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Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Manchester City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of the Premier League clash between Wolves and Manchester City.

Manchester City make the trip to Molineux to face Wolverhampton Wanderers having started the defence of their Premier League crown with victories over Arsenal and Huddersfield Town.

Newly-promoted Wolves have been handed a tough start to the campaign, but head coach Nuno Espirito Santo will relish the opportunity for his side to test themselves against the best team in the country.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo watches on during his side's Premier League clash with Everton on August 11, 2018© Reuters

Wolves have made an impression in their opening two games back in the top flight, earning a gutsy draw against Everton and suffering a defeat against Leicester City only after the woodwork had been struck three times.

However, a return of just one point from six has epitomised a fact that what Wolves would have already been aware of, and that is that they will have to show a clinical touch in the final third if they want to achieve their aims this season.

Wolves are unlikely to get too despondent if they fail to collect many points from their first half-a-dozen fixtures - next up are trips to West Ham United and Manchester United either side of a home clash with Burnley - but one victory could really kick-start their campaign.

There is an argument that Wolves played better in defeat at the King Power Stadium than they did in the four-goal thriller with Everton, and Nuno will need his side to build on that display if they to have a chance of stifling the champions at Molineux.

Nuno has maintained that he will keep to his philosophy throughout the season, but Saturday's fixture is the first time that we get to see whether the Portuguese will opt to stick an extra man in midfield in a bid to combat the extra quality coming from the opposition.

Ruben Neves - an alleged target of City - and Joao Moutinho will provide the passes and creativity, but Wolves have missed Romain Saiss in their opening two games and the Morocco international will be ready to be recalled into the starting lineup.

Nuno must also decide when to fully integrate his most recent signings, with Adama Traore making an impression off the bench against the Foxes and Leander Dendoncker being brought to the club for fixtures such as the one this weekend.

Some of Wolves' heroes from last season are yet to show their quality in the opening two matches, but the presence of Traore and Dendoncker could act as the catalyst for an improved showing.

Recent form: DL

Manchester City

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola watches on during the Premier League clash with Southampton on May 13, 2018© Reuters

Pep Guardiola has found himself hindered by a number of his first-team squad making a late return from the World Cup, as well being dealt a blow with Kevin De Bruyne sustaining a knee injury which will keep him sidelined for three months.

However, City are showing that they continue to take everything - good and bad - in their stride, and it is already looking like it will take some effort to prevent the North-West outfit from retaining their top-flight crown.

The opening-weekend triumph over Arsenal was business-like, but City were relentless against Huddersfield last Saturday and should have scored more than the six goals which they netted at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola would have been irritated by the manner of the goal that they conceded - which came from a long throw - but the Spaniard will know that the Huddersfield's consolation goal was a result of complacency more than anything else.

That close-range effort from Jon Gorenc Stankovic also gives Guardiola the chance to stress that his team are still far from the finished article, and a trip to well-fancied Wolves provides a platform for City to make another statement.

Three points in the West Midlands will be Guardiola's priority, but the City boss will also want to get the better of Nuno with the pair both looking to play football in a similar manner.

Wolves failed to take their chances against Leicester, but it was a different story as far as Sergio Aguero was concerned with the forward netting his ninth Premier League hat-trick last weekend.

The long-serving attacker has not always been first choice under Guardiola, but the Argentine is currently giving his manager little choice but to select him in the final third.

Recent form: WW
Recent form (all competitions): WWW

Team News

Adama Traore in action for Middlesbrough during the Championship playoff semi-final on May 15, 2018© Reuters

Nuno must decide whether to hand a first start to Traore or look to use the former Middlesbrough man as an impact substitute in the second half.

The Wolves head coach has said that Dendoncker "could" be in the squad, and Saiss is an option on either the right side of defence or in midfield.

Matt Doherty is likely to feature, despite having to be substituted after a challenge from Jamie Vardy last weekend.

Guardiola has reiterated that his squad have still not reached full fitness since the World Cup, and that could result in changes being made for the game at Molineux.

Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling could both come back into the starting lineup, while Nicolas Otamendi is an option having failed to feature in the first two fixtures.

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny; Jota, Traore, Jimenez

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Mendy; Fernandinho, Gundogan; Sterling, D.Silva, Sane; Aguero

Head To Head

Saturday's fixture represents the 118th competitive meeting between the two sides, with City claiming 47 victories in comparison to 46 wins for Wolves.

However, City have prevailed in seven of the eight matches since 2009, although Wolves took Guardiola's men the distance when the teams last squared off in the EFL Cup last season.

Both teams squandered a number of chances at the Etihad Stadium but after a goalless draw, City eventually emerged victorious in a penalty shootout.

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We say: Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-3 Manchester City

Wolves may have been able to keep out City for 120 minutes in the EFL Cup less than 12 months ago, but that may only increase Guardiola's desire to ensure that lightning does not strike twice. We expect a clinical, ruthless display from the champions.

Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Wolves and Manchester City?

Manchester City
Manchester City
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CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416

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