Soccer

Cityzen’s mauled by Wolves

Shots. 20 to 7.

On Target. 8 to 3.

Possession. 63% to 37%.

Passes. 556 to 350.

Pass Accuracy. 87% to 78%.

The above are standard-issued stats for a Manchester City game since Pep Guardiola arrived in 2016. What is not as common-placed is his City side being on the receiving end of them, as was the case on Friday in the West Midlands of England. Wolverhampton Wanderers became the first team to win both regular season games against the Champions since the introduction of Guardiola as manager and they did it from 2-0 down.

The game started fast and City were down a man on 12 minutes as goalkeeper Ederson raced from his line to try clear a through ball only to be beaten to it by Diogo Jota, clattering his knee into the Wolves striker in the process. Referee Martin Atkinson wasted no time in showing the Brazilian keeper a straight red and a VAR check determined it was the correct decision.

Despite being a man down City looked the most threatening and were awarded a penalty as Leander Dendoncker was judged to have fouled Riyad Mahrez in the box by a busy VAR system. Raheem Sterling stepped up and saw his penalty saved by Rui Patricio in the Wolves goal. Unfortunately for Patricio, Conor Coasy was deemed to have encroached before Sterling striked the penalty (again by VAR) and a retake was called. Despite Guardiola seemingly screaming from the touch line to change the taker, Sterling again stepped up and… missed again! Patricio could only palm the effort right back into the England forward’s path though and Sterling, on a third attempt, calmly stroked home the rebound. 1-0 City.

Five minutes into the second half the traveling Cityzen fans were in full voice as Sterling extended the reigning champions lead and added his second of the game. As Wolves pressed City played out from the back quickly and De Bruyne found the striker with a pinpoint through ball, leaving Sterling the easy task of slotting past Rui Patricio. That was the last of City pressure until injury time as Wolves turned up the heat on a City defense that has looked shaky at the best of times this season.

Adama Traore pulled one back for the home side five minutes later and was instrumental in the equalizing goal with eight minutes remaining as he put pressure on Benjamin Mendy, who dilly-dallied on a clearance, gaining possession on the byline and sliding the ball across for Raul Jimenez to easily convert passed Claudio Bravo.

City were completely shocked and Wolves were beating them at their own game, something not a lot of teams can do, getting their just rewards with a minute to go.

Irish International right back Matt Doherty picked up the ball just inside the opposition half and with no one closing down cut inside and ran towards the City goal. A lovely one-two with Jimenez and a side step of a Nicolas Otamendi challenge later, he struck a beautiful left footed shot passed Claudio Bravo from just outside the box, sending Molineux into complete pandemonium.

City had a late free kick from Sterling hit the bar but ultimately the best team took all three points as evident by the opening stats. The only shock being those stats didn’t favor the reigning champions as their grip on the Premier League title slips with each passing day.

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