A lot went on Thursday evening at the Etihad. Manchester City completed a scintillating second-half comeback to defeat Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 marking the 5th consecutive match in which City have trailed by 2 goals and still managed to collect points. Afterward, Pep Guardiola called the players and the home crowd for complacency. Pep cited desire as the deciding factor in which players got the start against Spurs; with the players he selected, he chose to set them up in a 4-4-2.
Against Wolverhampton Wanderers, I am leaning toward Pep going back to his preferred one-striker 4-4-3 setup. With his comments about the lack of players coming to the defence of Rico Lewis after he had been harshly fouled on several occasions, I expect to see City’s two most fiery competitors restored to the lineup. Despite some shaky moments at mid-week, we will once again start Ederson Santana de Moraes, (that is what I was yelling at my TV on Thursday), in goal.
Rico Lewis is City’s first-choice right back. There can be no doubt. I know it can be scary to put that kind of responsibility on an eighteen-year-old, but at no point has he seemed the slightest bit bothered by the level against which he is playing. John Stones has come back and been an absolute must-start centre back. We are going to pair him with the now-fit Rúben Dias. Dias and Stones have been very effective as a pair, and the Portuguese defender is not shy to confront an opponent in defence of his teammates. Nathan Aké is City’s rock this season and starts on the left again.
Playing Julian Alvarez in behind Erling Haaland against Spurs, Guardiola deployed Rodri and İlkay Gündoğan as a double pivot, with Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish as the wide players. This time we’ll go back to a more traditional Pep setup. Rodri in the back and Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva pressing the 18-yard box. Silva starts as much for his service to the attack as for his willingness to get in somebody’s face.
The attack will feature a lone striker in the middle and two wide players. We will start Haaland, Mahrez, and Grealish. All three played very well against Tottenham in the second half. Erling got the equalizing goal, while Mahrez bagged two scores of his own and set up two more.
Kevin De Bruyne
The players selected against Wolves will have no doubt about what the manager is looking for. If they are keen to keep their place in the XI, they’ll want to show Pep that don’t lack guts.
What’s your predicted lineup? Let’s hear it in the comments.