Wolves 1 (Jimenez 78) Man City 3 (De Bruyne 20, Foden 32, Jesus 90)
Wolves suffered defeat on Molineux’s first Premier League outing of the campaign, despite a much-improved second-half which saw Raul Jimenez bag his second goal of the campaign in vain. In truth, the hosts were made to pay for a out of character first-half, which Manchester City exploited in deadly fashion.
Kevin De Bruyne’s penalty, following a rash Romain Saiss challenge, set the visitors on their way and Pep Guardiola’s side cut their hosts open for the second, as Raheem Sterling teed up Phil Foden to double their lead.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men rallied after the break and their goal had been coming. After a series of close calls, Daniel Podence brilliantly set up Jimenez to head home, but in the dying embers of the game, City put the game beyond doubt as Gabriel Jesus’ effort deflected into the Wolves net.
Molineux was a very different place to the last time Manchester City were in town, but Wolves’ task was to add the impetus themselves, without the influence of a raucous atmosphere. However, their task was made tougher after just six minutes, as Marcal’s first taste of home soil was cut short, with the Brazilian being withdrawn through injury and Ruben Vinagre taking his place.
Inevitably, it was Guardiola’s side dictating much of the early play, putting the feelers out for an early goal, with Rui Patricio keeping out De Bruyne’s free-kick. However, it was last season’s PFA Player of the Year who’d unlock Wolves before 20 minutes were out.
The Belgian collected the ball on the left-side of the area, before being scythed down by Saiss. Wolves had no complaints as Andre Marriner pointed to the spot, allowing De Bruyne’s well-struck penalty to given City the lead, but the hosts will have been disappointed by the way they’d conceded their first goal of the season.
In truth, Wolves struggled to get any sort of stranglehold on proceedings during the opening half-hour, with City dominating the ball and the chances - Sterling hitting the next one at Patricio with his left foot.
However, the goalkeeper could do little about the second goal, as Adama Traore gave possession away cheaply and City cut Wolves apart. Quick interchange between City’s attacking firepower saw De Bruyne slip in Sterling, who intelligently pulled back for Foden to roll into an empty net for 2-0.
When Traore next gave the ball away, fortunately Wolves weren’t punished so severely. Again, the magnificent De Bruyne was involved, feeding Foden, but the youngster’s curling effort didn’t bend in time to trouble Patricio on that occasion.
With five minutes to go before the break, Wolves did create their first sight of goal, as a short corner set up Traore to swing in for Jimenez, but the unmarked Mexican couldn’t keep his header down. Their disappointment was almost compounded minutes later as Jesus flicked De Bruyne clean through late in the half, but Patricio raced off his line to save impressively with his shoulder.
Half-time: Wolves 0 Man City 2
With Nuno's words still ringing in their ears, Wolves did try to force the issue after the break, but remained in danger on the counter attack by City’s quality, which was illustrated when Jesus stung the palms of Patricio.
Wolves’ increasing influence on the game was coming through a more advanced Traore and his cut-back found Podence inside the area, but Wolves’ number 10 could only fire into the sanction on the turn. Soon after it was the turn of Pedro Neto down the right, he found Ruben Neves this time, but the midfielder couldn’t find the desired connection and Kyle Walker cleared from near the line.
Wolves’ transformation was remarkable, but they still couldn’t find their killer instinct. First, Joao Moutinho playing in Podence, whose dinked effort fell on the roof of the net. Then, after more Traore damage down the right, Jimenez found space inside the box, but steered his effort off target. Wolves were knocking on the door.
With still no clear route back into the game, Nuno changed his pack with a little over ten minutes remaining, introducing Leander Dendoncker and Fabio Silva for Moutinho and Neto. And, although the duo were not involved, Wolves did pull themselves back into contention seconds later, as Podence’s nutmeg on De Bruyne and clipped cross was met by a thumping Jimenez header.
Unfortunately, no further chances would follow for the hosts and it was City who had the final say as De Bruyne won possession back for City and Jesus’ effort deflected off Conor Coady and beyond Patricio for 3-1.
Full-time: Wolves 1 Man City 3
Wolves: Patricio, Traore, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Marcal (Vinagre 8), Neves, Moutinho (Dendoncker 77), Neto (Silva 77), Podence, Jimenez.
Unused subs: Ruddy, Kilman, Buur, Vitinha.
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Ake, Mendy, Fernandinho, Rodri, De Bruyne, Foden, Sterling (Torres 81), Jesus.
Unused subs: Steffen, Otamendi, Delap, Doyle, Bernabe, Mahrez.