Manchester City got their Premier League campaign off to the perfect start as they edged past Wolves 3-1 at Molineux on Monday evening.
The visitors had a wonderful opening period in the Black Country with a Kevin De Bruyne penalty and a cool finish from Phil Foden putting them into control. Wolves improved after the break though and Raul Jimenez gave them hope with a clinical header with just under 15 minutes remaining. City topped the victory in the final stages, with Gabriel Jesus getting in on the act via a deflected effort from close range.
Here are five things we learnt from Molineux:
Foden silencing the doubters
After hitting the headlines for breaking coronavirus guidelines with the English national side, there was understandably some attention surrounding Foden. With David Silva having departed the Etihad Stadium, the youngster started the game at Molineux, putting in a brilliant performance on the right side of midfield.
He showed a clever touch and good awareness in forward positions, topping his performance with a well-taken goal as he coolly converted Raheem Sterling’s cross.
For City’s brilliance through the majority of the game, they could very easily have dropped two points in the second period with Wolves having plenty of chances. Opportunities fell to a number of players throughout the second period including Ruben Neves, Daniel Podence and Jimenez but all of them failed to convert. They did eventually get a foothold into the game through Jimenez but it proved too little too late.
Head Coach Nuno Espirito Santo should be encouraged that his side were able to create some fantastic openings but also disappointed that none of them were taken advantage of until late on. Meanwhile, the ease of which the hosts find their way through the Citizens’ backline might well concern Pep Guardiola even at this early stage of the campaign.
Traore much more effective in the final third
It might not be all too surprising but one of the main catalysts for Wolves’ improvement in the match was the irrepressible Adama Traore. The Spanish winger begun the game at right wing-back, with normal first-choice Matt Doherty having departed for Tottenham Hotspur, and he was pretty ineffective.
Following half-time however, Traore was pushed further forwards, using his great skill and power to trouble the Manchester City defence. He managed to put in a few dangerous crosses and looked far more convincing. With Nelson Semedo reportedly set to join the club from Barcelona, it seems that Nuno is not set to play arguably his most threatening winger in defence for too long.
De Bruyne in the hunt for POTY again?
The PFA Player of the Year for the 2019/20 campaign, Belgian maestro Kevin De Bruyne picked up exactly where he left off Monday. The midfielder was instrumental in City taking the lead, drawing in a rash challenge from Romain Saiss and then converting the resultant penalty.
He continued to pull the strings from midfield after that though with a number of sumptuous passes, continuing to display his wonderful vision and creativity. He is surely one of the favourites to win the Player of the Year award again this season at odds of 5/1 with Betfair.
No cobwebs for City
Having been the final side in the Premier League to take to the pitch, it might well have been difficult for City to get into the swing of things. That was not the case however as they put in a stunning first-half showing.
In comparison to their near neighbours Manchester who fell to a poor defeat to Crystal Palace, Guardiola’s men did not show any signs of rustiness, an ominous sight for the rest of the Premier League.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Patricio (7); Coady (6), Boly (6), Saiss (5); Traore (6), Moutinho (6) (Dendoncker (N/A), 78′), Neves (6), Marcal (N/A) (Vinagre (6), 8′); Neto (6) (Silva (N/A), 78′), Podence (6), Jimenez (7).
Manchester City: Ederson (); Mendy (), Ake (), Stones (), Walker (); Fernandinho (), Rodri (), De Bruyne (); Sterling (6) (Torres (N/A), 81′), Foden (), Jesus ().
Goals: De Bruyne (PEN 20′), Foden (32′), Jimenez (78′), Jesus (90+5′)
Referee: Andre Marriner
Yellow Cards: Jesus (35′), Mendy (35′), Rodri (86′)
Red Cards: N/A
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