In Manchester, Wolves produced what is known as the perfect away performance – keep things tight at the back and frustrate your hosts, then be devastating on the counter attack when the opportunities arise. After 80 minutes, City couldn’t find a way through, then up stepped Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore. With two classic breakaways, the Mexican twice fed the Spaniard perfectly, and Traore finished with aplomb, coolly beating Ederson on both occasions to send the away end into delirium.
A match filled with plenty of story lines as both teams battle a packed schedule and quality opponents. There is plenty to discuss.
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Time and Date: Tuesday, 02 March, 2021 kick off at 8.00 pm (UK), 3.00 pm (EST, USA)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
Assistants: Adam Nunn, Sian Massey-Ellis.
Fourth official: Anthony Taylor.
VAR: Craig Pawson.
Assistant VAR: Stephen Child.
Saturday’s draw at Newcastle United saw Wolves extend their unbeaten run to five matches – a record for the season and the first time such feat has been achieved since either side of lockdown. Back in February 2020, Nuno’s side drew 0-0 with Manchester United to spark an eight-match unbeaten run, which would bizarrely stretch five months, with the pandemic wreaking havoc with the schedule.
Then, two days after Christmas, Guardiola’s side were in Wolverhampton, where things began lively with Ederson’s red card and Raheem Sterling’s retaken penalty, following VAR controversy. Once Sterling had doubled his tally, City felt in control, but Wolves had other ideas and produced a thrilling comeback, which was completed by Matt Doherty’s 89th minute winner. A special night at Molineux – the kind Wolves supporters are now longing for. For now, and hopefully not much longer, they’ll watch through their televisions, but will be hoping for similar surprises on Tuesday evening.
Wolves, who earned a point at St James’ Park against struggling Newcastle in their last game, have recently posed a problem for Pep Guardiola’s side, winning back-to-back games last season before coming unstuck against the champions elect at Molineux this term.
While City’s form is relentless, the Manchester derby this weekend could be a distraction and an opportunity for Wolves to replicate their previous success at the Etihad.
The recent success could be put down to consistency within the team, with Nuno naming the same starting eleven for three consecutive games for the first time since January 2020. During Monday’s press conference, the head coach said it was unlikely he’ll be selecting from a different squad in Manchester, meaning Willy Boly, Daniel Podence, Marcal and Raul Jimenez will all remain at home. So, will Nuno go with the same again on Tuesday for a fourth successive game?