Wolves vs Manchester City | Monday 21st September 2020, 20:15 | Sky Sports
Manchester City travel to Wolves in the first instalment of their 2020/21 season whilst also looking to avenge the two defeats that their opponents inflicted on them last season.
Although Nuno Espirito Santo’s men upset the odds early on in the campaign when recording a 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium, the result at Molineux several months later perhaps wasn’t that unexpected. City struggled to deal with the physicality that Wolves had to offer on both occasions and conceded twice in quick succession in each fixture, as they did fairy routinely when conceding last season to their ultimate title demise.
It’s been a summer of new arrivals for both these clubs but especially Wolves.
Nelson Semedo looks set to sign from Barcelona to fill the void left at right wing-back by Matt Doherty’s departure and he is joined by Fabio Silva, the wonderkid striker signed from Porto and the experienced Marcal who gives more depth on the left side of the pitch. Semedo’s signing will allow Adama Traore to play further forward which will make many opposition teams wince at the prospect.
Diogo Jota leaving for Liverpool is a sign of the progress that Wolves have made as a club since the depths of League One but it’s a blow nonetheless and Santo will be hoping that Wolves’ other forward players can combine just as well with the lethal Raul Jiminez as Jota has over the past couple of seasons.
Manchester City’s transfer business has mainly focused on defensive additions, hardly a surprise given how easy they were to score against last season but Nathan Ake may take time to take the step up so, as per usual, much relies on the fitness of Aymeric Laporte for the ability of the team to keep clean sheets.
I think this could be a tight affair with Wolves having the advantage of already playing their league opener as well as a midweek cup game (albeit with plenty of changes), so a slow burner could be on the cards. The second half to be the highest scoring here was an angle I was looking at given those thoughts and that Wolves turned on the gas so regularly after the break last season, but the odds – less than even money in some places – are about right in my view.
I’ll instead focus on City getting stuck into their opponents. During the two head-to-heads in 2019/20, City conceded double figure in terms of fouls both times in their efforts to stop Traore and co from running at them, above their regular averages for the season as a whole. It earned them six yellows and a red across the two matches but with a relatively more lenient referee in Andre Marriner in charge on Monday night, I’ll stick with fouls alone.
City under Guardiola love a tactical foul against this type of opposition who have the pace and power to counter attack well so I’ll have dabble on Over 9.5 City Fouls at evens with VirginBet. With Traore set to play at wing-back again, he’ll have a big part of the pitch to run in to and we’ve seen so many teams hack him down to stop the wide man advancing towards the box. It’s worth a one point play.
Wolves vs Manchester City – Manchester City Over 9.5 Fouls (1/1 VirginBet)