City complete their mini-sequence of 4 consecutive home games on Tuesday when the leaders of the Championship, Wolverhampton Wanderers, visit the Etihad for the fourth round tie in the EFL (Carabao) Cup.
Nuno Espirito Santo, appointed as manager of Wolves last May, has taken his new side to the top of the Championship and has an impressive overall win record of 75% – P16 W12 D2 L2. So far this season they have netted 24 times in the league but have conceded 13 times – something which will give encouragement to the free scoring City players.
The 43 year old Portuguese former player has managed in both Portugal and Spain delivering some success at both Rio Ave F.C. & Valencia but was relieved of his duties at Porto after a single season in charge which ended devoid of silverware. Seems a bit harsh. He has clearly settled in well in the Black Country and his Wolves side will present tough opponents for Pep`s charges.
In the last six meetings between the clubs stretching back to 2009 the record stays a P6 W5 D0 L1 in City`s favour with the single defeat coming at Molineux under Mancini in 2010. In terms of goals scored City lead with 18 to Wolves` 8 across these six fixtures. City have won each of the last 4 encounters which included a 3-1 victory the last time the sides met in the league at the Etihad in October 2011 despite losing Vincent Kompany to a red card in the 74th minute.
City overcame stiff resistance from a stubborn and well organised Burnley last weekend to continue their excellent form and match the club recored of 11 consecutive victories. With Sergio Aguero matching Eric Brook`s 77 year old record as leading club goal scorer last Saturday who would put odds on the Argentinian further enhancing his status as a club legend by surpassing that tally on Tuesday? His services may be retained but I expect most City fans are expecting some significant shuffling of personnel to give some of the squad a brief respite in a challenging sequence of games which include away ties against Tony Penis`s knuckle draggers followed by a trip to Napoli in the Champions League before Arsenal fetch up at the Etihad.
There are plenty of games for everyone and although no one wants to see the club`s excellent form come to an end, everyone knows that the Carabao Cup is the lowest priority on Pep Guardiola`s & the owner`s radar so if you are going to rotate some players and risk a ‘blip`, then this fixture has to be it. Pep has hinted at Zinchenko slotting in at left back and we might expect to see run outs for Bravo, Danilo, Mangala as well as a start for Toure and Gundogan. Sterling will doubtless be itching to get back to the action after not featuring against Burnley.
That said it would be fabulous to break a couple of records on Tuesday evening and despite any changes that Pep may make the individual talents and collective abilities of the City squad should have enough in the tank to get the job done. It is a knockout cup game and Wolves will probably come with a ‘nothing to lose` approach which should help to make the game more open – something which usually helps City.
Are you up for the cup?
Come on City!!!
Opponent to watch
Diogo Jota – the 20 year old Portuguese attacking midfielder has already netted 7 times for Wolves so will need careful shackling.
Referee – tbc
Assistants – tbc
Fourth Official – tbc
City (Premier League)
Goals per game – 3.6
Avg Possesion – 65.5%
Pass Accuracy – 89.2%
Shots per game – 18.9
Discipline – 16Y, 2R
Goals per game – 1.8
Avg Possesion – 51.8%
Pass Accuracy – 80%
Shots per game – 13.5
Discipline – 18Y, 1R
**Stats courtesy of Whoscored.com
City are without Mendy and Vincent Kompany
Wolves will be missing Helder Costa, Carl Ikeme & Phil Ofusu-Ayeh.
Potential starting XI, subs & formation
Danilo, Stones, Mangala, Zinchenko
Toure, Gundogan, Delph
Sterling, Aguero, Silva B
Gunn, Otamendi, Walker, Diaz, Fernandinho, Sane, Jesus
Manchester City v Wolves – Match Preview