- Charley Longden
Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Wolves vs Manchester City Preview
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will face off against Bruno Lage’s Wolverhampton Wanderers in another huge chapter in this fantastic title race. The match will be played on Wednesday the 11th of May 2022 and will kick off at 20:15 (BST) – the fixture at Molineux will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
In his press conference – Guardiola confirmed that ‘nothing changed’ regarding the fitness of his squad. After the Newcastle victory, Guardiola stated that Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, and John Stones will not be available for the rest of the season. Dias was brought off at halftime during the Newcastle match after sustaining a muscular problem. Nathan Ake was pictured in first-team training today, but it remains to be seen whether the Dutchman can start the game tomorrow.
Ederson, Cancelo, Laporte, Ake, Zinchenko, Rodri, Gundogan, Bernardo, Mahrez, De Bruyne, Foden
League position: 1st
Top scorer: Raheem Sterling (12)
Previous result: W 5-0 vs Newcastle United (H)
City were excellent in their 5-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday. The goals were scored by Raheem Sterling (2), Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Phil Foden. The Blues were at their scintillating best, having 21 shots, 72% possession and 90% passing accuracy against the Magpies. City stifled their opponents on Sunday by maintaining possession and recycling the ball, in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Guardiola’s men had a staggering 94% possession. It is the sixth time this season that City have scored five or more goals in a Premier League match, extending their goal difference to 68 for the season, which is four more than title rivals Liverpool. Guardiola has now faced Eddie Howe 10 times as a manager and has won all 10 matches.
Kevin De Bruyne was announced as Man of the Match on Sunday, the Belgian was once again the dictator as he controlled the ball and sliced open the Newcastle backline on numerous occasions. The Belgian international had 91% passing accuracy, 77 touches, created six chances and won possession four times against Newcastle – and was the driving force in City’s dominating performance. De Bruyne has been crucial to City in recent weeks and has either scored or assisted in each of his last 7 home games in all competitions.
The Belgian has surely made a case for himself to win his third successive PFA Player of the Year award; De Bruyne has been directly involved in 14 goals in his last 14 Premier League games at the Etihad. His form couldn’t have come at a better time for the league leaders, as each match is branded as a ‘final’ for Guardiola’s men.
Jack Grealish was also in fine form against the Magpies, the England international completed 97% of his final third passes, had more touches inside the Newcastle box than any other player (11), created four chances and got an assist. Grealish was also impressive with his dribbling, having a 100% dribble success rate in Sunday’s fixture. The Englishman now has five goals and four assists across all competitions this season, numbers he will be looking to improve on next season. There is no doubt, however, that Grealish has fitted in nicely in the City squad and has looked comfortable whenever he has been called upon. His goal contributions will likely increase next season.
The Blues have been excellent from set-pieces this season, with Rodri scoring an excellent near-post header to make it 3-0 against Newcastle. City have scored 20 goals and conceded just one from set-pieces this season, the +19 differential is the best figure recorded in a single season. With Rodri scoring his 5th Premier League goal of the season, meaning the holding midfielder has now scored more league goals than Roberto Firmino, Marcus Rashford, Alexandre Lacazette and Timo Werner this season. The Spaniard has been the perfect successor to Fernandinho’s throne.
With just three games remaining, City are three points clear of Liverpool in second place, with a +4 better goal difference. Undoubtedly, these final three matches will all be incredibly difficult, with Dias, Stones, and Walker unavailable for all three. Nonetheless, the Blues are in an excellent position to win their eighth league title and their fourth in five seasons. City will have to be resilient in these final matches and show the winning mentality that has been so essential to City’s recent success.
League position: 8th
Top scorer: Raul Jimenez (6)
Previous result: D 2-2 vs Chelsea (A)
In their previous outing, Wolves stunned Chelsea with a 97th-minute equaliser from captain Conor Coady. Chelsea were 2-0 up in the match after a brace from Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku – however, Wolves showed their resilience with a fantastic comeback. Francisco Trincao sparked the belief for Lage’s men with an audacious strike in the 79th minute, which led to the most dramatic of late equalisers from their skipper. Lage was leading the Wolves side from home on the weekend after testing positive for Covid-19, assistant manager Alexandre Silva was the man on the side-line for the match.
It was a valiant performance from Coady, as he made more clearances than any other player on the pitch with 10. The England international has scored more goals this season (4) than he had in his previous six seasons at the club (3). Coady has been at the heartbeat of Wolves’ defensive stability, the West Midlands side have only conceded 34 goals in the league this season which is less than Spurs (40), Arsenal (42) and Manchester United (56).
Another reason that Wolves have been so strong at the back is because of the man between the sticks, Jose Sa. The Portuguese goalkeeper has kept 11 clean sheets this season which is the sixth-best in the league, he has also made 120 saves this season which is the third-best in the league. Wolves signed Sa in the summer from Olympiakos on a five-year deal for a reported fee of £6.25 million. With the quality that Sa is showing on a weekly basis for Wolves, he must be considered as one of the best signings of the summer in the Premier League.
After an impressive point at Stamford Bridge, Wolves sit 8th in the league with 50 points. With a perfect finish to the season, Wolves could earn themselves a spot in the UEFA Europa Conference League. For this to happen, Lage’s men would have to leapfrog West Ham into 7th in the league, but with the West Midlands side being five points behind David Moyes’ men with only three games remaining this season, a European spot is looking unlikely.
The first-ever time that City met Wolverhampton Wanderers was in September 1899, a 1-1 draw at Hyde Road in the 1st Division.
The Blues have managed to beat Wolves in each of their last three meetings, with the most recent victory being a 1-0 win at the Etihad in December. The only goal of the match was a penalty from Raheem Sterling in the 66th minute.
The last time that Wolves beat City was in a famous 3-2 victory at Molineux in 2019. Ederson was sent off in the 12th minute in that fixture, and Wolves dramatically came back from 2-0 down to win the match 3-2. Matt Doherty was the hero on the night with an 89th-minute winner to stun Guardiola’s men.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Stuart Burt & Richard West
Fourth official: Graham Scott
VAR: Paul Tierney
Assistant VAR: Simon Bennett
Written by: @CharleyLongden
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