Second-placed Manchester City host Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves tonight, in a bid to keep the pressure on table-toppers Liverpool. After two consecutive losses in December, the Cityzens have posted two straight wins. A win tonight at the Etihad will help Pep Guardiola’s men make it three in their last three.
A positive result will also reduce the gap between City and Liverpool to four points again. Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Brighton this Saturday widened the deficit to seven points. For Guardiola and his men, it is important to keep the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s side, if they wish to retain their Premier League title.
Manchester City’s ferocity
In the last week of December, Manchester City had lost two games in a row while Liverpool were flying high. The Cityzens, however, responded in emphatic fashion.
After defeating Southampton 3-1 on 30th December, the Cityzens hosted the Reds on 4th January. Goals from Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane dumped Klopp’s men to their first defeat of the year and sparked life in the title race again.
Following that defining win, City have been on a tear. They blasted Rotherham 7-0 in the FA Cup before eviscerating Burton 9-0 in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final.
Wolves’ stellar record against the Top Six
Another prevailing storyline in this matchup is Wolves’ gutsy performances against the Top Six sides this season.
Espirito Santo’s side drew with Man City at The Molineux in August. They also drew with City’s neighbors at Old Trafford, a month later and Arsenal in November. Wolves did lose 2-3 to Tottenham in November but defeated Spurs in the reverse fixture in December. They also overcame Chelsea, 2-1 in that month. Last week, Connor Coady and company registered a historic 2-1 win to knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup.
All in all, Wolves have gained nine points from seven matches with the Top Six sides. That is more than any other team (apart from the Top Six) has done this season.
It’s fair to say that Pep Guardiola has a tough battle ahead of him tonight.
The biggest boost for Manchester City is Kevin De Bruyne’s return to full fitness. The Belgian missed a major chunk of the season due to a torn knee ligament. The last few games have seen De Bruyne being eased back into the squad and he looked fully fit against Burton. Despite the obvious selection headache, Guardiola will be glad to have his man back.
Sergio Aguero’s starting prospects remain doubtful, considering he recently recovered from an illness and Gabriel Jesus scored four against Burton. Vincent Kompany is also unlikely to start as he has just recovered from a muscle issue.
Wolves, meanwhile, have a clean slate when it comes to injuries. Espirito Santo can call on his best side to face the defending champions.