100 up for Raheem Sterling and Ederson – Manchester City 1-0 Wolves Review
After defeat in midweek, Pep Guardiola and his side ran out 1-0 against a resilient Wolves team in Gameweek 16 of the Premier League at The Etihad.
A second-half Raheem Sterling penalty was enough to keep City's place at the summit of the Premier League table for at least another three days. It was also the Englishmen's 100th Premier League goal, whilst Ederson played out his 100th clean-sheet as a Manchester City goalkeeper.
Apart from the absence of Ferran Torres, Guardiola had a fully fit squad to select from, a rare occasion this season. The Premier League Manager of the Month opted to go with this side:
As far as big opportunities come, little if any came for City in the first half. Once again, the Blues recycled the ball well and were good up until the final third but then struggled to break-down Wolves' anti-football approach of five defenders and three defensive midfielders. A usual approach chosen by teams against City.
The majority of City's attacks came down Joao Cancelo's side, who was once again impressive with his inch-perfect passes from the right-side channel to Sterling. Nevertheless, despite his excellent movement, the English winger struggled to do anything once at the end of Cancelo's passes.
With little happening, the big talking point of the first 45 came in the seven minutes of additional time (added on because of a head collision between Ruben Neves and Max Kilman earlier in the half). Wolves striker, Raul Jimenez, brought down Rodri and was given a yellow card, the City midfielder tried to take the free-kick quickly but Jimenez blocked it and then saw another yellow card. All within 45 seconds - a true moment of madness and probably the only thing that the referee gave City's way in the first half.
Experienced referee, John Moss seemed to let every possible challenge go Wolves' way but whenever City were physical back it was deemed a foul. Pep was noticeably angry on the sideline and deservedly so.
Despite playing against 12 men for a large part of the first half, whatever Guardiola said to his side during the half-time break worked. City came out from the blocks fast and were excellent in breaking behind the Wolves defence and creating good opportunities. A great save from Jose Sa, from a right-footed Bernardo Silva effort and smart defending from Conor Coady to clear an Ilkay Gundogan header off the line were the only things denying City a goal.
However, the Premier League Champions broke the dead-lock 66 minutes in through a Sterling penalty. Silva beat his man, crossed the ball into the Wolves area but Joao Moutinho blocked it with his arm and VAR stuck with Moss' decision and gave the penalty with Sterling calmly passed down the middle of the goal.
After the goal, City could have more but once again impressive saves from the Portuguese keeper and great blocks from Kilman denied that. Wolves didn't really prove any threat going forwards, until a Kilman header in the 90th minute, and the game ended with City's sixth Premier League win in a row and left them four points clear with Liverpool and Chelsea having a game in hand.
Ederson (7) Cancelo (7) Dias (7) Laporte (6) Zinchenko (6) Rodri (6.5) Gundogan (6) Silva (7) Grealish (6.5) Sterling (8) Jesus (7)
Substitutes: De Bruyne (7) Foden (6)
Well, haven't we seen that before? A team coming to the Etihad and sticking 10-men behind the ball and on the odd occasion grabbing a winner - Wolves have done it before and Crystal Palace this season. This time was different, City were great in the second period and probably deserved more than the single goal they got, nevertheless, three points is three points and City needed them today with Liverpool and Chelsea on their tails.
They'll host Leeds United midweek, in a game that City lost last season, and they'll once again need three points and nothing less. We go again – without Joao Cancelo, who'll miss the game through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season so far.
Written by: @TomCayless_
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