Wolves 1-1 Manchester City: Match Report

Manchester City dropped their first points of the season in controversial fashion after drawing 1-1 away to Wolverhampton Wanderers. A handball goal by Willy Boly was canceled out by a thumping header from Aymeric Laporte.

The first half displayed a lot of City getting into a rhythm and creating chances while Wolves defended as a unit and countered effectively.
The best chances to come from these efforts were from Sergio Agüero, who hit the post from distance, and Raheem Sterling, whose long range effort was stunningly saved by Rui Patricio.
The second half sprang to life quickly with a goal. A cross from João Moutinho fizzed by the face of goal and into the path of a diving Boly, who turned the ball into the net with his outstretched hand. The ref apparently did not see any fault with what had occurred, so the goal stood.
City kicked it into overdrive after that and responded with a goal almost ten minutes later after having some penalty appeals denied by the referee.
A Gundogan free kick found Laporte all alone at the far post, allowing the center-back to head the ball into the net for the equalizer and his first goal for Manchester City.
Despite some smart attacking subs from Guardiola and the pressure put on by his team, City were unable to break down the stubborn Wolves defense for a second time. The final chance of the match was the closest, where Agüero struck the woodwork yet again, this time from a free kick. The sound of the ball clanging off the crossbar sealed City’s fate as the ref blew his whistle.

Tactical Analysis

Nuno Espirito Santo got his tactics right for this match. Wolves looked tireless when pressing the City attackers and when they won the ball in midfield, the counter was started immediately every time. Helder Costa was instrumental in starting these counters as he possessed the energy to win the ball, dribbling ability to break away from pressure, and passing ability to find one of his fellow attackers on the break.
You should always feel good about your tactics if you force a team with attacking flair like City to score only once and from a set piece. Meanwhile, Wolves’ constant testing of the City backline kept them in the match and made them appear to be equals with the Premier League champions.
Pep Guardiola also had an excellent grasp of the match. His team always looked capable of scoring despite their sub-par finishing. Pep also got his subs spot on even though none of them scored. He recognized that his team was starting to get stale in attack and needed a Plan B.
Bringing on Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez effectively revolutionized City’s front line, swapping intricate passing in the central areas of the pitch for width and directness. Sane and Mahrez brought pace and dribbling ability that appeared to unsettle the Wolves backline. On another day, City very well may have scored a winner.
City had what appeared to be a clear penalty waved off after David Silva was brought down in the box before the equalizer was scored. So while Man City may have felt that they were robbed in this result, both teams should feel good about this result knowing that they put in stellar performances that will take them far against the rest of the league.

Man of the Match: Rui Patricio

Rui Patricio was massive in this match, making some big saves to deny the firepower of Sergio Agüero and Raheem Sterling when it looked certain they would surely score eventually. His first-half save against Sterling at full stretch to push the ball off the crossbar was crucial in preserving the scoreless draw going into halftime.

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