Wolves stand their ground
On Monday, Manchester City will take on Wolves at the Etihad. City, who are still in the running for the title this year, have had a few hiccups of late. Wolves at the same time have been no pushover and have shown that they are a tough team to break down.
It's almost laughable that City have been described recently as experiencing 'problems', considering they have picked up 50 points over 21 games with a goal difference of 56-17 and victory over their main title rivals, Liverpool. But that is how things are when you have Guardiola as manager. He raises the bar in terms of what is expected, and sometimes this can lead to unrealistic expectations over several seasons. City are the league's best home team, having won nine out of ten matches, with a goal difference of 3.36 scored and 0.91 conceded. According to the expected goals, City have scored six more than they what they should have at home. Their squad is an embarrassment of riches, especially their offensive line with Sané, Aguero and Sterling. But if we have to point out a couple of negatives, their playmaker De Bruyne hasn't quite reached his previous heights since returning from injury, and City's form has dipped a little of late. Over their last six matches they've lost three and won three, and two of these losses came against Crystal Palace at home and Leicester City away. The left back position continues to be their weak spot, with no satisfactory replacement for the injured Mendy. All in all, they've hit a bit of a rough patch.
- League Position: 2
This season's success story is undoubtedly newly promoted Wolves. They sit at a respectable ninth place, with a goal difference of 23-25. These figures show that Wolves neither score nor concede that many goals. What is interesting is that their away form is better than their home form this season. Away from home, they have averaged 1.10 goals scored, and 1.00 conceded, and only lost three of ten matches, of which two were by a single goal. They drew against Arsenal and Manchester United, and beat Spurs. Their manager Santo is a great tactician, who knows how to deal with aggressive attacks. They have a strong spine with Moutinho, Neves and Coady, not to mention their pair of safe hands, Patricio. Out of their last three away matches, they have won two and drawn one. They can also feel secure that their average goals are in line with their expected goals. Jota and Saiss are both injured.
- League Position: 9
It is of no surprise that Manchester City head into this match as favourites. But they have experienced a tougher period recently, by their very high standards. Wolves are tough and strong, and if there is something they can do well, it is standing up to the bigger clubs. I think that Manchester City will have a tough time on Monday and will have to fight for the win. I will bet on Wolves +2 at odds of 50/51.