After a hard-fought 2-1 win against West Ham on Saturday lunchtime, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City look to increase their record-breaking win streak by putting a volatile Wolves side to the sword on Tuesday night. Will it be plain sailing, or do Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have a trick up their sleeve against a team they’ve regularly earned results against in recent times?
City continue winning
Sergio Aguero finally made his long-awaited return to the starting line-up last weekend after his troublesome injury and COVID-19 related problems this term, though it was a pair of unlikely yet inspired sources who scored important goals for City in their gritty win over David Moyes’ men.
It was well-established defensive pairing John Stones and Rúben Dias who scored contrasting finishes, sandwiched between a scrappy Michail Antonio equaliser before half-time, to give the Citizens more breathing space atop the Premier League table.
This latest result means they have now gone 28 games unbeaten across all competitions since a smash-and-grab 2-0 away defeat by Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham on November 21.
Having drawn 1-1 with West Brom in Slaven Bilic’s final game as manager on Dec. 15, they have won 20 straight games including passage into the FA Cup quarters later this month, EFL Cup final on April 25 and a 2-0 lead in their UCL last-16 tie vs. Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach.
They play the return leg of that tie on March 16, hoping they’ll finally get over the Champions League hump once and for all this season.
Manchester United’s frustrating goalless draw away at Chelsea 24 hours later means there is now a 12-point gap between the top two through 26 games, ahead of their derby clash this weekend.
Wolves snatch a point at wasteful Newcastle’s expense
Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles said they “need to stop talking and put points on the board” after being left to rue their missed chances against Wolves.
Lascelles headed home his first Premier League goal since October 2019 – also against Wolves – as the hosts looked good value for all three points. Ruben Neves picked the right moment to score his first headed goal after guiding Pedro Neto’s delivery beyond Martin Dubravka.
Miguel Almiron hit the woodwork before limping off, Allan Saint-Maximin had a goal ruled out for offside and it would’ve been worse but for Dubravka’s stoppage-time save to thwart Fabio Silva.
Plenty has been said about Adama Traore’s creative struggles this term, though the Spain international flourished (14 successful dribbles, four key passes, hit woodwork) on Tyneside.
Can he, Neto and others spring a surprise here away from home?
Who’s more likely to win here? Possible line-ups
City lead the H2H (W9, D2, L5) but haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last four meetings with Wolves. That’s no coincidence given the visitors’ tricky style, but I’m predicting another hard-fought home win – Pep’s men have been on a roll lately and have a tough month ahead.
City’s tough fixture list between now and April 3:
Mar 2: Wolves
Mar 7: Noisy neighbours Manchester United
Mar 10: A wounded Southampton
Mar. 13: Away to relegation-threatened Fulham
Mar. 16: UCL last-16 second leg vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
Mar. 20: FA Cup quarter-final away at Everton
April 3: UCL hopefuls Leicester away
Wolves sit in mid-table and it rather typifies what has been an inconsistent campaign at both ends of the table, though their sluggish start continued into 2021 – however they are unbeaten in their last five top-flight games (W3, D2). Can they make it six with a much-needed result here?
City (4-3-3): Ederson; Zinchenko, Dias, Stones, Cancelo; Foden, Rodri, de Bruyne; Sterling, Jesus, Mahrez.
Wolves (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Saiss, Coady, Dendoncker; Ait-Nouri, Moutinho, Neves, Semedo; Traore, Neto, José.
Picture source: Getty