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Match Recap: Manchester City Tame The Wolves

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Blues Win Opening Match - But Not Without A Scare

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Manchester City started their title assault in a winning style after a strong Wolves side threatened to once again come back from 2-0 down at Molyneux.

Goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden gave City the lead in the first half, but a bullet header by Raul Jiminez threatened to spoil the blues opening day party, until Gabriel Jesus made the game safe in the final minute.

The blues needed to get off to a good start, after their first game was delayed due to their involvement in the Champions League. That gave their rivals Liverpool, Arsenal and Leicester, as well as a resurgent looking Everton side an opportunity to put six points between them and the blues, an opportunity all of them took.

New signing Nathan Ake started the match alongside the recalled john Stones, meaning captain Fernandinho could play in his more familiar role in the centre of midfield, alongside Rodri, Phil Foden and Kevin de Bruyne, while Raheem Sterling started up front with Gabriel Jesus.

City started the match brightly and were virtually camped inside the Wolves half for the first ten minutes of the match, and it was the Belgian maestro who almost opened the scoring. City won a free kick just outside the area and de Bruyne’s shot initially had the keeper moving to his right, before readjusting to palm the ball away.

City looked sharp and hungry, and when Player of the Year de Bruyne was brought down by a sliding challenge by Roman Saiss on 16 minutes, there was only one decision for the referee to make as he pointed to the spot. De Bruyne dusted himself off and buried the spot-kick to send City 1-0 up.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

The blues continued to press and keep Wolves in their own half, however they were well aware of the threat Adama Traore posed and the Wolves man created a half chance for the home side, but the City defence stood firm and cleared the ball.

Sterling looked like a player determined to prove something this season and his powerful shot was gratefully handled by the keeper to keep the score down. It wouldn’t last long.

Two minutes later, de Bruyne carved the home defence open to release Sterling, and the winger pulled the ball back brilliantly to the penalty spot for Foden to sidefoot home. It was the same position as City were in last season, and that will have played on the minds of the players and Guardiola, who said he needs to ‘deserve a new deal’ ahead of the match.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Wolves had what could constitute their first real chance when Traore’s cross was met by the head of the dangerous Raul Jiminez, but the Mexican’s header went thankfully over the bar.

De Bruyne had a golden chance to make it 3-0 on 43 minutes when Sterling nodded Jesus’ cross into the Belgian’s path, but the keeper was just equal to it, deflecting de Bruyne’s shot away for a corner with his shoulder. The corner came to nothing, but with the ball out on the right, Rodri fired in a wicked cross that swerved just wide of the Wolves goal.

That would have been the icing on the cake, but as it stood, the blues went into the interval two goals to the good.

City started the second half in much the same vein as the first, with Kyle Walker charging forward in the first few moments, before Foden and de Bruyne also found some space around the Wolves penalty area.

Jesus had a chance to make the game all but safe on 52 minutes, but the keeper was equal to his powerful shot. This came after a short period of pressure form Wolves, which intensified after that Jesus chance.

On 53 minutes Wolves gave City a scare as Daniel Podence spun and hit a shot wide, leaving City hearts in their mouths as it looked for a moment like it had gone in.

Walker was then forced to clear off the line as Wolves pushed for the goal that would drag them back into the match. Mendy was skinned on the left by Neto and Ruben Vinegre was free to try and sidefoot home.

The game opened up and Wolves had another chance on 58 minutes, but thankfully for the blues, Podence lifted his shot over Ederson and the bar. Jimenez had another chance shortly after but screwed his shot wide when it would have been easier to score.

Jesus finally got his goal on 70 minutes, but it was disallowed as the Brazilian was so far offside, he was almost back in Manchester. City will have wished the goal had counted as Wolves perseverance paid off eight minutes later. Podence nutmegged de Bruyne on the City left, before delivering a pinpoint cross for Jiminez to thump home a header, reducing the deficit and giving City fans a feeling of de ja vu.

Ferran Torres entered the fray for his City debut on 80 minutes, replacing Sterling, but it was Wolves who pressed for the next goal, with Boly heading over from a needlessly conceded free kick. The home side won a corner on 88 minutes, but City cleared and broke away, looking for a third killer goal that would seal the game.

Four minutes of time, or pain in the eyes of City fans, were added on and City tried to just camp out in the Wolves half, hoping to keep the ball away from their own box for as long as possible.

With 30 seconds of added time remaining, Jesus thought he’d finished it with a strong shot that the keeper parried wide for a corner. The blues held the ball in the Wolves half, but eventually, Jesus broke in the Wolves box and his shot took a deflection of the defender and bounced past the keeper to make it 3-1 and secure the points.

It was a hard-fought second half, and overall, City deserved the three points, and a first win at Wolves since the home side returned to the Premier League.

Final Score: Wolves 1-3 Manchester City