For the first time this season, Manchester City are at the top of the Premier League table. The absolute favorites before the start of the season might have had to wait until Game 15 to get there, but now the Citizens and the defending champions are back in the lead, having collected 35 points out of a possible 45.
Saturday’s kick-off sees Pep Guardiola’s men attempting to stay one step ahead of Liverpool and Chelsea when they host Wolverhampton Wanderers mid-table at Etihad Stadium.
On top for good?
City supporters were shocked at the end of October when they saw their side lose 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace. Aymeric Laporte was sent off because Wilfried Zaha caused all kinds of trouble for the Citizens, and Palace shocked City. But Guardiola’s men bounced back in style, winning the next seven games in all competitions.
In the league, they have now won seven of the last eight games, including a dominant Manchester Derby victory over United at Old Trafford. Pep purrs his team, and this Palace game was the only time they failed to score in the last 10 league games.
Bernardo Silva has played in recent weeks, scoring five goals in his last five league games, while Raheem Sterling has also rediscovered his form from last year, with four goals in his last six for City.
At the back, Ederson continues to be a rock between the sticks, and neither team have conceded fewer goals than City this year (nine).
An early victory for City will put four points between them and their closest title rivals, and put pressure on Liverpool and Chelsea, who will start later.
Wolves lack bite
The wolves are comfortably in the middle of the table. Far enough from the drop zone that relegation wasn’t a problem, but they also don’t look like a team that is suddenly going to be pushed in search of a top five.
After a fantastic time between September and October, in which Wolves won five of seven points and tallied 16 out of a possible 21, Bruno Lage’s side have started to stumble and scoring goals is becoming a huge problem.
Norwich are the only team to have scored fewer goals than Wolves (12), and the Wanderers have only managed an average of 10.9 shots per game this season, the second-lowest total in the league.
Wolves have failed to score in more than half of their league games so far this season and are currently short of goals, which topped five hours of football.
In their last three games, they’ve only managed five shots on target, and two of those games were against relegation-threatened Burnley and Norwich.
The other game was last week’s 1-0 home loss to Liverpool. Wolves bravely defended and almost escaped with a point, without the late winner of Divock Origi.
Defense has been part of Wolves’ success this year, as only Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool have better records at the back.
The Wanderers have conceded just 13 goals in 15 and have conceded just one goal in the last four games. They’ll need another excellent defensive display if they are to keep City on the sidelines.
Manchester City and Wolves betting trends
- There have been over 2.5 goals in eight of Manchester City‘s 15 league appearances this season (53%)
- Both teams have scored in five of Manchester City’s 15 league appearances this season (33%)
- Both teams have scored in four of Wolves’ 15 league games this season (27%)
- There have been over 2.5 goals in three of Wolves’ 15 league games this season (20%)
- Both teams have scored in four of the last six matches between these two teams (67%)
- There have been more than 2.5 goals in four of the last six head-to-head meetings between these two teams (67%)
City strengthens its lead at the top
Wolves can make life difficult for Manchester City, as they have for several teams in the first half this year.
Liverpool, Leicester, Tottenham and Manchester United all beat Wolves this year 1-0.
Statistics for the season suggest this game won’t see too many goals, and a narrow win over City is smart play. Guardiola’s side are on a different level compared to many of their Premier League opponents and are expected to beat Wolves at the Etihad without conceding.
Score prediction: Manchester City 2-0 Wolves (+480)