Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, and Phil Foden shone as Manchester City clinched a 3-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
Manchester City took no time to get going, breaking the deadlock mere seconds into the game, with Jack Grealish finding the back of the net after tapping in a peach of a cross by Kevin De Bruyne. Wolverhampton Wanderers then set about taking the game to the Premier League champions, with Pedro Neto forcing a sharp save from Pedro Neto.
But the visitors deflated Wolves in the 16th minute as Erling Haaland finished a well-worked Manchester City move from outside the box, his first such goal since August 2021. Things went from bad to worse for Wolves as referee Anthony Taylor sent off Nathan Collins just after the half-hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Grealish.
But despite the numerical advantage, the hosts blunted the Manchester City attack for a long time and even dominated the proceedings early in the second half. But the Citizens finally broke the shackles midway through the first half after weathering the storm from Wolves.
The reigning champions turned over possession smartly before Haaland and De Bruyne combined to set up Phil Foden, whose clever finish beat Jose Sa. Manchester City thus completed a 3-0 win over Wolves, with the result taking them to the top of the Premier League table ahead of Arsenal’s game on Sunday against Brentford. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.
.@PepTeam shares his thoughts on today's win ?
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 17, 2022
Ederson Moraes: 7/10
Ederson barely had anything to do apart from a sharp save to deny Pedro Neto in the first half. The Manchester City goalkeeper was busier with the ball at his feet than with his glovework, even though Wolves took the game to his team for large parts of the proceedings. He started the move that ended with Erling Haaland’s goal.
John Stones: 7/10
Stones started the game at right-back again in Kyle Walker’s absence and looked comfortable on the flank. While he did not foray forward frequently, the Englishman comfortably dealt with Goncalo Guedes’s threat. Stones moved into the midfield in the final ten minutes after Rodri’s substitution and looked at home in the position. He is showing promising versatility.
Manuel Akanji: 7/10
Akanji made his Premier League debut against Wolves and hardly put a foot wrong. The Swiss defender negated Daniel Podence’s threat for the most part while winning several duels. He was also precise with the ball at his feet, misplacing only three passes in the game.
Ruben Dias: 7/10
Dias was under the cosh when Wolves took the game to Manchester City. But while the hosts found some gaps in the visitors’ defence, the Portuguese international made solid recovery runs, including three interceptions. Dias also played out from the back smartly, completing 93 per cent of his attempted passes.
Joao Cancelo: 7/10
Cancelo did not produce a memorable performance by any stretch. But he was solid at the back and pushed Manchester City forward purposefully when he had the ball at his feet. The enigmatic full-back won 11 duels while creating a couple of chances. And some of his tackles on Pedro Neto were clutch. He also rotated the ball smartly in the build-up to Haaland’s goal.
Kevin De Bruyne: 8/10
Kevin De Bruyne in the Premier League this season:
◉ Most assists
◉ Most chances created
— Squawka (@Squawka) September 17, 2022
De Bruyne has been sensational in the early stages of the 2022/23 season, and he produced another top-notch display against Wolves. While he did not find the back of the net even once this time, let alone four times, he ran the show superbly and grabbed two assists. Both the crosses were inch-perfect, setting up Jack Grealish and Phil Foden beautifully.
Rodri was not always at his best on Saturday as Wolves found a way past the Manchester City midfield at times. But the Spaniard held the fort in the middle of the park smartly for the most part while completing 95 per cent of his attempted passes to keep his team on top.
Bernardo Silva: 7/10
Bernardo Silva was part of the move that ended with Haaland’s goal as he received the ball from Grealish before releasing the Norwegian through the middle. Silva’s first-time passes were delightful, and even though he was not at his creative best, he made his mark against Wolves.
Phil Foden: 8/10
Phil Foden was the player to watch in our preview, and he justified that tag with a solid showing against Wolves. The Englishman smartly released De Bruyne in the build-up to Grealish’s strike before finding the back of the net himself to round off the win for Manchester City. The finish with his weaker foot was impressive and shows how much he continues to evolve.
Erling Haaland: 8/10
Erling Haaland has equalled the record for most Premier League goals scored after a player's first 10 appearances in the competition…
…after seven games. ? pic.twitter.com/ahGhPwVTFQ
— Squawka (@Squawka) September 17, 2022
Haaland is in a league of his own right now among strikers in football, and the Norwegian ace took his tally to 14 goals across all competitions on Saturday. Haaland also became the first player to score in his first four away Premier League games, and his finish was top-class. He also made a mark with his hold-up play, linking nicely with De Bruyne in the build-up to Foden’s strike.
Jack Grealish: 7/10
Grealish set the ball rolling for Manchester City by appearing in the right place at the right time in the opening minute to convert De Bruyne’s exquisite cross. The Englishman was then involved in the build-up to Haaland’s goal, finding Silva in acres of space to release the Norwegian striker. He hardly ever lost the ball, keeping City on top.
Jack Grealish’s game by numbers vs. Wolves:
94% pass accuracy
4/4 dribbles completed
9/10 ground duels won
2 key passes
1/1 aerial duels won
1/1 long balls completed
1 shot on target
His best performance in a City shirt? ? pic.twitter.com/5wpcqNZgVU
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 17, 2022
Julian Alvarez: N/A
Alvarez barely saw the ball during his cameo, with Manchester City looking to keep Wolves at bay and see the game out.
Ilkay Gundogan: N/A
Gundogan gave Manchester City a stranglehold on the proceedings when Wolves still threatened to take the game to their visitors. It was a solid cameo by the Manchester City captain.
Riyad Mahrez: N/A
Mahrez looked to make his mark during his cameo and pushed Manchester City forward. But with the Premier League champions in cruise control mode, he barely got a chance to stamp his authority.
Cole Palmer: N/A
Palmer did not see much of the ball in the game’s final stage but completed all his attempted passes and showed some neat touches.
Sergio Gomez: N/A
Gomez barely had time to make an impression, with Manchester City in cruise control mode in the game’s dying embers.