Manchester City has been playing well since their mid-September misstep against newly promoted Norwich City. They’ve won five straight in all competitions outscoring their opponents by the absurd margin of 19-1. Even with their strong play they still can’t do anything to reel in first place Liverpool who has done nothing this season except win. Liverpool is 8 points clear of City pending the outcome of this contest scoring 20 and conceding only 6. Manchester City has scored 27 and conceded only 7 in Premiership play.
In their last action, Manchester City beat Dinamo Zagreb by a margin of 2-0 in Champions League play but that scoreline doesn’t clearly reflect just how dominant they were in victory. So with group play in the Champions League going well Pep Guardiola and his charges will turn their attention to keeping pace with Liverpool. City is 2-1-0 at Etihad Stadium in Premiership play. As noted above, their offense has been extremely impressive and they’ve now scored two or more in 10 straight in all competitions. In their last three overall at Etihad Stadium they’ve scored 14 and conceded none.
Wolverhampton has shown improved form of late and have now gone unbeaten in four straight in all competitions with wins in three straight. They followed up a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace with a 1-1 penalty kick win over Reading in League Cup play, a solid 2-0 win over hapless Watford in Premiership play and a 1-0 win at Besiktas on the road in Istanbul in Europa League play. Their previous two wins have seen them keep a clean sheet–a solid defense is always helpful but the Wolves problem in Premier League play has been a lack of offense with 9 goals in 7 games. On the road, they’re 0-2-1 with 3 scored and 4 conceded. The defense has been playing well enough to win but they need scoring. That leaves them 13th in the Premier League having earned just 7 points out of a possible 21.
Beating Manchester City at home is a formidable task for Wolverhampton but they do catch the defending Premiership champions nursing a few injuries. John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane are out and they’re now joined by offensive catalyst Kevin De Bruyne. He missed the win over Dinamo Zagreb with a groin injury and has been ruled out of this contest. The downside is the brutal turnaround from Europa League play in Istanbul on Thursday to Premiership play at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Ultimately, Manchester City has the depth to overcome the absence of De Bruyne. On the other hand, it’s doubtful that Wolves will be able to stave off the mental, physical and emotional fatigue caused not only by gameplay but by travel. This appears to be a spot where the ‘back class’ of the Premier League champions will rule the day.