At Molineux, both teams will be looking to bounce back from their midweek EFL Cup exits. It’s our Wolves vs Manchester City prediction and preview.
Wolves vs Manchester City: The Quick Hits
- Manchester City are favourites to make it seven wins from seven to start the Premier League season, with the Opta supercomputer giving them a 62% chance of victory at Molineux.
- The visitors will be without the suspended Rodri; they’ve lost four of their last 14 Premier League games when the influential midfielder has been absent.
- Wolves are looking to end a run of four games in all competitions without a win (D1 L3).
When preparing to take on a team who not only won the treble last season but have also started the new campaign winning six from six in the league, losing to lower league opposition a few days prior is hardly ideal.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have had a mixed start to the season, but blowing a 2-0 lead at Ipswich Town to lose 3-2 and crash out of the EFL Cup on Tuesday was a low point for Gary O’Neil’s men.
Saturday sees them host Manchester City, who arrive having also exited the EFL Cup, losing 1-0 at Newcastle United on Wednesday. City are top of the Premier League as the only team with a 100% record, though, and are looking to become just the third side to win each of their opening seven matches in a season in the competition, after eventual champions Chelsea in 2005-06 (first nine) and Liverpool in 2019-20 (first eight). It would be the first time City have managed to win their first seven games of a top-flight season, though they did win that many in the second tier way back in 1897-98.
Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering team have accumulated 71 points in the Premier League in 2023, 16 more than anyone else (W23 D2 L3). They have also scored the most goals (66) and conceded the fewest (20) of any ever-present side this calendar year.
They’ll have to get by without their crucial midfield general, Rodri, though. The Spain international was sent off last time out against Nottingham Forest and so will be suspended for Man City’s visit to Molineux. Since the start of the 2019-20 campaign, City have lost four of the 14 Premier League games Rodri has missed (W9 D1). Unsurprisingly, Rodri leads the league for completed passes this season heading into the weekend (616).
Without Rodri in the second half of the 2-0 win over Forest, City completed just 82 passes, their fewest in a half of league football since September 2013 against Manchester United (76 in the second half), and the second-fewest ever recorded by a Guardiola team in a single half of top-flight football, only ahead of the 73 by Barcelona in the first half against Málaga in November 2008.
Wolves will also be missing a player through suspension after Jean-Ricner Bellegarde was shown a red card for kicking out at Tom Lockyer in the 1-1 draw at Luton Town last weekend. Since the start of last season, Wolves have received more red cards than any other Premier League side (eight), with Bellegarde joining Nathan Collins, Diego Costa, Nélson Semedo, Mario Lemina, Matheus Nunes (twice) and Jonny Otto in receiving marching orders in that time.
O’Neil can turn to the in-form Pedro Neto, though, who was rested against Ipswich. Neto has either scored or assisted in each of Wolves’ last four Premier League matches (one goal, four assists). Only two players have been involved in at least one goal in five Premier League appearances in a row for Wolves – Henri Camara (March – May 2004, seven) and Steven Fletcher (May – August 2011, five).
Wolves vs Manchester City Head-to-Head
There was a time, particularly in the 2019-20 campaign, when Wolves seemed to have Manchester City’s number. In that season, Wolves did the double over Guardiola’s men. However, it has been City dominance since then, winning their last six meetings by an aggregate score of 19-3.
Man City have won their last three Premier League away games against Wolves, as many as they’d managed in their previous 12 league visits to Molineux (D2 L7).
Last season saw City win both games 3-0, with their last trip to Wolverhampton in September 2022 including goals from Jack Grealish, Erling Haaland and Phil Foden.
Guardiola also enjoys coming up against English managers, having won 40 of his last 44 Premier League matches against them (D3 L1). That includes each of the last nine in a row, one of which was a 4-1 win over O’Neil’s Bournemouth back in February.
Wolves are without a league win in September (D1 L2), having not claimed three points since the 1-0 win at Everton in late August. They are without a win in their last four in all competitions.
They can take some solace from the fact just two of their six league games have been at home, though they lost both of those (4-1 vs Brighton, 3-1 vs Liverpool). Should they lose again on Saturday, Wolves will have been beaten in their opening three home games in a league campaign for only the third time, after 1986-87 (fourth tier) and 2021-22 (Premier League).
As mentioned, Man City are on course to win their first seven league games in the top flight for the first time ever, having already dispatched Burnley, Newcastle, Sheffield United, Fulham, West Ham and Nottingham Forest, though Newcastle gained some manner of revenge on Wednesday when Alexander Isak’s goal at St. James’ Park was enough to end City’s EFL Cup hopes.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Wolves vs Manchester City Prediction
Unsurprisingly, the Opta supercomputer believes that the team who can’t stop winning in the league will win once again. Manchester City are given a 62% chance of victory at Molineux.
Wolves won this game 14.4% of the time during the supercomputer’s 10,000 simulations of it, meaning that it was a draw on 23.6% of occasions. O’Neil might take some hope from the fact his team are judged to have a 38% chance of coming away with something from the game and becoming the first team to halt Guardiola’s machine this season.
As for the overall campaign, the season simulator gives Wolves a 17% probability of being relegated, but believes their likeliest finish will be 15th place.
City are still heavy favourites to become the first team in English football history to win the top-flight title four times in a row, with the supercomputer giving them an 89.5% chance.