Premier League

Wolverhampton-Manchester City Preview

Pep Guardiola knows exactly what to expect from Wolves as Manchester City follow Liverpool in attempting to beat Bruno Lage's men.

Wolves have a new coach this season in Lage, replacing Nuno Espirito Santo, but they have continued to cause problems for the top teams.

Liverpool required a last-gasp Divock Origi goal last week to snatch a 1-0 win and keep the pressure on City.

Guardiola and City know all about Wolves, who did the double over them two seasons ago.

"It's not just about the game against Liverpool," Guardiola said. "When you have played 15 games and you can take a look at goals scored, goals conceded - [Wolves'] balance is so stable, few on both sides.

"It's quite similar - we played against Wolves last year, always tight, tight games. We lost a few, when we won, always tight.

"It has always been a difficult, difficult game, for the quality they have, for the structure, the pace they up front, the set-pieces, the personality, the character, the players, good keepers.

"They are up there. They are doing an incredible season so far. We know it, but at the same time, we are in a good position to continue our run in the Premier League."

Lage certainly wants Wolves to test City, explaining: "We cannot be in front of our box defending for 90 minutes or pressing 90 minutes in a higher position.

"You know the profile for our players - if we go for the duels, it's hard - so we have to control the game with the ball.

"That's the challenge. Don't be afraid. We cannot be afraid to fail.

"If we fail we have another chance. If we make a bad pass, no problem, we need to recover the ball. Let's go and play our game. We need to go without fear to play our game on any pitch."

Manchester City - Bernardo Silva

The man of the moment at City and perhaps across the Premier League as a whole, Silva will hope to maintain his sparkling form, having scored six goals in his past eight league games. He has seven for the season, with no other midfielder managing more.

Wolves - Adama Traore

Lage this week called for more consistency from Traore, but he has found that less of an issue against City. The winger, who scored in both wins in 2019-20, has more goals against City (three) than against any other side.

- Manchester City have lost just one of their past nine home games against Wolves in all competitions (W6 D2), going down 2-0 in October 2019.

- Among all fixtures to have been played at least 60 times in the history of the English Football League since it was formed in 1888, Man City vs Wolves has the highest goals-per-game ratio of 3.83 (437 goals in 114 meetings).

- Manchester City have won 31 of their 39 Premier League games in 2021 (D2 L6) - only Liverpool in 1982 (33) and Chelsea in 2005 (32) have won more matches in a single calendar year in English top-flight history.

- Wolves have lost 20 of their past 23 away top-flight matches against the reigning champions (W3) but did win 2-0 at Man City in the 2019-20 campaign.

- Excluding penalties, Wolves are the only side that are yet to concede a set piece goal in the Premier League this season, despite facing 39 shots from such situations. By contrast, only Leeds (15) conceded more set piece goals (excl. pens) in the Premier League last season than Wolves (14).

Updated December 10, 2021

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