Manchester City will be aiming to close the gap to Liverpool back to four points when they host Wolves at the Etihad on Monday.
Manchester City got back to winning ways after a somewhat sticky patch in the Premier League where they lost three out of four games played towards the end of 2018. Bouncing back with wins over Southampton and table toppers Liverpool the title race has been set up rather nicely.
However, the champions now face Wolves in a tricky fixture given the opposition’s knack to get a good results against the ‘Big Six’ sides this season. Meanwhile, the upturn in form has also seen City find their scoring boots again.
Following the narrow win over Liverpool, City handed a 7-0 thrashing to Rotherham in the FA Cup before hitting nine goals against Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg. Against Wolves though, the ‘Big Six’ have usually found it difficult to score, although City would like to change that and continue their quest for the title.
Despite Wolves’ impressive form against the most formidable of opposition, their overall performance levels have been nothing but inconsistent. It is the teams that Wolves were expected to beat against whom they have dropped the points. Four of their eight defeats have come against teams lying in the bottom half of the table.
Wolves are right in the thick of the mid-table battle with the likes of Everton, Bournemouth, Leicester City and West Ham United, although Nuno Espirito Santo would like to see some good performances from his side. The side can take confidence from their recent win over Liverpool in the FA Cup, but Nuno knows Manchester City are in a formidable nick right now.
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Given Manchester City’s recent prolific form, Pep Guardiola has received a further boost with the return of Sergio Aguero who was taken ill since their victory over Liverpool. The Argentine striker will likely feature from the start after overcoming the problem. Vincent Kompany though, will go through a late fitness test, although it is unlikely the Belgian will feature.
The recent cup games have provided returning midfielder Kevin de Bruyne some much-needed game time after he excelled in those games. The Belgian could be in line for a start against Wolves and could feature in Guardiola’s preferred midfield three including David Silva and Fernandinho.
Manchester City will also see the returns for Ederson, John Stones and Raheem Sterling, all of whom sat out their big win over Burton. Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo remain out with long-term injuries, while Oleksandr Zinchenko could start at left-back in place of the suspended Fabian Delph.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; de Bruyne, Fernandinho, David Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo will be relieved that his side does not have any injury concerns ahead of the game against Manchester City. After leaving many regulars out of the team that beat Liverpool, Nuno is ready for returning stars such as Rui Patricio, Matt Doherty, and Romain Saiss. Including them, the manager will have his entire squad to choose from and he is likely to go with his preferred eleven.
Additionally, Diogo Jota has also returned to full training and has the necessary match fitness to compete again for a first-team spot. He would, however, have to contend with Adama Traore, who has been in some good form of late, meaning Jota would have to be content with a place on the bench.
Nuno, like iterated earlier, has a full-strength squad at his disposal. He will likely field a formation with three central defenders at the back with Doherty and Jonny acting as wing-backs. Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, and Saiss will form a midfield trio with Traore and Raul Jimenez starting up front.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Saiss, Jonny; Traore, Jimenez
- Manchester City have won five of their last six home top-flight meetings with Wolves.
- Wolves have picked up one win in their last 10 matches against Manchester City in all competitions, losing six of those games.
- Manchester City haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last six Premier League home games,
- Manchester City have scored at least twice in each of their previous 12 Premier League home games.
- If David Silva plays, it will be his 267th Premier League appearance – more than any other Manchester City player in the competition’s history.
1. Wolves Asian Handicap + 2.5 @ 1.575
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The Argentine striker, as always, has played a crucial role in City’s campaign. His consistent scoring record has helped his side reach unprecedented heights. However, with strike rival Gabriel Jesus getting his scoring boots back on, it’s time for Aguero to remain on his toes and ensure his starting berth is intact, and the best way to do so is score the goals.
With the title race now in full swing after City’s win over Liverpool, it is now in Aguero’s hands to make sure he helps his side keeps things tight at the top of the table. Manchester City need Aguero in form more than ever and require him to be fit, especially if they want to defend their Premier League crown this season.
Manchester City 3-1 Wolves
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is yet to beat Wolves, who are the only team apart from Celtic that he has failed to get the better of in his managerial career. However, the draw at the beginning of the season against the newcomers showed that Wolves are very much capable of obstructing City’s progress.
But, with City in dominant scoring form, with 16 goals in their last two games, it will be foolish to think they won’t score aplenty again. Wolves come into this game brimming with confidence.
However, with the game being played at the Etihad, there are fewer chances of them making out with any point. Wolves do have the quality to threaten City, and that will undoubtedly give them an opportunity to score. But, the champions are well placed to score many goals and take all three points from this clash.