Phil Foden scores as Manchester City start campaign with win at Wolves
Goals from Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus saw Manchester City eviscerate a slow-starting Wolves with a performance of devastating simplicity in the first half before the hosts came roaring back in the second, creating enough good chances to win never mind draw. Which is to say that neither side appears to have changed much over the summer.
City jumped on Wolves from the off and the only surprise was that it took them 21 minutes to take the lead, Roman Saiss’ peabrained tackle on De Bruyne allowing him to beat Rui Patricio from the spot.
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And 11 minutes later, City scored again, a luscious move through midfield ending with Raheem Sterling cutting back for Foden to ease home.
But Wolves picked up the pace in the second half, missing a succession of chances before Raul Jimenez reduced their arrears. They could not quite find an equaliser and eventually conceded a third, Jesus scoring in injury-time, but if they can learn how to start games as well as they finish them, they will be an even more serious proposition.
City still have plenty to work on. Though Liverpool were the best side in the league last season, City’s best was still the best; the problem was how bad their worst was, and how often they produced it. Generally, the title is won by the side with highest bottom level, and City’s went through the floor.
The question really is whether their defence will be solid enough not to let them down, and the early signs were good. The arrival of Nathan Ake meant that Fernandinho was back in midfield, and his partnership with Rodri was key to their first-half excellence, giving them both impetus and security. With Aymeric Laporte still to come back and perhaps another centre-back arriving too, there was reason to think that things had changed.
But in the second half, Wolves created a succession of chances, and while excuses can be made - some City players have had little pre-season, they saw out the last 10 minutes well, and their opponents are good - they have a lot of improving to do to improve on last season.
Manchester City celebrate Gabriel Jesus' goal
Image credit: Getty Images
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City): Won the penalty, scored the penalty, and generally played like the best player in the league.
Wolves: Rui Patricio 7, Boly 6, Coady 6, Saiss 5, Traore 7, Moutinho 5, Neves 5, Marcal 6, Podence 7, Jimenez 7, Neto 5. Subs: Vinagre 6, Dendoncker 6, Fabio Silva 6.
Man City: Ederson 6, Walker 6, Stones 6, Ake 6, Mendy 6, Fernandinho 7 Rodri 7, De Bruyne 8, Sterling 7, Jesus 7, Foden 7. Subs: Torres 6.
19’ - PENALTY TO CITY! A ball down the right sends De Bruyne hurtling to the line - he's not catching up with that - then Saiss slides in front of him for no reason whatsoever, leaving his dumb fat legs right there for De Bruyne to fall over. Absolutely ridiculous behaviour.
21’ - GOAL! Wolves 0-1 Man City (De Bruyne pen). De Bruyne opens his body and punches hard into the right side-netting; Rui Patricio goes the correct way, but it's far too precise for him to have a chance of saving.
32’ - GOAL! Wolves 0-2 Man City (Foden). Rodri plays into midfield, finding Jesus, who moves onto Foden who finds De Bruyne - lovely one-touch stuff. The ball then goes wide to Sterling, whose path to Jesus and goal looks blocked. So instead of crossing or shooting, he cuts back for Foden, and he rams home with intense ease.
60’ - SAME OLD PROBLEMS! Wolves in the house! Traore hits the line and cuts back for Jimenez, who somehow sidefoots wide! City's defence is still City's defence!
79’ - GOAL! Wolves 1-2 Man City (Jimenez). Are they doing it again?! The corner is cleared to Traoire, who finds Podence - he's having a very good second half - and HE ONLY GOES AND MEGS KEVIN DE BRUYNE, before flipping a cross to the near post where Jimenez heads home very competently indeed.
90+5’ - GOAL! Wolves 1-3 Man City (Jesus). And now they do score! De Bruyne, sharking about just outside the box, nicks the ball off Boly, Jesus picks it up, and opens his body to shoot across Rui Patricio; a deflection takes the ball in.
- Phil Foden has either scored or assisted 22 goals in 33 starts for Manchester City.
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