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▶ Wolves end Manchester City's unbeaten, perfect start to Premier League campaign [2023/10/02   ]

Manchester City saw their unbeaten and perfect start to the 2023-24 Premier League season snapped on Saturday, as Wolves beat the three-time defending champions 2-1 at Molineux Stadium.

Wolves went ahead in the 13th minute, despite not attempting their first shot until first-half stoppage time. Pedro Neto worked hard to win the ball back inside his own half before going on a marauding run down the right flank, first getting the better of Phil Foden and then Nathan Ake. Neto tried to cross the ball inside the six-yard box, but Ruben Dias slid in to block, sending the ball high in the air and just inside the far post for an own goal.

Man City hit back through Julian Alvarez's free kick in the 58th minute, but the 1-1 scoreline was short-lived as Wolves refused to relent and continued to create chaos on the counter-attack. Hwang Hee-Chan had his initial shot blocked but the ball fell to Matheus Cunha atop the six-yard box, and the Brazilian patiently slipped it back to Hwang as Ederson scrambled across the face of goal. Hwang fired far post and found the back of the net to send the Molineux faithful into raptures once again.

Manchester City defense exposed without Rodri

Wolves are hardly the first side to think they could defend deep and hit Man City on the counter, but they are the first to try so against the champs without Rodri (suspension), the lynchpin of Pep Guardiola's side, in the team. Though they had just three shots in the game, Wolves found lots of joy on the counter and forced City into a number of emergency defensive situations on Saturday. Without Rodri marshaling the midfield and defense, Man City defended in a reactive manner rather than proactively winning the ball back and restarting their probing possession.

Even when they managed to clear the danger, it was still a small victory for Wolves as they made Man City's midfield and wide attackers come all the way back into their defensive half to put out the fire. As a result, Erling Haaland was left on an island (15 touches in 90 minutes), and the side's 21 shots amounted to all of 0.80 xG (0.04 per attempt).
What’s next?

Manchester City will try to get back to winning ways next Sunday (11:30 am ET), when they head to north London to take on last season's runners-up, Arsenal, in an early-season title showdown. But first, it'll be a trip to Germany to take on RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. Wolves will host red-hot Aston Villa at Molineux earlier in the day on Sunday (9 am ET).

Wolves vs Manchester City, final score: 2-1

Goalscorers: Ruben Dias (OG - 13'), Julian Alvarez (58'), Hwang Hee-Chan (66')
13th minute — GOAL — Ruben Dias own goal puts Wolves ahead early
58th minute — GOAL — Julian Alvarez fires free kick home to pull Man City level
66th minute — GOAL — Hwang Hee-Chan, Matheus Cunha win it for Wolves

Focus on Wolves
This was always going to be a tough season for Wolves but they are playing better than their points tally suggests. But that wasn't the case against Luton last week. Impacted by Bellegarde being sent off, Gary O'Neil's side took the lead but were then undone by a strange penalty decision (Wolves feel extremely aggrieved by refereeing decisions almost on a weekly basis now) and they could have lost the game. Still, four points from six games isn't a disastrous tally of points and they have played extremely well against some of the big boys so perhaps they could pull of a shock against City? Bellegarde will be missing through suspension, while Joe Hodge could be available.

Focus on Manchester City
The treble winners look pretty unstoppable and Erling Haaland is in his groove with so many talented attackers around him purring. Yes, they are missing Kevin de Bruyne through injury and they will now miss Rodri too, but this City squad is so strong and everyone is stepping up in every competition to get the job done. Injury wise, Bernardo Silva and John Stones are both battling back from injury while Mateo Kovacic is fit which is a big boost and along with Kalvin Phillips, he will help fill the Rodri-sized hole in midfield.

- The origianl text resource is from Yahoo Sports

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