Race for Premier League glory has become more exciting as the teams have continued to win games and perform well on the field. With Tottenham Hotspur holding Liverpool on a draw and Manchester City winning against Newcastle United, Pep Guardiola and his players must be delighted to enter their next game without an air-thin points gap. This week we have defending champions Man City visiting Molineux Stadium to face Wolves.
This will be an interesting match up on paper as City sit 1st in the table with a gap of 3 points between themselves and Liverpool. Wolverhampton Wanderers meanwhile, are placed 8th in the table and pushing hard for a European spot. Manchester City will try to get all points from this game to strengthen their position on the table while Wolves will try to hunt sharks to claim the European spot.
WHEN & WHERE?
Date: May 11, 2022.
Time: 8:15 PM (UK).
Venue: Molineux Stadium.
Pep Guardiola will be in a worry as he saw City’s talismanic defender Ruben Dias getting subbed due to an injury. In the post-game conference, he declared that Ruben Dias along with England duo Walker will be out for the rest of the games this season. Manchester City currently have just Aymeric Laporte as a fully fit central defender while Nathan Ake just fit enough to train. Hence, Fernandinho or one among Egan Riley or Mbete will be prepared to start. The rest of the team seems fit except Cole Palmer who still has some niggles post his injury while training. We can see Gabriel Jesus return to the lineup along with Bernardo and Mahrez. Zinchenko and Cancelo are the two most obvious and favourite options available at fullback positions for Guardiola.
Wolves fans expected Podence to be fit for this game but, his arrival is delayed due to continuous problems with his ankle. Nelson Semedo and Kilman both remain on the treatment bed hence, Bruno Lage is bound to keep Saiss in the lineup. Without many options, he will be relying on Ait-Nouri and Castro to provide a width and overlapping runs. Chiquinho will be expected to start due to him playing a spectacular cameo to change the result of their game against Chelsea. Due to the former’s impressive cameo, Pedro Neto could see his name among the substitutes.
Manchester City have enjoyed a strong campaign in Premier League and their position on the table suggests they are on their way to claiming 2nd League title in 2 seasons. In their last game, Man City destroyed Newcastle United in a 5-0 demolition with Raheem Sterling finding the net twice. By observing the patterns in their passing, Pep’s men heavily relied on their fullbacks constantly switching the game from one flank to the other. City haven’t enjoyed much against Wolves but they have had considerable success against this side.
Man City will be expected to lineup their traditional 4-3-3 formation. Aymeric Laporte enjoyed a great game and will be expected to carry on this form for the remainder of the season.
The Blues will be again relying upon zonal exchanges and hence fullbacks will be important factors in deciding the outcome of the game for both sides. Bernardo Silva will be City’s key to getting them out of tight spaces while being in possession. Pep Guardiola will command his team to overload the opposition box to give his side a numerical advantage. Lining up a high line defence, we can see the likes of Ake or Laporte bypass the midfield through long balls. They will try their best to get out of Wolves’ zonal traps and man-marking approaches. The game could see a lot of off-ball running and swift passing side from both teams hence Rodri will have a busy day at work.
Wolves have lined up in a 5 at the back formation and their central defenders Coady and Bolly will have a huge threat to deal with. If Coady, Bolly and Saiss do their job perfectly well, they keep enough potential to upset Cityzens. Ruben Neves will have to keep his foot on the pedal because he will be in a race against Bernardo Silva. While defending the major threat will be through short switch-ups and low crosses. Wolverhampton must capitalize on every opportunity and breakthrough they get against their opponents just as they did against Chelsea. Moutinho, Jimenez and Trincao will have to link well with each other if they wish to play European teams next season.
Manchester City’s title hopes depend on this man’s abilities now. With unfortunate injuries to Stones, Dias and Walker; Nathan Ake struggling to get into full fitness; Everybody’s eyes will be locked on Aymeric Laporte and his ability to lead the line. He will most likely be paired with a player who has rarely played in the first team this season. Either Fernandinho or one of the EDS defenders will be paired with Laporte. He will have to keep his cool for the entire match and be smart in reading aerial balls and passing lines. Manchester City’s Waporte should justify his nickname by keeping the likes of Moutinho, Jimenez, Chiquinha and Trincao at their bay and support his forwards by well-timed long balls to bypass the crowded midfield area. Everything is at stake for City and the manager will ask Laporte to play his best for the remainder of the season.
This man will be having one of the busiest days of his life when he plays Man City and comes up against the likes of Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Grealish and Riyad Mahrez. As City will be looking to make switches, he will have to keep his position extremely well to deny them any chances. While man-marking Bernardo is a tough task, Neves should try to hold him off by cutting passing lanes. The best chance Neves got against City is by intercepting their ground passes and being an extra man in the defensive half. Winning the ball will be a job Bruno Lage has asked for from Neves but, he should time his tackles really well to avoid any trouble and make sure that Moutinho finds it easy to claim the second balls throughout the game.
Wolves predicted XI vs Man City: Sa; Boly, Coady, Saiss; Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Ait-Nouri; Trincao, Jimenez.
Man City predicted XI vs Wolves: Ederson; Cancelo, Fernandinho, Laporte, Zinchenko; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling.
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