Wolverhampton Wanderers host Manchester City in their first home match of the 2020/21 Premier League season on Monday evening.
Nuno Espírito Santo’s side defeated City home and away in the league last season. In fact, victory for Wolves on Monday would see them become the first club to win three matches in a row against a team managed by Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City – having had their opening game against Aston Villa postponed due to their European exploits – begin the season at a ground they haven’t tasted victory at since 2012. In the final year of Guardiola’s current contract at the club, City have been dealt a treacherous opening fixture in their quest to overhaul the 18-point chasm Liverpool finished with last season.
When Is Kick Off? Monday 21 September
What Time Is Kick Off? 20:15 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Molineux Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports Premier League (UK), NBC (US)
Referee? Andre Marriner
Manchester City will be without their talismanic centre-forward Sergio Agüero after Guardiola warned the Argentine striker may miss the first two months of the campaign.
Bernardo Silva is a doubt with a thigh injury but Riyad Mahrez is available after recovering from a bout of coronavirus. Aymeric Laporte also tested positive for COVID-19 and is unlikely to feature in Monday’s match.
Wolves: Patrício; Boly, Coady, Saïss; Traoré, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Marçal; Podence, Jiménez
Man City: Ederson; Walker, García, Aké, Mendy; Rodri, De Bruyne, Foden; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling
Wolves – perhaps hampered by Europa League qualifying – began the 2019/20 campaign slowly (not recording a league win until the seventh attempt) and started most matches in the same sluggish fashion. However, having scored just two goals in the opening 15 minutes across the entirety of the previous league season, Wolves found the net twice inside six minutes against Sheffield United last Monday.
In a slightly tweaked 3-5-2 – with Pedro Neto shifted between midfield and the forward line – Wolves swept aside the Blades in commanding fashion. Although, they followed up that win with a 1-0 loss at home to Championship side Stoke City in their midweek Carabao Cup clash.
Manchester City are yet to begin the current season but recorded an aggregate of scoreline of 21-1 from their final five Premier League fixtures last July. However, the campaign concluded with a bitter Champions League exit to French side Lyon after Guardiola’s tactical tweaks blunted his own team rather than the opposition.
Here’s how each side has fared in their previous five outings.
Wolves 0-1 Stoke City (17/9)
Sheffield United 0-2 Wolves (14/9)
Wolves 0-1 Sevilla (11/8)
Wolves 1-0 Olympiacos (6/8)
Chelsea 2-0 Wolves (26/7)
Man City 1-3 Lyon (15/8)
Man City 2-1 Real Madrid (7/8)
Man City 5-0 Norwich City (26/7)
Watford 0-4 Man City (21/7)
Arsenal 2-0 Man City (18/7)
After Nuno tethered his immediate future to Wolves with a new three-year deal, the Portuguese boss spoke of a ‘new cycle’ regardless of what they’ve done before. However, he may be best served dipping back into his book of tricks given the myriad of difficulties his side have posed Monday’s opponents in the past.
Content at sitting back and soaking up pressure, four of Wolves’ last five goals against City have come in the final ten minutes of the contest.
Guardiola’s side have proven to be susceptible to Wolves’ threats at the best of times and will certainly be in for a stern test in their first competitive fixture for more than a month.
Prediction: Wolves 2-1 Man City