City wins at home and leads for another week
After a very difficult and tough match against Wolverhampton, City won the game and will continue as Premier League leaders for another week.
One of the main topics that were discussed during the pre-match was the lineup because despite not being fit, Kevin was expected to start, but that's not what happened.
In the beginning, I have to say that I thought it was a great lineup, especially because we know that against Wolves we always have complicated games, so having two midfielders focused on recovering (like Rodri and Gundo) gave us security and also gave freedom to Bernardo, who as we already know is in the best moment of his career.
The visitors started with Adama and Jimenez up front, a different approach to what other teams have, as Raul is not very fast, but he can hold the ball up very well, enough to give Traore time to run and look for space, although his plan did not work out as expected.
In fact, from the beginning, it was quite surprising that Wolverhampton did not make even the slightest attempt to press, because when the ball passed through the feet of City's center backs, they did not go beyond their own half of the field.
Now, in this analysis, I always mention where each attacking player starts, but to tell the truth this is unnecessary at the moment, as absolutely all the attackers rotate positions.
One of those who move the most throughout the game is Gabriel, who every day moves more out of his position when it is his turn to play as a 9, almost as if, despite not being his natural position, he feels more comfortable as a winger.
Before going on to talk about the game, it must be said that the first half was very complicated, there were fouls everywhere, City could not generate danger despite having possession, etc. But that does not mean that there were no points to highlight.
For example, Cancelo had for most of the game his entire flank free to play, as the player who was supposed to be in that attacking position was more concerned with making 2 vs 1 to Raheem, which constantly gave Joao the opportunity to give passes to the backs.
Another important point in this kind of games is how City destroys the opponents both physically and mentally because even if the score is 0-0, the reality is that they do not lend the ball, all the time the opponents are chasing them without being able to do absolutely nothing, which ends up generating frustration in them that is reflected at the slightest opportunity they have the ball, where they do not manage to give more than 5 passes without losing the ball again.
Having said that, as you already know, something I like to do is also to mention the aspects that, from my point of view, can be improved for the following matches, and today, that aspect is the accuracy in the last part of the field.
I say this because although we played spectacularly and almost perfectly, when we reach this last zone it is as if minds are clouded and nobody knows very well what is the best decision to make, so many times the ball ends up in the opponent's possession.
Also, during this game City played constantly on the flanks, so they depended a lot on Zinchenko and Cancelo, and although they are very good players, most of their approaches were crosses, which, taking into account the height of Sterling and Grealish compared to the height of the center backs, left them at a clear disadvantage.
Something else I want to highlight is the style of play of Wolves today. I understand that every team should play their own way and have a different strategy, you can't play the same way against City as against Palace, for example, but on this occasion the visitors (in complicity with the referee) were ridiculous.
They spent more time lying down and asking for a foul than playing, and the referee, I don't know if it was due to a lack of character or simply because it seems to be a rule that refereeing decisions are controversial with us, granted all their requests.
Finally, I want to apologize if I sound too repetitive with what I am going to say, but I think it is very important that for some time ago, specifically since the beginning of this season, City learned how to manage the games, they know when to press, when to play with the defenders, etc. They kill the game before the opponent becomes dangerous.
This match was marked by 3 key moments that determined the course of the game.
- 45 + 2’ Jimenez's red card: Apart from being extremely ridiculous, this action caused any intention the visitors might have had to attack to disappear completely, which made the second half easier for City.
- 65’ Moutinho's handball and Sterling's goal: This moment was key for obvious reasons, the handball because it gave us the penalty and the goal because it gave us enough of an advantage to win the game.
- 90+1' Ederson's save: A goal in the final minutes would have meant a possible loss of the lead, so this incredible save was vital for us. This is the third consecutive time in the league that a save by Ederson has prevented a draw, so I find it unfair that little is said about how important the Brazilian is for us, who also reached 100 clean sheets today.