Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Match Preview

Free scoring Manchester City meet Wolves for the second time in the space of 72 hours after thrashing the Midlands side 5-2 at Molineux in the Carling Cup.

Roberto Mancini’s side are simply unstoppable at the moment and went five points clear at the Premier League summit after humiliating neighbours United at Old Trafford last Sunday. The Citizens ran riot in their rivals backyard scoring six times and producing a performance that brought new meaning to the word comprehensive before making light work of Mick McCarthy’s men on Wednesday. The combination of David Silva, James Milner, Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero all produced virtuoso performances last week but they should all be wary of being benched with Edin Dzeko, Adam Johnson and Samir Nasri pushing for starts after spending a stint on the sidelines. Dzeko has scored four goals in his last two and is pushing for a place in the starting eleven after being used sparingly in the last couple of games. Mancini has done a marvellous job of keeping his vast squad of millionaires on their toes with his squad rotation policy keeping everyone fresh and alert as they challenge for trophies on four fronts and the Italian no new injuries worries going into the game. City are still unbeaten in the league winning eight of their nine games so far dropping only two points in a 2-2 draw away at Fulham. Their record against Wolves is a good one and they haven’t lost at home against Midlanders in 12 years. The last time they tasted defeat was back in 1999 when both were plying their trade in the old Division One. City lost 1-0 that day with a certain fresh faced Robbie Keane scoring the winner at Maine Road and how things have changed in the 12 years since.

Facing City twice in a matter of days is a daunting task and Mick McCarthy will go into the game knowing his side will have to perform miracles to come away from the Etihad Stadium with anything. Wolves haven’t won a game since beating Fulham 2-0 at Molineux on 21st August picking up only two points in the seven fixtures since then. They halted a run of six consecutive defeats after clawing back a point against Swansea last week with Kevin Doyle and Jamie O’Hara scoring late goals in an entertaining 2-2 draw. McCarthy was criticised by sections of the home faithful for his substitutions last week with some fans blaming him for Wolves’ poor run of form but captain Roger Johnson has insisted that the blame should be placed firmly on the shoulders of the players. Supporters have every right to be afraid though with the club sliding down the table with their strong start being the only reason they’re keeping their head just outside the relegation zone. It’s likely many will write this game off and look to Wigan game next week but fans should dismiss it at their own peril. Last season’s corresponding fixture ended in a narrow 4-3 win for the home side and if Wolves have their game face on we could have another thriller on our hands.

Key Players

David Silva – Everyone was waxing lyrical about the Spaniard after his performance against United last week and it’s not hard to see why. He simply tore the Red Devil’s apart with his razor sharp movement and immaculate passing proving too much for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to handle. Wolves should be wary of giving him too much space at the Etihad this week as he will inflict some serious damage.

Kevin Doyle – The Irishman is key up front for Wanderers with his unselfish running and bustling approach up front key to the way McCarthy’s men play. His determination and strength will be a danger to City’s back line as he will chase every ball put serious pressure on each and every defender. Get a quality ball into the area and Doyle will do all he can to get on the end of it.

Prediction: 4-0

  • Fans of Spanish midfielder David Silva will not be surprised to hear he is top of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s passing league, having completed 285 passes in his opponent’s half this season – one every two minutes 37 seconds – and getting six assists
  • City’s Sergio Aguero is now joint top of the goal scoring table with Wayne Rooney on 9 goals, with Edin Dzeko just behind with 8. Aguero’s goals have come from 27 attempts with 52% on target while Dzeko’s have come from 26 attempts with 69% on target
  • Wolves covered 116.794km in that game, and their second half come back is reflected in the fact they covered significantly more ground in the second half than in the first half (56.548km v 60.246km)
  • Jamie O’Hara has been putting in some great defensives performances for Wolves, winning 92% of 24 tackles attempted, and is also in then the top 5 passers in the Index, having completed 256 passes in his opponents half this season. That performance puts him alongside Man City and Arsenal stars David Silva, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Yaya Toure in the top 5.