Manchester City will aim to take another giant step towards Premier League glory when Wolverhampton Wanderers welcome them to Molineux for Wednesday’s fixture. Bruno Lage’s side fought back to draw 2-2 with Chelsea at the weekend, while the table-toppers hit Newcastle United for five without reply. With Chelsea dropping points from winning positions time and time again this season, Wolves were not down and out after Romelu Lukaku’s two-minute brace at Stamford Bridge, as the Blues’ new owners witnessed their side suffer a capitulation in the capital.The champions have no other concerns to worry about in midfield or attack, where Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva could both come back in after enjoying rests at the weekend.
The introduction of livewire Chiquinho sparked a dramatic Wolves fightback in the final few moments, as the 22-year-old found Francisco Trincao to curl home before his pinpoint cross met the head of Conor Coady in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time. Lage’s side were seemingly consigned to a fourth successive league defeat before Coady’s heroic late goal, and that point has just about kept them in contention for a European place as they occupy eighth spot in the rankings – five points behind West Ham United who have played a game more.
A strong end to the season could even see Wolves usurp Manchester United, but Lage’s side must still face City and Liverpool before the final whistle blows on a tumultuous campaign, with a home clash to basement side Norwich City sandwiched in between the two meetings with the title contenders. While Wolves ended a three-game run without a point or goal in West London, Lage’s formerly solid defence has now been breached in six successive Premier League games, and their pattern of winning one then losing one at home may not count for much against the clinical Citizens. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates their first goal on May 8, 2022
The first team to face Manchester City after a European elimination should always prepare themselves for the prospect of a drubbing, and Pep Guardiola’s side followed the script with a merciless showing against Newcastle United to extend their lead at the top of the rankings. Raheem Sterling was on target twice alongside goals from Phil Foden, Rodri and Aymeric Laporte at the Etihad, and with Liverpool failing to get the better of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, Guardiola’s side are inching ever closer to domestic glory. Indeed, City have now opened up a three-point lead at the top of the standings, although Liverpool have the chance to move back to the summit with victory over Aston Villa on Tuesday, and Guardiola hit out at the perceived favouritism towards the Merseyside club over the weekend.
The Catalan’s players must only focus on the task at hand on the field, and they have done so admirably with four successive Premier League wins – scoring 17 goals and conceding just one in that streak – and their unbeaten away run in the top flight now stands at a staggering 16 games, unsurprisingly a new club record. It took a Sterling penalty for City to undo Wolves’ hard work in a 1-0 Etihad victory back in December, with that result representing the champions’ third consecutive win over the Molineux side, and a fourth would go a long way to cementing their status at the top.
Wolves should be able to welcome Daniel Podence back from his ankle problem before the end of the season, but Wednesday’s meeting with the Citizens will likely come too soon for the Portuguese. Maximilian Kilman and Nelson Semedo both remain in the treatment room for the hosts, while Lage should keep the faith with Romain Saiss despite his horror showing at Stamford Bridge at the weekend. Chiquinho is pushing hard for a start after his 20-minute game-changing cameo against Chelsea, but Trincao has also put his name in the hat as Pedro Neto most likely prepares to drop to the bench.
Meanwhile, City boss Guardiola must work around a defensive crisis for the next couple of weeks after announcing that Kyle Walker, John Stones and Ruben Dias will all miss the last three games of the season through various injury problems – the latter was forced off at half time against Newcastle. With Nathan Ake also nursing a sprained ankle, Laporte may be the only fit centre-back at Guardiola’s disposal this week, which most likely means a start for Fernandinho in the heart of the backline as CJ Egan-Riley and Luke Mbete also prepare for the prospect of being thrust into the action.
Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Sa; Boly, Coady, Saiss; Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Ait-Nouri; Trincao, Jimenez
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Fernandinho, Laporte, Zinchenko; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling