Man City face tough trip to Wolves to kick off their season
Manchester City to win 2-1
Wolves started their season in the same way they played much of last season – very well indeed.
They’ve developed into one of the toughest opponents in the league and Manchester City would have hoped for almost any other team to start their season against this weekend.
After all, Wolves beat City at home and away last season as well as taking points off Man United, Arsenal and Leicester in a season where they narrowly missed out on European football on the final day.
As for Man City, they know they must dramatically improve upon last season if they are to challenge Liverpool for the title again – they finished 18 points off the pace.
They’ve recruited some players, but also start the season with some injury concerns and could be a little off the pace at first.
This should be a game full of intensity.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 7th
Reasons to be cheerful:
Started their season in great fashion last weekend
Beat City twice in the league last season
Reasons to be fearful:
Lack of additions in the transfer market
Have lost second top scorer Jota to Liverpool this week
On the face of it, it seems like new season, same old Wolves. Since returning to the Premier League three seasons ago, they’ve developed into a top side with exceptional players and a manager with a clear style.
Trips to Molineux are usually least looked forward to by visiting teams and not too many leave with three points.
In Raul Jimenez they have one of the best strikers in the league – he opened his account this season inside 3 minutes against Sheffield United last weekend.
One concern will be who else can provide goals for them this season? This week Liverpool signed Diogo Jota for £45m, taking away Wolves’ second top scorer last season with 16 goals, although there is still time to sign a replacement.
They have quality players throughout and will certainly provide a strong test for City this weekend.
Star Man – Raul Jimenez
Top scorer last season, already scored in this campaign. Stopping him will be City’s main concern.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 1st
Reasons to be cheerful
Will be motivated to regain title from Liverpool
Players will be well-rested after an extra week break
Reasons to be fearful
Key striker Aguero out injured
Wolves already have a game under their belt
Manchester City are many people’s favourites to lift the Premier League this season, after finishing so far behind Liverpool last season.
To do that, they’ll have to start the season quickly. They can ill afford to drop points so early on, but facing Wolves in their opening fixture is one of the toughest tests they could have imagined.
They’ll have to do so without the injured Sergio Aguero, whilst the game is likely to come too soon for top defender Laporte. Therefore, new signing Nathan Ake might come straight in.
City have signed a quality winger in Ferran Torres from Valencia, but he will take some time to adapt to the Premier League and may not be thrown in straight away.
They still have plenty of world-class players, however. Sterling, De Bruyne, Jesus and co. will still be expected to do the business in their first fixture.
Star Man – Raheem Sterling
Reached 30 goals for the first time last season, he will be expected to provide goals in the absence of Aguero.
A game of high quality but perhaps few clear-cut chances
City will probably be a little rusty in their first game
Wolves will play to their strengths and Jimenez could grab a goal
City build their game around controlling the match through possession, but this may be difficult against an intense Wolves side.
The Manchester side will have to do without their first-choice central defender, and this will be a weakness that Wolves will exploit.
As usual, City’s strength is going forward and they will likely rely on their attackers to cover up their vulnerability at the back.
Manchester City to win 2-1