Wolves vs. Man City result, highlights & analysis as Grealish and Haaland strike to send champions top

by 24britishtvSept. 17, 2022, 10 p.m. 14
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Erling Haaland rewrote another chapter of the Premier League record books with his latest goal as Manchester City opened up a 3-0 lead at Wolves.

Jack Grealish was retained in the starting line-up at Molineux despite a listless showing in City's midweek UEFA Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund. The England playmaker almost instantly repaid Pep Guardiola's faith by converting Kevin De Bruyne's cross after 55 seconds.

Haaland then became the first player in Premier League history to score in each of his first four away games, punishing a backpedalling Max Kilman by clipping into the bottom corner with a right-footed shot from outside the box.

An X-rated lunge into Grealish's stomach from Nathan Collins saw the Republic of Ireland defender deservedly sent off, although Wolves went about their task with gusto after halftime despite the numerical disadvantage.

As such, it came against the run of play when De Bruyne matched Steven Gerrard's Premier League tally of 92 assists, crossing for Foden to finish.

Those two combined similarly to set up Grealish on City's first attack, with Foden drawing Rayan Ait-Nouri towards him and finding an overlapping De Bruyne. Grealish then made the sort of penetrative run he has made too infrequently in his City career and was rewarded with a tap-in.

Wolves responded well, as Daniel Podence forced Ederson to beat a shot behind at his near post, but Collins was drawn out of position, leaving Kilman ill-equipped to shut down a rampaging Haaland, whose scuffed attempt got past Jose Sa.

It turned out that was nowhere near Collins' biggest misjudgement of the half. In the 33rd minute, he approached a bouncing ball that Joao Cancelo sent towards Grealish down the left and caught the England playmaker with a high, dangerous challenge.

Referee Antony Taylor was left with no choice, although Wolves then opted not to collapse. They had the better of the opening exchanges in the second half, with recent arrival Matheus Nunes probing intelligently from midfield and Podence, Pedro Neto and Goncalo Guedes all asking questions of the City back four.

If Guedes had made clean contact with Ait-Nouri's dangerous cross before the hour, things might have become really interesting. Instead, City ended the argument when De Bruyne went outside Haaland for a return pass and Foden found a deft finish.

As the goals become increasingly inevitable — that's now 11 in seven Premier League games and 14 in all competitions — the Haaland 'touchwatch' has become a matter of intrigue to many observers. Today, he had 24, three fewer than 72nd-minute substitute Riyad Mahrez, but the idea that Haaland is simply hanging around in the penalty area and waiting for his City teammates to put in the hard yards isn't grounded in reality.

He dropped deep to involve himself in attacks on a few occasions at Molineux, most notably when collecting possession from Bernardo Silva for his goal. He also played a key role in the build-up to Foden's goal when out on the right wing.

Before the game, Pep Guardiola insisted City spent £100 million on Grealish for "other reasons" than goals and assists. As much as the 27-year-old's ability to receive and carry the ball under pressure, slow the tempo and retain possession are all things to make Guardiola purr, it undeniably felt like damage control. In a team that score so frequently from all angles, three Premier League goals and as many assists for City heading into this weekend did not represent an acceptable return.

Grealish is nominally City's first choice on the left wing after Raheem Sterling's departure to Chelsea and he took a leaf out of his England teammate's book for the opening goal, gambling on a run into the box and being rewarded with a goal. Sterling made that a pastime at City.

For every one of those sprints that yields returns, plenty go unseen and unrewarded, but those are the hard yards Grealish must put in. It lifted a weight off him on Saturday, and his more swaggering qualities returned: he completed 31 of his 33 passes, with 21 of those successes coming inside the Villa half — numbers that will please Guardiola just as much as the goal clearly satisfied Grealish.

Whoever runs PAYE at the DFB needs to get on top of this one. Haaland has made suggestions that he might not adapt to the Premier League after making mincemeat of Germany's top flight look laughable, but Manuel Akanji is another new City signing with an apparent unwillingness to pay his 'Bundesliga tax'.

A surprise deadline-day signing as the combination of Aymeric Laporte's recovery from knee surgery and John Stones and Nathan Ake's susceptibility to setbacks persuaded Guardiola to enter the market, Akanji has started all three games since joining from Borussia Dortmund. Back-to-back Champions League wins, one over his former club in midweek, preceded his Premier League bow and the Switzerland international's pace and composure was to the fore against a lively Wolves attack at Molineux. He was also smooth on the ball once again, completing a team-high 87 out of 90 passes.

MORE: The Cruyff wondergoal that Haaland recreated to spark Guardiola's Ibrahimovic comparison

Wolves vs. Man City live updates, highlights from the Premier League

Fulltime: Haaland has one more raid down the Wolves right. His pass doesn't find Alvarez but it doesn't matter. He got another goal, De Bruyne got two more assists and City got three more points to go top of the league. There was also a confidence, boosting opener for Jack Grealish, who later found himself on the receiving end of Nathan Collins' horror challenge. Wolves deserve a fair bit of credit for how they acquitted themselves with reduced numbers for the best part of an hour and can take positives from what they produced today.

90th minute+2: Cancelo picks out Palmer at the back post and the youngster's eyes light up. His volley lands somewhere near Walsall.

90th minute: We'll get the customary, bog-standard three minutes of additional time.

89th minute: Promising position for City but Haaland can't get his feet right and it peters out. Why do they bother with this guy?

82nd minute: Semedo replaces Ait-Nouri, who has been a fine attacking outlet for Wolves during the second half. Sergio Gomez is on for Rodri for City and Neto runs at him straight away to win a corner. Ederson tips away.

80th minute: Haaland in almost onto a clipped Mahrez pass from the right wing but he can't get it fully under control.

79th minute: Neves nearly turns a City corner into his own net. Nunes heads the next one clear with far less kerfuffle.

77th minute: Grealish departs, making way for Cole Palmer and lapping up the boos from the Molineux crowd after one of his best afternoons in quite a while.

76th minute: Sa gets out sharply to get to lofted through-ball before Mahrez, but these fresh legs look like wretched news for Wolves.

72nd minute: Triple change for City. Foden, De Bruyne and Silva head into cold storage as Gundogan, Alvarez and Mahrez come on.

That should be that. A beautifully worked goal, very similar to City's first. Haaland pulls out to the right wing and sends a return pass around the corner for De Bruyne. The Belgian hasn't had his best game but that's his second assist as Foden applies a deft finish.

67th minute: Haaland comes deep to retrieve possession from a rampaging Grealish. Sa saves his bouncing shot and Kilman gets a brilliant block in on Foden's attempt on the rebound. He won't be to disappointed to get no credit for that as a goalkick is given.

66th minute: Nunes is booked for a late challenge on Grealish. Neves is also carded for dissent. Wolves are fired up and playing admirably but that wasn't helpful.

64th minute: Nunes plays a ball down the right for Podence to cross. A sliding Dias stops in cleanly and handball claims are rightly waved away.

62nd minute: For what feels like the first time this half, City enjoy a sustained spell of possession to take the sting out of things. Grealish switches play to De Bruyne who wins a corner. The ball is worked to Cancelo who blasts well over from range.

59th minute: Big chance for Wolves but Guedes snatches at it and doesn't get anything like clean contact on Ait-Nouri's cross.

58th minute: Nunes slips Podence into that City box and it needed more good defending from Akanji to clear behind for a corner. The resulting intricate delivery was ill-advised.

56th minute: This is really ragged from City as De Bruyne coughs up a needless foul. Wolves' 10 men are playing with plenty of ambition and no little inventiveness.

54th minute: Grealish glides through a couple of challenges in the City half to release De Bruyne. Uncharacteristically, the Belgian misjudged the situation, letting Haaland run offside and then passing behind Foden. Possession moves to Cancelo but Foden can't get on the end of his chipped cross.

52nd minute: Neto dances past a couple of challenges down the City left before Cancelo tackles him with the outside of his foot, which feels very on-brand. The corner is a dangerous one into the thick of the six-yard box but the visitors clear.

50th minute: Wolves still going for this, and why not? Guedes checks back on Stones and forced Rodri to boot his ball into the box clear.

46th minute: We're back underway. No changes for either side, which is perhaps more surprising from Wolves, given their predicament. Former City midfield enforcer Nigel de Jong has had his say on the Collins challenge on Grealish, as you might expect.

Halftime: Cancelo looks for Haaland as he just did in midweek. This time, the City striker tries to control it on his chest rather than finish taekwondo style and the chance is gone. Perhaps wise, given Collins' earlier dabble with martial arts. That's halftime and it's been an entertaining game. Saying Wolves have played well apart from conceding two avoidable goals and gifting City a stupid red card sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it's also sort of true. See you back here in a short while.

45th minute+1: We're into three minutes of added time. De Bruyne takes the ball down on his chest, it sits up invitingly but he drags the shot wide of Sa's right-hand post from 25 yards.

42nd minute: For those concerned that the game's gone - you just can't stud a man in the bread basket and get away with it nowadays - Akanji has just executed a perfect "sit yourself down!" shoulder charge on Jonny.

39th minute: If Wolves are going down here, they're going down swinging (no, Nathan, not like that - that's not allowed either). Neto cuts inside Stones and sends a shot skimming just wide of Ederson's near post.

37th minute: Grealish now getting roundly booed by the Wolves fans and called rude names for... checks notes... getting kung-fu kicked in the abdomen. Splendid.

33rd minute: RED CARD FOR COLLINS! Oh dear, oh dear. This is an unenviable task for the remaining Wolves players on the field. Grealish went to collect a bouncing ball from Cancelo down the left and Collins has - at best - horribly misjudged that and plunged his studs into the England international's stomach. Grealish is receiving treatment and the referee had absolutely no option there, I'm afraid.

28th minute: Silva finds Grealish, who curls over from 25 yards. Not a brilliant effort by all accounts, but further evidence of some of the old swagger returning.

26th minute: The Portugal midfielder - hardly a defining feature, there are loads of them out there today - duly blooters it over the bar.

25th minute: Akanji bundles Guedes over and this is another handily placed free-kick for Neves...

23rd minute: Chances at both ends as Sa does well to hold a Rodri drive before Guedes releases Neto to shoot wide across the face of goal. Wolves look bright in attack, it's just a shame about the chaos unfolding behind their lively front three.

22nd minute: I guess Wolves have to think outside of the box to get back into this and Neto has tried to award himself a penalty there. Well, he went down in a heap under minimal attention from Akanji then caught the ball on the floor as he protested. Referee Anthony Taylor penalised him for handball.

21st minute: Wave after wave of City attacks now. Sa gobbles up a Haaland cross but, after their good response to going 1-0 down, Wolves now look like a team with a potentially chastening afternoon in store.

So that's the thanks Wolves get for pressing for an equaliser. Haaland gets room to drive at the Wolves defence, Kilman at least shows him onto his weaker foot but Haaland finishes anyway, clipping right-footed into the bottom corner.

15th minute: Foden made a hash of the pass out of defence there and it should have led to a Wolves chance, only for Podence to float his cross from the right out for a goal kick. Well done everyone!

14th minute: Moutinho clips the top of the wall and it's a corner.

13th minute: Rodri is booked for fouling Nunes and he's furious with Dias for selling him short and giving the ball away in a dangerous position. Neves and Moutinho will like the look of this.

11th minute: There's some absorbing back and forth as Wolves try to engineer a way back into the game, but City won't necessarily mind that, given the space that could open up for the likes of Haaland and De Bruyne.

6th minute: City are slicing through the Wolves midfield. Foden looks to pick out Haaland but he doesn't get all of it on his weaker right foot and Collins is able to boot behind. Stones gets on the end of that corner too. Rodri bundles the ball out of Sa's hands and pops it in the net, but it's a clear foul.

4th minute: Handy response form Wolves, with Podence forcing Ederson to beat a shot behind at his near post. Stones gets up to clear the corner.

Well then, shove that up your prematch narrative. Foden draws Ait-Nouri towards him, finds the overlapping De Bruyne and the under-fire Grealish converts a doozy of a cross at the back post. Simple as you like.

4 mins from kickoff: Here come the teams, lead out by their managers for the pre-match tributes to Queen Elizabeth II.

15 mins from kickoff: On BT Sport's coverage in the UK, Rio Ferdinand has just been purring over Kevin De Bruyne's form during City's pre-match shooting drills. That could be ominous for Wolves — De Bruyne scored four goals in a 5-1 win for City in this fixture four months ago.

35 mins from kickoff: Kalvin Phillips isn't in the City squad, with the word being that the former Leeds midfielder has picked up another injury niggle. It's been a frustrating start to life in Manchester for Phillips and that'll also be new to concern England boss Gareth Southgate ahead of the forthcoming Nations League double-header against Italy and Germany

55 mins from kickoff: This is the Wolves lineup. Goncalo Guedes is in for the unfortunate Sasa Kaladjzic, whose ACL injury prompted Costa's arrival. Diego is nowhere to be seen in the matchday 18. Boooooo!

1 hour from kickoff: Here's the City team. Grealish does start, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Ruben Dias are restored as expected. John Stones will continue to fill in at right-back, although Kyle Walker is fit enough for a place on the bench.

1hr 20 mins from kickoff: If selected, former Aston Villa hero Jack Grealish can expect to enjoy a spicy welcome back to the Midlands. Grealish was substituted an before the hour with City 1-0 down to Borussia Dortmund in midweek, with his teammates going on to win the Champions League game 2-1. We don't need to tell you who got the winner.

"I know him and I'm more than happy with what he's doing,' Guardiola said of Grealish, citing the impact of an early season knee injury and also claiming the England star might have had more help from his colleagues against Dortmund. 'Now it's just a question of time to get back a little bit of his momentum that he had at the beginning of the season. We were lucky the injury was not worse. In the last game, he was the only one up front who made aggressive runs one against one. But to make assists, he didn't have his teammates in the box so we left him isolated."

Guardiola added: "When he went against the fullback, only Erling was there. Gundo [Ilkay Gundogan] was not there, Kevin [De Bruyne] was not there and they should be there. In the first half, we didn't make any movements to help the players who had the ball and give him possibilities to make it easier."

1 hr 40 mins from kickoff: A few statistics for you heading into today's game at Molineux: Wolves' Premier League games this season have featured a grand total of seven goals, with Bruno Lage's side scoring three of them. In his past eight games for Manchester City, Erling Haaland has scored 13 times.

It will be interesting to see how that unstoppable force/immovable object equation plays out. But Wolves also have some new firepower of their own. Diego Costa has signed, with all his inimitable stylings, on a free transfer.

2 hours from kickoff: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News' live coverage of Wolves vs. Manchester City in the Premier League.

Diego Costa joined Wolves on a free transfer in the aftermarth of Sasa Kalajdzic's ACL injury but he does not feature in the matchday 18. Goncalo Guedes comes into the forward line.

Bruno Lage's side have only conceded once at home this season, although with three goals scored they are the division's joint-lowest scorers.

Kyle Walker is back on the City bench after sitting out the Dortmund game, with John Stones continuing in the unfamiliar position of right-back.

Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden came off the bench during midweek to prompt an upturn in City's performance and return along with the rested Ruben Dias

MORE: The Cruyff wondergoal that Haaland recreated to spark Guardiola's Ibrahimovic comparison

How to watch Wolves vs. Man City

UK: BT Sport 1 will show Wolves vs. Manchester City live. The game is also available to subscribers via the pay-TV broadcaster's website and app.

USA: Fans can tune in to the USA Network or Universo in the United States, with NBCSports.com and FuboTV streaming the match.

Canada: FuboTV is also your destination for Villa vs. City in Canada.

Australia: Fans in Australia can watch the game via Optus Sports.

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