Manchester City made it 21 straight wins, but had to overcome a battling Wolves side, who seemed determined to end the winning streak.
A first half own goal by Leander Dendoncker put City on the road to victory but, after Aymeric Laporte had a goal ruled out for offside, Wolves threatened to spoil the party. Conor Coady headed Wolves level with the visitors first, and only shot on target in the 61st minute, but a brace from Gabriel Jesus sandwiched a strike from Riyad Mahrez to allow blues fans to breathe normally and enjoy a 15 point lead over neighbours United.
Much has been made of City’s remarkable run, which has now seen them win every game this year and has put the draw at home to West Brom, the last time City failed to win, firmly in the rear view mirror. Questions have been asked as to how long they could possibly sustain their winning streak, particularly since February saw City travel to Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal, as well as welcoming Spurs, and few would have anticipated the run extending into March.
But City have exceeded all expectations, defeating the aforementioned teams by a combined score of 11-3, and they also manage to find a way past a tough and resilient West Ham side, when a draw was looking the most likely outcome.
And it was much the same against Wolves on Tuesday night, when the visitors, knowing City would have the lions share of possession. Wolves set up to frustrate the blues, staying tight to their man and trying to hit City on the counter-attack, and for a while, even after the opening goal, it work well for the Midlands outfit.
City still found the space behind the Wolves defence, Kevin de Bruyne playing in Jesus, who’s shot was blocked by the impressive Rui Patricio, another keeper who looked set to have a blinder on the hallowed Etihad turf.
But the Portuguese keeper could do nothing to prevent City’s opening goal in the 15th minute. Rodri’s superb 40 yard pass found Mahrez, who took a took a touch before crossing into the six yard box where Raheem Sterling was waiting. However, the England man didn’t get a chance to poke home as Dendoncker stuck a foot out and diverted the ball into the goal.
City continued to flood forward and looked like they would soon overwhelm the visitors, and the blues looked to have gone 2-0 up just before half-time when Laporte tapped home, however a VAR check showed he was onside when the initial cross came over, but his arm had strayed offside as Bernardo Silva flicked the ball on. Silva was then denied by Patricio, who produced a brilliant save to keep out his compatriot’s header in the last seconds of the half.
The second half began in much the same fashion, and Patricio was again called into action to deny de Bruyne. The keeper would also deny Sterling and Jesus as it looked like being one of those nights again. That feeling was compounded when Coady brought the visitors level. The Wolves captain got in between two City defenders to meet a free kick and guide his header beyond the despairing dive of Ederson, giving Wolves, and the rest of the Premier League, the belief that they could be the ones to end City’s winning run.
And they looked like they could take something more in a spell that could have produced a further goal. Adama Traore, the hero for Wolves at the Etihad last season, fired over the bar when he should have done better and blues fans would have been forgiven for thinking the run was coming to an end.
But, as against West Ham, City found a way past a stubborn defence. Kyle Walker was released down the right and his cross into the box towards Sterling was cut out by the defence, but the rebound fell kindly to Jesus who smashed home from the edge of the six-yard box. Wolves appealed for offside against Sterling in the build-up, but their appeals fell on deaf ears.
The goal seemed to calm City’s sense of urgency and they regained their usual composure on the ball, and with Wolves tiring under the pressure of relentless City attacks, a third killer goal seemed inevitable. And for blues fans, the it was better late than never.
Wolves tried to play it out from defence, but Rodri won it back with a good challenge and passed to substitute Ilkay Gundogan. He laid the ball off to Sterling who tried to go past his marker, but the ball deflected to Mahrez in space, who curled a low shot beyond Patricio to send City 3-1 up and break Wolves hearts.
And there was time for another in the final minute of injury time. Jesus charged forward and set up Gundogan, who’s shot was parried by the keeper into the path of Jesus, who hammered home number four. VAR checked and deemed the Brazilian onside to complete the rout.
The scoreline may have been harsh on Wolves, but thoroughly deserved for the blues as the machine rolls on, and have now moved to within 7 wins of claiming the league title, less if results continue to go our way.
Final Score: Manchester City 4-1 Wolves