Manchester City welcome 11th placed Wolves at the Etihad tonight and they will be looking for a win which would see them get back closer to Liverpool, currently seven points ahead.
The defending champions have had an amazing start to the new year with a win over Liverpool and the two big wins against Rotherham United and Burton Albion respectively. In fact, in the last three games, City have scored 18 goals and conceded only one.
However tonight they take on an unpredictable Wolves side, capable of winning at Wembley against Tottenham and eliminating Liverpool from the FA Cup a week ago.
After losing three matches against sides out of the top six back in December, Guardiola’s side had to do something out of the ordinary in order to get back in the title race with the current Premier League leaders Liverpool.
In fact, they won against Klopp’s side to start the year in the best possible way and reduced the gap to four points. This was followed by matches from the FA Cup and the League Cup against Rotherham United and Burton Albion respectively which they won with ease.
The two disappointing defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester City from last December need to serve as an alert to Guardiola of the threat that teams from outside the top six can pose. The Citizens also dropped points to Wolves in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
It is Guardiola’s defence which needs to be improved, having failed to keep a clean sheet for the past eight Premier League matches. City will remain second in the league irrespective of tonight’s result thanks to Manchester United’s win against the Spurs on Sunday.
Last six Premier League matches: LWLLWW
Despite having some impressive wins this season, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side has been way too inconsistent this season making tonight’s big match a more exciting one for the fans than other matches against sides considered of an equal or lower level.
Wolves have quite an impressive record against sides which occupy the top places in the league having won two, drew three and lost two against such sides.
The team currently eleventh, is the one of the only two teams that Pep Guardiola faced at least two times and was not able to beat together with Scottish side Celtic.
For a newly promoted side to be just three points away from seventh place, it surely is something considered more than a decent achievement and another win tonight against City would make it an even more remarkable run for the Wolves.
In fact, if they had to beat second-placed City tonight, they would win back-to-back away wins in the same top-flight season for the first time since John Barnwell’s side in 1981.
This season, the Wanderers have picked up more points away from home than at the Molineux Stadium having only lost two from the last nine away outings. They beat third-placed Tottenham 3-1 in their last away match with a remarkable comeback in the second half.
Last six Premier League matches: WWLDWL
In goal, Ederson is expected to take back his place after missing out on last Wednesday’s league cup fixture.
At the back, Kompany will not be risked after a muscle problem picked up against Liverpool and should be replaced by Zinchenko who will start at right back. Laporte should start at his natural centre-back position after starting as left-back against Liverpool.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 14, 2019
De Bruyne has fully recovered from his injury and will likely start alongside Fernandinho and Bernardo Silva in the middle of the park.
Doubtful Aguero should still make it for the Wolves clash after an injury he picked up against Liverpool a week and a half ago. He will be joined by Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling on the left and right wing respectively.
For Wolves, there will also be some important returns to the starting eleven with Rui Patricio, among others, who is set to return in goal.
In defense, Espirito Santo should start with Bennett, Coady, Boly and Doherty for a strong backline against the fearsome City attack.
Monday night football!
— Wolves (@Wolves) January 14, 2019
Romain Saiss will also return to the starting eleven after being left out from the squad which won against Liverpool in the FA Cup. He will join Portuguese duo Moutinho and Neves to complete the midfield three.
Man in form Raul Jimenez should lead the front three with Jonny and one between Adama Traore and Diogo Jota fighting for a place in the starting lineup.
Manchester City Predicted Line-up: Ederson; Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, B. Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
Wolves Predicted Line-up: Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Saiss, Jonny; Traore, Jimenez
Wolves have not beaten Manchester City away from home since December of 1979 and lost their six successive meetings on the road ever since.
The last win against the Citizens was at the Molineux almost nine years ago when Adebayor’s opener was cancelled out by goals from Nenad Milijas and Dave Edwards.
Manchester City are priced at odds of winning the match 1.173 according to Yobetit, while a Wolves win at the Molineux Stadium is priced at 16. A draw is priced at 6.88. Odds are subject to change.