say Pep Guardiola’s men look determined to regain their title after their record-breaking campaign last time out. However, the newly-promoted West Midlands side will have some hope after a decent start to the season, in terms of performances if not results.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men shared four goals with Everton on the opening day in what was a thrilling encounter before they lost 2-0 to Leicester last week. Yet, their performance against the Foxes will give Wolves a lot of confidence. They hit the woodwork three times and were guilty of missing some real sitters before gifting Leicester the lead with an own goal, whilst the second came from a deflection.
Despite that, they know that it will be a massive ask to get something against this rampant City side who, even without Kevin De Bruyne, have quality and goals all over the pitch. But, with Molineux sure to be rocking and Wolves having a few quality players of their own, such as the impressive Ruben Neves in midfield and the explosive Adama Traore in the final third, they could make a game of it. Whether that’s enough to get a result is highly doubtful, but Santo’s side are one of few outside the top six that might give Guardiola’s men something to think about defensively.
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Manchester City Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-3 Manchester City
With City, you have to acknowledge that we are looking at a side that is without doubt one of the best in the world, not just England. Guardiola took time to implement his strategy in the Premier League but now he has the side playing exactly the way he wants. At Molineux, they will set up like they do at every away ground, looking for goals and looking to dominate.
Quite simply, they are just too good for the majority in the division and have such variety in attack that makes them so dangerous. If Sergio Aguero is somehow kept quiet, you have Gabriel Jesus to watch. If David Silva is unusually lacking in midfield, Bernardo Silva can be decisive. If Leroy Sane is having an off day down the flank, then Raheem Sterling could step up. And, we could go on. Whilst we expect Wolves to make this somewhat competitive, as they have quality of their own, the reality is that this City side are head and shoulders above most in Europe and they will have too much firepower in the final third. Plus, Guardiola’s demanding nature means that once they have a goal, there’s no sitting back – it’s relentless and it could be a long afternoon for Santo’s men.
Our recommended tip: Manchester City -1
That final point is particularly important when it comes to our recommended bet for this fixture. Some sides look to close out games by keeping the ball or sitting deep and playing on the counter. Not City. Instead, they maintain the same approach, hunting in packs, pressing high and going for goals. Huddersfield saw last week what this side can do and even against Arsenal they could’ve had more than the two goals they got.
If they take the lad at Molineux, the focus will be on adding a second and you would back them to find the goals to put Wolves out of sight. Again, the depth and variety City have in the final third means that they have so many ways of scoring and they will surely control the game from the first whistle. As with most games this season, backing the Blues to win by two or more goals could be a profitable selection.
This is a regular fixture in English football and this will be the 118th meeting between the sides and it’s been very even over the years, with City having 47 wins to Wolves’ 46. The Black Country side notably won back in 1974 at Wembley to secure the League Cup and have had several positive memories playing City since then too. Their very first Premier League win, back in 2003, came over the Citizens at Molineux, whilst they also defeated the ‘new’ City in 2010 with David Silva and Vincent Kompany featuring for the visitors.
As well as that, the two met last season in the Carabao Cup, with Championship Wolves becoming the first side to stop City as they drew 0-0 over 120 minutes, with Guardiola’s men winning on penalties. Yet, Wolves caused a reasonably strong City side a lot of problems and missed a few glaring chances to record a remarkable win and that will give them hope for this clash. Yet, City have enjoyed good moments against Wolves themselves, winning to relegate the Black Country side six years ago in what was a crucial result as they went on to secure their first Premier League title.
Top 3 Premier League Bookies
Players to watch: Adama Traore & David Silva
When it comes to dribbling, it’s not exaggerating to say there are few better in the world than Adama Traore. The former Middlesbrough man has incredible pace, combined with power, that means he is virtually unstoppable when he has the ball at his feet. And, with his end product improving, Wolves could have a real player on their hands in the years to come. However, he will also be a major threat to City. There all-out attacking philsophy means Wolves will be playing on the counter and Traore is likely to be left one on one. The issue will be getting the ball to him quickly but if they manage it then he is a major threat and is sure to start after an impressive cameo at Leicester last week.
Santo has this Wolves side organised and they have a decent defensive structure so it may not be a stroll for City. And, if they need inspiration and creativity from midfield then David Silva is the man likely to step up. Everyone knows just how good the Spanish magician is and he reminded us against Huddersfield to those who may have forgot. With De Bruyne injured, that extra responsibility is placed on the former Valencia man and he will look to deliver once again for his side in this clash.