Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus gave Man City an opening 3-1 win at Wolves, who briefly provided the visitors with a late scare through Raul Jimenez’s header.
De Bruyne’s postage-stamp penalty inside Rui Patricio’s left-hand post after 20 minutes set City on their way to victory at a ground where they had been beaten last season, following Romain Saiss’ clumsy challenge on the Belgian.
When Phil Foden doubled the advantage from a lovely one-touch move 12 minutes later, it looked like Guardiola’s men would end up cruising to victory in their first Premier League game of the season.
But in the second half, Daniel Podence went close with two moments of quality from the hosts before Jimenez sidefooted wide from 12 yards – but the Mexican was not to be denied, and nodded in from the former’s cross to reduce the deficit.
Wolvea: Patricio (7), Saiss (5), Boly (6), Coady (7), Marcal (n/a), Neves (6), Moutinho (7), Traore (7), Neto (6), Jimenez (7), Podence (7).
Subs: Vinagre (7), Dendoncker (6), Silva (6).
Man City: Ederson (7), Walker (7), Stones (6), Ake (7), Mendy (5), Rodri (7), De Bruyne (9), Fernandinho (7), Foden (7), Jesus (7), Sterling (7).
Subs: Torres (n/a).
Man of the match: Kevin De Bruyne
However that proved the only time the hosts could find the beating of Ederson, with Nuno Espirito Santo’s side unable to recreate their heroics of last season’s last-gasp 3-2 win, as Gabriel Jesus’ late finish after De Bruyne won the ball back on the edge of the penalty area ensured a good evening’s work for the visitors (90+5).
Wolves lack bite as City ride pressure for victory
In the absence of Aymeric Laporte, there were plenty of eyes on City new boy Nathan Ake at the heart of the visiting defence, but he had little to do in the opening 45 minutes as the visitors found themselves in full control.
That said, they did not put Patricio under any real pressure until they were awarded a 20th-minute penalty after Saiss slid in on De Bruyne in the area, allowing the Belgian to dust himself down and beat the goalkeeper from 12 yards, despite his best efforts.
The same could be said of the 12 minutes which followed before their second goal, which came in the style with which Guardiola’s sides have made their name. Started and finished by Foden, four touches between Jesus, De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling cut through the Wolves backline, and the England winger’s low ball across the box gave his young team-mate a simple finish to double the lead.
Wolves made one change from their opening-day win at Sheffield United, with Ruben Neves replacing Leander Dendoncker in midfield.
Manchester City, with Aymeric Laporte unfit, gave a first start to summer signing Nathan Ake, while new boy Ferran Torres was named on the bench.
De Bruyne could have put the game beyond doubt when he skipped through and pulled a good near-post save from Patricio before the break, but City’s dominance at the half-time whistle gave little inclination of the Wolves response which would follow.
The visitors would carve out the opening chance of the second period, with a typically stunning De Bruyne pass setting Jesus free before he shot straight at Patricio from just inside the box, but from there it was one-way traffic for much of the half.
First Benjamin Mendy’s timid defending allowed Adama Traore time to pick out Podence in the middle, with the Portuguese’s deft swivel and shot missing the near post by a foot at most.
He came similarly close moments later from Joao Moutinho’s lofted ball, looking to catch Ederson off his line but lifting the ball narrowly over the crossbar from the edge of the area.
When Jimenez was next to line up an effort from a Pedro Neto cross, given the Mexican’s strike rate few would have expected him to sidefoot well wide when well-placed, but he would not be denied with 12 minutes to go as he turned in Podence’s excellent cross to bring Wolves back within a goal.
From there, though, City showed defensive solidity they often lacked as they were toppled as Premier League champions last season, denying Wolves another opportunity before sealing victory in the last minute of added time when De Bruyne’s husseling helped the ball fall to Jesus in the box, and his deflected effort beat Patricio at his near post.
What the managers said…
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo: “The first half we didn’t start very well. Man City moved the ball well and created a lot of problems for us.
“We conceded the penalty and from then on it become much harder. In the second half we improved. We created a lot of moments and chances we could score from. We knew one moment could change everything. Very good second half for the team.
“We always have to give credit to our opponents because of the talent and the quality they have, but we should do better.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: “It was a good performance. We know how difficult it is. The game was good.
“The plan is always to try and start fast. Sometimes the opening is good and sometimes we need more time to get our best conditions but the start was good.
“The goal and in the second half – he [Phil Foden] played incredibly well. We are tired in our legs but in general we did a good game.
“The period that we are in and the situation that we had in these last two weeks, I expect that in some moments we suffer, but in general we controlled the game.”
Man of the match – Kevin De Bruyne
🥇Man of the Match, Kevin De Bruyne
1 goal (penalty)
4 shots on target*
6 chances created*
(* Most in match) pic.twitter.com/8ekNDn5xZc
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) September 21, 2020
De Bruyne was at his typical sparkling best against Wolves with a goal he made himself, an assist and a hand in a third for Manchester City.
If his range of passing was not enough, the Belgian showed not only his creativity by creating more chances (six) than anyone else, he also committed more tackles (five) in a performance of real quality.
- Wolves have lost two of their last four Premier League home games (W2), as many defeats as they suffered in their previous 13 at Molineux (W6 D5).
- In 2020, Manchester City have won more penalties than any other side in the Premier League (8, scoring four).
- Since the start of last season, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne has been directly involved in more Premier League goals (35 – 14 goals, 21 assists) than any other player, three ahead of Mohamed Salah who is second (32).
- Phil Foden has been directly involved in 22 goals in 33 starts for Manchester City in all competitions (12 goals, 10 assists).
- Since the restart in June, Raheem Sterling has had a hand in 13 goals in 14 appearances for Manchester City (11 goals, 2 assists), with only Pierre-Emerick Abameyang registering more in that time (14).
Live Renault Super Sunday
Wolves visit West Ham at the London Stadium next up on Sunday; Kick-off at 7pm.
Manchester City are at home to Bournemouth in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Thursday; Kick-off at 7.45pm, with their next Premier League match at home to Leicester this Super Sunday live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; Kick-off at 4.30pm.
Source : Sky Sports