Manchester City will aim to jump to the top of the Premier League table when they take on Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux on Saturday.

The Premier League is resuming this weekend after the postponement of last week’s fixtures due to Queen Elizabeth’s demise. The action on Saturday will begin with the lunch-time kick-off at the Molineux, where Wolverhampton Wanderers will play hosts to Manchester City.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have shown positive signs in the early stages of the 2022/23 season despite only accumulating six points in six games thus far. The results have picked up in the last three outings, with Wolves currently on an unbeaten run that has lifted them out of the relegation zone in the wake of the 1-0 win over Southampton two weeks ago.

On the other hand, the Manchester City juggernaut continues to roll on, even though they are not perched atop the Premier League table. Nonetheless, the Citizens are one of only two teams yet to face defeat in the top flight, although they have dropped points against Newcastle United and Aston Villa. But after back-to-back wins in the UEFA Champions League, Pep Guardiola’s men will be charged this weekend.

The corresponding fixture last season was a riot as Manchester City cruised to a 5-1 win over Wolves, with Kevin De Bruyne finding the back of the net four times. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.

Team News & Tactics

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Bruno Lage has a few pressing injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Manchester City. On Saturday, the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager might be bereft of the services of as many as four first-team players.

The most notable absentee for Wolves is summer singing Sasa Kalajdzic, with the Austrian striker recovering from a knee injury. The other player set to spend several months on the sidelines is Chiquinho (knee), while there are question marks around the fitness of Raul Jimenez (groin) and Diego Costa (match fitness).

With Jimenez’s availability being doubtful, Hwang Hee-chan has a chance to spearhead the Wolverhampton Wanderers attack against Manchester City. Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto will likely start as the two wide attackers, with Goncalo Guedes being a backup option on the bench.

Midfield will be Wolves’ strength, with Matheus Nunes, Ruben Neves, and Joao Moutinho set to combine in a solid trifecta in the middle of the park. The trio will look to negate the influence of Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, and Bernardo Silva.

The defensive unit will have the unenviable task of keeping Erling Haaland quiet, with Nathan Collins and Max Kilman pairing up at the heart of Wolves’ defence. Jonny Otto and Rayan Ait-Nouri will be the two full-backs, with Jose Sa picking himself between the sticks.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Sa; Jonny, Kilman, Collins, Ait-Nouri; Nunes, Neves, Moutinho; Neto, Hwang, Podence

Manchester City

Unlike his counterpart in the Wolverhampton Wanderers dugout, Pep Guardiola barely has any issues to contend with ahead of the trip to the Molineux. The Manchester City manager might be without two first-team players on Saturday.

Aymeric Laporte has resumed training after recovering from a knee injury, but the game against Wolves has come too soon for him. Meanwhile, Kyle Walkers is recovering from a knock and might not feature this weekend for Manchester City even if he trains on Friday.

With Walker’s availability being doubtful, John Stones will likely start as the right-back, with Joao Cancelo picking himself on the opposite flank. Ruben Dias is an automatic selection at the heart of the Manchester City defence. Manuel Akanji will likely get the nod ahead of Nathan Ake as the Portuguese international’s partner.

Ilkay Gundogan has come into his own since becoming the Manchester City captain. And the German international will line up alongside Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri in the middle of the park, leaving Kalvin Phillips on the bench.

Erling Haaland has been in the form of his life in his first month as a Manchester City player and will spearhead the offensive unit against Wolves. Phil Foden has been in fine form and should start on the left flank, with Bernardo Silva expected to take his spot on the right wing ahead of Riyad Mahrez.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Stones, Akanji, Dias, Cancelo; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Silva, Haaland, Foden

Key Stats

  • Three of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ four Premier League wins over Manchester City have come in home games, with Wolves beating the Premier League champions at the Molineux in 2003/04, 2010/11 and 2019/20. After losing both league meetings with Wolves in 2019/20, the Citizens have won each of their last four against them by an aggregate score of 13-3.
  • Wolves earned their first win in 13 Premier League games against Southampton last time out. They are looking to win back-to-back home league games for the first time since November 2021.
  • Wolves have not scored in the second half in any of their last seven Premier League games – it is their longest such run in the competition. The last team to have a longer streak were Southampton between October and December last season (8).
  • Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 21 Premier League away games (W15 D6) since a 1-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur in their opening game last season. However, their most recent two matches on the road have finished level, with the Citizens not going three without a win on the road since July 2020.
  • Against no other team has Kevin De Bruyne scored more Premier League goals than he has against Wolves (5), with four of those strikes coming in a 5-1 win in this exact fixture last season.

Player to Watch

Phil Foden

Embed from Getty Images

It has been the Erling Haaland show at Manchester City thus far in the 2022/23 season. But there is another player who has been going from strength to strength in the first month of the campaign – Phil Foden.

The English international has established himself as a pivotal figure for Manchester City, with his performances leaving Pep Guardiola impressed. Foden is forging a remarkable partnership with Haaland in the final third and will look to continue his superb run on Saturday to help his team leapfrog Arsenal to the top spot in the Premier League standings.

Prediction

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Manchester City

The match on Saturday will feature a free-scoring team against a side that struggles to find the back of the net frequently. No unit has scored fewer Premier League goals than Wolves thus far this season (3), while they also have the worst shot conversion rate this term (4%). But Bruno Lage’s charges have conceded the fewest goals so far (4), conceding just 6% of their shots faced.

So that should give Lage cause for optimism against a formidable team like Manchester City. But the visitors will be too strong for Wolves, with Erling Haaland unstoppable at the moment. The Norwegian striker should find the back of the net again on Saturday, guiding Manchester City to a 2-0 win.

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