• Daniel Gallagher-Parker

Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Wolves vs Manchester City Preview

After Manchester City's thrilling 2-1 comeback against Borussia Dortmund in midweek, with Erling Haaland scoring the winner against his former side, the Blues now face a resilient Wolverhampton Wanderers for Saturday's 12:30 pm (BST) kick-off, live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom.

This is City's final game for two weeks due to an international break, so Pep Guardiola's side will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten record into October. They have started the season with four wins and two draws in the league. They're second with 14 points, with a matching goal difference of 14, only one point behind Mikel Arteta's Arsenal.

 

Team News and Predicted XI


There are a lot of questions regarding the starting lineup ahead of kick-off. Guardiola stated that his substitutes on Wednesday, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, and Julian Alvarez changed the pace of the game when they came on. Midweek starters Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish, meanwhile, didn't have the best of games before being removed from the action just before the hour.


Alvarez is City's second-highest goalscorer, with three goals in exactly 200 minutes of competitive football for his new side this season; averaging a goal every 67 minutes. Any time he has played, the Argentine has shown why he was promoted directly to the first team instead of being sent out on loan.

Photo courtesy of David Ramos/Getty Images

With Haaland ahead of him at centre-forward, it will be hard to get minutes up top, but he has taken advantage of the small number of minutes he has had so far, whether it be in place of the Norwegian or playing either side or just behind him.


Ruben Dias was surprisingly rested midweek, but the performances from John Stones, at right-back, and Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake as the two starting centre-halves will give the City boss a big decision to make about his staring back four for the lunchtime kick-off.


Will Sergio Gomez be granted a start after his promising performance against Sevilla? Or will Guardiola opt for Stones at right-back again and leave Joao Cancelo out on the left side of the defence?


Guardiola confirmed today that Aymeric Laporte has resumed first-team training but is unsure of whether the Spain international and Kyle Walker will be ready to face Wolves.


There has undoubtedly been a change in mentality since City suffered the heartbreaking defeat to Real Madrid last season. In five of City's 13 games since that night in Spain, they have found themselves having to come from behind, conceding first in four of those. Guardiola and his side will relish the fact that they are capable of turning a game on its head, but the Catalan won't be best pleased that it takes conceding a goal for his side to react.


Predicted XI:


Ederson, Stones, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Alvarez, Haaland, Foden

 

Opposition


Form: WDDWL

League Position: 14th

Top Scorer: Daniel Podence (2)

Previous Result: W 1-0 vs Southampton (H)


It is going to be a tough test, even for Haaland, who was awarded the Premier League Player of the Month award for his nine goals in August on Friday morning.


Jose Sa has only had to pick the ball up out of his net four times so far in the league this season, with two of those coming in the opening weekend. This is the least of any goalkeeper to make more than two appearances in the league this season.

Photo courtesy of Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Something will have to give, though, as City go into the weekend as the top goalscorers, with 20 goals. Haaland scoring 50% of them.


However, if the home side do want to cause an upset, they will need to find some firepower of their own, which they may well have done in the form of newly-acquired Diego Costa. The free transfer of the former Chelsea striker was nearly rejected as the original request for a work permit was denied – but after Wolves put in an appeal, the decision was overturned.


Despite conceding the fewest goals in the division, they have also scored the fewest, along with West Ham, having only put the ball in the back of the net on three occasions.


Wolves have recently suffered a few unfortunate injuries, with Bruno Lage confirming that Raul Jimenez is set to miss a few weeks.


Meanwhile, their £15m centre-forward signing Sasa Kalajdzic, two days before the deadline, suffered a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament on his debut, meaning he won't feature again for the rest of the season, with Chiquinho joining the Austrian on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

 

Head-to-Head


Played: 126

Won: 52

Drawn: 25

Lost: 49


Many of you might remember the last time City faced Wolves, with De Bruyne putting up one of his finest displays in a sky blue shirt, scoring four goals as the Premier League champions ran riot to a 5-1 away win.


Overall, City have a slight edge over Saturday's opposition as they have 52 wins compared to Wolves' 49. With the sides walking away level 25 times in the past.


Since Wolves rejoined the Premier League in 2017, it has been mixed emotions for Guardiola's side.


The first meeting between them proved costly towards the end of the season, as Willy Boly's handball goal from an offside position earned his side a 1-1 draw, which meant City ended the season on 98 points instead of becoming Centurions back-to-back.


Since that day, City have won five meetings whilst losing three. Notably, in the 2019/20 season, when City were 2-0 up at the Molineux and ended up losing 3-2, just over two months after they lost 2-0 at the Etihad.

 

Officials


Referee: Anthony Taylor

Assistants: Gary Beswick & Adam Nunn

Fourth Official: Tony Harrington

VAR: Darren England

Assistant VAR: Dan Robathan

Photo courtesy of David Ramos/Getty Images
 

Written by: @DanGP17_


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