Everything you need to know - Wolves vs Manchester City (Premier League)
After the shortest of pre-seasons and less than a fortnight away from October, Pep Guardiola’s fifth and potential final season at Manchester City begins in the Midlands on Monday night against a Wolves side that has caused the boss numerous headaches in recent seasons.
A rather anti-climatic summer transfer window has seen City add just two new members to the squad in Ferran Torres and Nathan Aké. The latter joining from relegated Bournemouth for around £40 million and Ferran Torres, following in the footsteps of his idol David Silva in joining City from Valencia and taking on number 21. The transfer window is still open for another couple of weeks, with City still thought to be in the market for a right-sided centre-back.
Wolves have also recruited, mostly from the manager’s native country of Portugal with a big money move Fabio Silva the stand out summer deal. The club did however lose Matt Doherty to Spurs and are on the brink of losing Diogo Jota to Liverpool.
If the past two seasons meetings are anything to go by then Manchester City could be in a for a difficult opening match, something they are not accustomed to, with City having won their first game of a season, every year for the past decade.
Ahead of this highly anticipated, first fixture of the 2020/21 campaign for Manchester City, here is everything you need to know…
Despite having scored seven times on the opening game of a City season, Sergio Agüero will be unable to add to that impressive record after Pep Guardiola announced that the striker wouldn’t be fit for up to two months. The Catalan boss also ruled out on Aymeric Laporte, who only returned to training this week having recently tested positive for Coronavirus.
Riyad Mahrez, who also recently tested positive for the virus is however available for Manchester City on Monday evening, as is Phil Foden, despite his recent antics on England duty with teammate Mason Greenwood.
Both Nathan Aké and Ferran Torres are in line to potentially make their club debuts, with Aké also due to face his former club Bournemouth on Thursday, when City go in search of a fourth straight Carabao Cup on the south-coast.
Wolves’ only known injury concern ahead of this fixture is that of full-back Jonny, after he suffered an ACL injury in their Europa League victory over Olympiacos in August. Wolves may also be without Diogo Jota, after numerous outlets reported that Liverpool have agreed a £45 million fee with Wolves for the striker.
Head To Head:
It will be the 122nd meeting overall and the 8th time Manchester City have began a campaign against Wolves, with the Molineux club also having been responsible for City’s heaviest ever opening day loss (8-1) in 1962. City have won and lost 48 times against Wolves and drawn a total of 25 times. They also have a combined goal difference of ZERO, having scored and conceded 230 goals across the past 121 fixtures.
City had been on a seven game unbeaten run against Wolves until last season, where Wolves unexpectedly and successfully completed the league double over the Blues. The first defeat was a frustrating 2-0 loss at the Etihad in October, while the second came in late December where Wolves pulled off a stunning second half comeback as they came from 2-0 down to come out 3-2 winners.
Manchester City haven’t lost on three straight occasions to Wolves this century, although haven’t won at Molinuex since a 2-0 win in the title winning season of 2012, where Samir Nasri and Sergio Agüero scored the goals in what was Pablo Zabaleta’s 150th appearance for the club.
Manchester City haven’t kicked a ball competitively since the dismal defeat to Lyon in the Champions League quarter-finals just over a month ago. The Blues are though in good form in the league, with five straight wins in the backend of last season, scoring 21 goals in that time. Since the resumption of professional football in June, City have won eight of the 10 league matches that they have played, with the exceptions being losses to Chelsea and Southampton.
Wolves crashed out of the Carabao Cup at the second round stage after suffering a late loss to Stoke City on Thursday night. The Wanderers did at least get their league campaign off on a positive note, with two goals within in the first six minutes of their season opener against Sheffield United last weekend - enough for the three points.
Andre Marriner will take charge of his first game of the season on Monday night. Marriner, who has taken charge of City three times this calendar year, most recently the 5-0 victory over Burnley and 1-0 loss to Southampton post restart, will be joined by assistant referees Scott Ledger and Simon Long, as well as fourth official Jon Moss. Peter Bankes (VAR) and Timothy Wood (AVAR) will be in charge of the recently reformed VAR, where, as per last weekend, the on-field referee is expected to make more use of the pitch-side monitor.
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