- Arthiac Team
It was far from convincing from Pep Guardiola's boys as they were put to the test by a resilient, compact and disciplined Wolves side who had their own ways of keeping City at bay, but it was Sterling's controversial penalty which gave the Citizens all three points in a cat-and-mouse chase for the title. Sterling's goal was his 100th strike in the Premier League. It took the Englishman 304 Premier League appearances to reach that feat.
Man City began the game on a bright note, taking the game onto their opponents, but the men from Molineux settled into the game and made it difficult for City to penetrate in between the lines. In case the men in blue did, the likes of Romain Saiss, Conor Coady came to the fore to deny the hosts.
Just at the stroke of half-time, Wolves' Raul Jimenez got booked twice and was sent off for a careless intervention during play. He came in from behind with a tackle on Rodri and then he denied the Spaniard from finding a pass as he didn't retrieve. Replay's suggest that the Mexican striker deliberately tried to stop the ball and he was rightly booked for the second time by the referee, Jonathan Moss.
However, that first yellow card was quite harsh. Jimenez made a decent effort on the ball while he was booked for the first time as he made a pretty good contact on the ball, but the referee had other thoughts on that challenge.
The second half began and Man City looked to take advantage of the deficit in personnel for Wolves, but Wolves were out there with a purpose even with 10 men on the field. It was about discipline and resilience for Wolves in the second half. Conor Coady's defensive header off the line kept the hosts waiting for their goal.
However, the visitors will feel unlucky and harsh when Jonathan Moss rewarded Man City with a penalty which came off Joao Moutinho's right armpit. Replay's showed that the ball made contact with Moutinho's armpit, but it was a tight call with the "sleeves" rule coming into play in that incident. The penalty decision given on-field was not overturned by VAR and Raheem Sterling claimed his landmark.
It was a soft penalty for the Citizens to gain from. In Moutinho's case, when you have your arms high up in an unnatural position, you're putting yourself in a difficult situation for the referee on field and the VAR team to turn the odds in your favor. In our opinion, it just wasn't a penalty!
The visitors will definitely feel unlucky after the penalty decision that went against them, but at the end of the day, they will surely feel that they deserved more out of that game. They had their minimal chances that caused the City backline to tremble, but they couldn't find the equalizer.
Wolves have not been prolific upfront. They are struggling to get things going in terms of goals and assists. The likes of Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore are clearly struggling upfront with the Spaniard not able to open his account so far this season in terms of goals and assists in the Premier League. That stat looks pale given the quality of those two players that we have mentioned above.
Nevertheless, Wolves are in the top half of the table because of their defensive contributions so far this season. In their last 11 Premier League games, they have lost just twice which included that last minute goal from Divock Origi of Liverpool which went against them. This is a Wolves side who have scored 12 goals in 16 Premier League games so far this season. That number is ridiculously low given the quality that Wolves have on the field. Yet, they find themselves in eight in the league table. They do what they have to do. At the end of the day, they definitely deserve a lot of credit for all that they've done so far. All that matters to them is that they finish in the top half of the league table and avoid dropping down.
Will the Citizens care?
Will Pep care?
He will. It's been two games now where his side have performed poorly. The first was in the Champions League where they lost against RB Leipzig. Even though that Champions League fixture was not going to cause the men in sky blue of Manchester any trouble, you still don't expect a star-studded Man City side to perform poorly.
A few days later, in the Premier League, against Wolverhampton Wanderers, they were poor again and they were not sharp in the final third, but they were fortunate and they got away with all three points.
We say that Pep will be concerned about his team's performances as they are showing signs that they are struggling without a central striker. As the season rolls on, there is no doubt that the upcoming tests will be much tougher and significantly important in terms of the title race where Liverpool and Chelsea are battling it out for Premier League glory.
However, he is an experienced manager and he'll accept the fact that his side were poor on the day and he will be hoping that his boys are much sharper upfront when they take on Leeds on Tuesday.