MX23RW : Monday, February 18 17:21:58

Live Commentary: Manchester City 3-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers - as it happened

Relive how Man City closed the gap on Liverpool to four points with a 3-0 win over Wolves, courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates from the Etihad Stadium.
Live Commentary: Man City 3-0 Wolves - as it happened
© Reuters

A first-half double from Gabriel Jesus helped Manchester City to a 3-0 win over 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Etihad Stadium this evening.

Jesus scored either side of Willy Boly's 19th-minute red card, a close-range finish from Leroy Sane's cross and a penalty after Ryan Bennett had fouled Raheem Sterling.

Referee Craig Pawson gave Boly his marching orders for a studs-up lunge on Bernardo Silva and Wolves were forced into defensive retreat for the rest of the match.

Wanderers largely held firm and were only breached once more after the break, with Kevin De Bruyne's cross deflected past Rui Patricio by Conor Coady.

Relive how City closed the gap on leaders Liverpool to four points with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates from Eastlands.

7.00pmManchester City kept their Premier League title defence alive with victory over Liverpool in a titanic tussle 10 days ago. The Reds seemed unphased by this setback in Saturday's win over Brighton & Hove Albion, so the pressure is back on Pep Guardiola's men ahead of tonight's visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

7.02pmThe Citizens seem to have returned to their thrilling best since toppling Liverpool, scoring a whopping 16 goals across two cup games against lower-league opposition. However, Wolves, who have already stopped City from winning this season and recently beaten Liverpool and Spurs, will provide a much bigger test.

7.04pmWith Tottenham Hotspur's defeat to a David De-Gea-inspired Manchester United at Wembley yesterday, City retained second place in the table but also found themselves singled out as Liverpool's only serious rivals, so they cannot afford any dropped points at the Etihad Stadium this evening. Here comes the team news...

7.06pmMAN CITY: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Danilo; Fernandinho, Bernardo, David Silva; Sane, Sterling, Jesus
Subs: Muric, Otamendi, Delph, Gundogan, Mahrez, De Bruyne, Aguero

7.08pmWOLVES: Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny; Jota, Jimenez
Subs: Ruddy, Vinagre, Saiss, Gibbs-White, Costa, Traore, Cavaleiro

7.10pmGuardiola makes seven changes from the side which nearly hit double figures past Burton Albion in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg on Tuesday. Four-goal Gabriel Jesus keeps his place up front with Sergio Aguero, who has been under the weather this week, in reserve on a blockbuster bench which also includes Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus celebrates completing his hat-trick in the EFL Cup semi-final with Burton Albion on January 9, 2019© Reuters

7.12pmKyle Walker is given a repreive after losing his place for City's last three Premier League games following a series of mistakes, but his return at right-back does not come at the expense of the versatile Danilo, who is enjoying his best run in the team since joining from Real Madrid last summer and is switched to the left of the back four this evening.

7.14pmThe recall of Walker is the only alteration from the City lineup which started the 2-1 win over the league leaders, with Vincent Kompany dropping out. Neither Bernardo Silva nor Fernandinho started either of their cup games last week, after the monumental midfield battle against the Reds so should be refreshed following a well-earned 10 day break.

7.16pmRiyhad Mahrez was a scorer against both Burton and Rotherham but has yet to produce a consistent enough run of form to displace either Raheem Sterling or Leroy Sane from Guardiola's most-trusted lineup. The Algerian winger has only found the net once in the Premier League since October but will no doubt play a big role somewhere in the run-in.

7.18pmAnother player who was on the scoresheet in both cup games was Phil Foden, but the teenage midfielder's hopes of more Premier League action have been dealt a setback tonight as he is left out of the squad, for only the third time this season. Fabian Delph has returned from a three-match suspension to provide midfield cover among the substitutes.

7.20pmWolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo took the refreshing approach of naming almost his strongest team for the FA Cup third round, and was rewarded with the major scalp of Liverpool. Matt Doherty and Rui Patricio return to the team in place of John Ruddy and Ruben Vinagre in the only two changes from the side which were 2-1 winners at Molineux.

7.22pmKey to the victory over the Reds was the presence of an extra midfielder and Leander Dendoncker is retained alongside Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho. The Belgian international, signed on loan from Anderlecht in the summer, did not make a Premier League appearance before December but seems to have worked his way into Nuno's plans.

Leander Dendoncker and Xherdan Shaqiri in action during the FA Cup third-round game between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool on January 7, 2019© Reuters

7.24pmDiogo Jota starts again as part of a two-man strike force with Raul Jimenez, after recovering from a hamstring strain. The former Atletico Madrid winger only managed 52 minutes against Liverpool but a free week has given him the chance to get back to full fitness. Helder Costa and Adama Traore are in reserve if Jota is unable to complete the full 90.

7.26pmCosta and Romain Saiss have paid the price for the disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace in their last Premier League game, but Nuno has not been one to panic and make wholesale changes as he gets to grips with the top flight. The Wolves manager has used fewer players than any other manager this season - 18 - with seven players starting 30 games or more.

7.28pmThat consistency of selection is one of the main reasons why Wolves have managed to get to grips with the top flight upon their return. A draw or better tonight will ensure they become the first promoted club to reach 30 points after 22 matches of a Premier League season since Birmingham City in 2009-10.

7.30pmThe West Midlands outfit have not only managed to adapt to the Premier League, but hang with the elite teams in the division. Wolves have the best record among the clubs seventh or lower against the Premier League's established top six, earning nine points including wins over Spurs and Chelsea.

7.32pmWanderers were the first team to take points off Manchester City this season when they held the defending champions to a 1-1 draw at Molineux in August, and they have been equally successful on the road against the big boys - drawing with Manchester United and Arsenal and winning at Wembley.

7.34pmWolves have not won consecutive top-flight away fixtures in a season since March to April 1981. They have a chance tonight as a result of their triumph over Tottenham in their final Premier League action of 2018, and following that up with victory at the Etihad Stadium would complete an almighty away double.

7.36pmThe Citizens boast the best home record in the division this season, winning 10 of their 11 home matches with the exception being the shock 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace over Christmas. Their last league defeat at Eastlands was last April's Manchester derby, although they have lost at home to Lyon in the Champions League group stage this season.

Lyon's Nabil Fekir celebrates scoring against Manchester City in their Champions League clash on September 19, 2018© Reuters

7.38pmGuardiola's record-setting goalscorers have scored at least twice in each of their last 12 Premier League home games. Surprisingly it was Huddersfield Town, who have just parted company with manager David Wagner, who were the last to stop City from doing this when they held the recently-crowned champions to a 0-0 stalemate in May 2018.

7.40pmWhile Huddersfield ran them close last season, the Citizens are unbeaten in 34 Premier League home matches against promoted opposition since a 2-0 defeat by Reading in February 2007, winning 30 of those games. Fulham have already felt the force of that record this season with a 3-0 defeat.

7.42pmWhile they are as prolific as they have ever been, City have been vulernable at the back in recent months and this evening could go nine consecutive Premier League fixtures without a clean sheet for the first time since a run of 10 in a row from February to April 2006 under Stuart Pearce, in a pre-takeover age.

7.44pmSergio Aguero has scored in each of his last five Premier League home starts so will be itching to bag another in front of his adoring fans should be be required off the bench this evening. City have a run of five games in 15 days coming up so I'm sure Guardiola will not use the Argentine unless he has to.

7.46pmSpeaking of modern-day Man City legends, David Silva writes his name into the history books tonight by becoming their record Premier League appearance maker this evening, his 267th English top-flight outing for the club. The Spaniard has registered 54 goals, 90 assists and won three championships.

David Silva in action during the EFL Cup semi-final game between Manchester City and Burton Albion on January 9, 2019© Reuters

7.48pmOnly this season have neutrals begun to appreciate that Fernandinho is equally important as Silva to the Guardiola way at City. The return to fitness of the Brazilian Fernandinho has coincided with the champions recording back-to-back Premier League wins, following a run of three defeats from four.

7.50pmAs exposed in his absence, one area where City's squad could do with strengthening is defensive midfield cover for Fernandinho, and they have been linked with a move for Wolves's Ruben Neves. However, Guardiola rubbished that speculation in The Guardian after hearing of the apparent £100m valuation, saying he would "never spend that much on a holding midfielder."

7.52pmLess than 10 minutes until kickoff at the Etihad Stadium, where Kevin De Bruyne finds himself on the bench. The Belgian appeared to storm down the tunnel after being substituted in the 9-0 win over Burton. Guardiola told BBC Sport this week: "If he has a problem, he knows where I am, so I don't know, really." Nothing more than frustration over injuries I suspect.

7.54pmHEAD TO HEAD: Wolves are winless in six top-flight away matches against Man City since a 3-2 victory at Maine Road in December 1979. They did hold City to a draw at the Etihad Stadium last season, in the League Cup fourth round; only for the hosts to progress 4-1 on penalties.

7.56pmAS IT STANDS: The Citizens can cut the gap to leaders Liverpool to four points with a win, while their biggest scalp of the season so far would take as high as eighth. A point wouldn't be enough for the visitors to regain their top-half position because of Everton's superior goal difference.

7.58pmPREDICTION: Wolves have not taken a beating from the big boys all season so they are not going to be easy prey for the hosts. However, City could not be more confident following the win over Liverpool and the cup goal glut, so I expect them to win by a couple of goals - 2-0 or 3-1.

1 minThe action is underway at the Etihad Stadium where Craig Pawson is our referee. A special shout out to all our readers from Merseyside who will no doubt be paying close attention, Wolves fans for the evening!

Pep Guardiola gives orders during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Liverpool on January 3, 2019© Reuters

3 minCity have started smoothly in possession without any early penetration, with Jonny and Doherty - both attacking wing-backs by instinct - sticking tight to Coady and Boly in the opening stages to prevent any gaps.

5 minIt is a little early for Wolves fans to be clutching at straws but here's one for the superstitious among them...

7 minThe Citizens string together their best move so far with Silvas Bernardo and David both involved. The ball is laid off to Sane who tries a right-footed curler which is blocked by Doherty on the edge of the box.

9 minThe pattern for this match already seems to have been established, with Wolves often occupying their own half with 11 men and City trying to break them down. I'm sure the visitors will come out and play a little later in the game but they are focussed on defending and nothing else for now.


10 minWolves's defensive shape is undone by two inch-perfect passes, firstly from Laporte who plays a delightful through-ball inside Doherty, and then Sane who squares right onto the foot of Jesus who cannot miss from six yards out. Doherty lost the run of Sane and it was ruthless from theron-in. A classic City goal.

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring against Wolves on January 14, 2019© Reuters

12 minWe've seen the bad of Doherty and now we see the good as he gets into an advanced position on the right. In acres of space, the wing-back is caught between crossing and shooting and eventually resorts to flashing the ball powerfully across the face of goal, failing to trouble Ederson in the net.

14 minYELLOW CARD!  This has been a decent response from Wanderers who burst forward again through Jota, and Fernandinho chooses to take out the Portuguese winger midway into his own half at the cost of a booking.

16 minSAVE!  David Silva lines up a strike from range and it takes a deflection off Coady on its way through to Patricio, who is forced to adjust his balance at the last minute and tip the shot over the crossbar.

18 minSTAT: The Citizens have never lost in any of the 19 Premier League games that Gabriel Jesus has scored, and the way in which they have started this match suggests that run will continue.

19 minRED CARD!  It has gone from bad to worse for Wolves, with Willy Boly seeing red inside the opening 20 minutes for an ugly lunge on Bernardo. It is a 50-50 there to be won, but Boly needlessly leaves the ground and goes in studs showing on the ankle of the Man City midfielder. He gets the ball but plays the man and there is no doubt that it was a dangerous tackle. Craig Pawson sees it the same way and gives Boly his marching orders.

21 minWolves were struggling to cope with 11 men so you really fear with them now they are a man down, with so long left to play. Dendoncker has dropped into the back three to keep the same shape and give Nuno some thinking time, but, really, what is there that he can do but limit the damage from here?

23 minCity will be sniffing another rout here and the excitement has got to Danilo who blazes his shot over the crossbar from 30 yards out.

25 minWalker gets to the right byline and fizzes in a cross towards the front post. Jesus is very committed to attacking the ball but only succeeds in colliding heavily with the woodwork, and there is immediate concern from both the City and Wolves players as the physio runs on to tend to the Brazilian.

27 minJesus has been deemed okay to continue - there was no way he was going to be volunteering to go off in this position against 10 men. Silva dances into the box and goes down claiming a penalty but Pawson does not punish Wolves on this occasion, and there wasn't anything unfair to Coady's challenge.

Manchester City midfielder David Silva in action during the Premier League clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers on January 14, 2019© Reuters

29 minMost of the rest of this contest will be played in the Wolves half, with City's defence pushing up high but they need to be wary of the ball over the top. Both Stones and Walker have been required to retreat to thwart Jota in the last couple of minutes. Might that Wolves role be better suited to substitute Traore?

31 minWhile this would be a million miles away from his usual managerial philosophy, Guardiola may take more satisfaction from keeping a clean sheet tonight than he would another goal glut. They've been in the goals recently, but are the only Premier League club not to record a shutout since the start of December.

33 minThis is purely a containing job from Wolves at the moment, but they are standing firm and City have yet to create a clear-cut chance since gaining the man advantage. Sterling did shake off Dendoncker to get away a left-footed shot but it was blocked by the foot of Coady, and was going wide anyway.

35 minSane looks like City's most dangerous attacker and has won the hosts a couple of corners in recent minutes with his electric runs down the left. Doherty, who is enjoying a fine debut season in the Premier League, is having serious problems taming the German's speed and movement.

36 minCHANCE!  Fantastic opening for Wolves whose hard work earns them a three-on-three situation. Jimenez shifts it left to Jonny, who might have chosen to shoot but instead passes the ball back inside to Jota and his stretching leg is just short of making contact with a tap-in. He may not have been expecting the pass.

38 minPENALTY!  City have a chance to extend their lead and effectively kill this game off before half time, as Sterling's extra pace allows him to beat Bennett to the ball in the box, and the Wolves defender clumsily brings down the England international with a hanging leg. Pawson points to the spot, and he's spot on again.


39 minJesus steps up, with a stutter, and buries the spot kick into the bottom left corner, with Patricio diving the wrong way. The Brazilian now has seven goals in his last three games, and you wouldn't back against him adding to that hot streak before the end of the night. Isn't a stutter now illegal, though?

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus scores his second goal against Wolves on January 14, 2019© Reuters

41 minThe travelling Wolves fans chant "2-0 to the referee", but when they reflect on the game in the morning I'm sure even they will concede that Craig Pawson has made the correct call on both the red card and the penalty, which has prompted a change in defensive concern from 'rearguard' to 'desperate'.

43 minCHANCE!  Danilo cuts back onto his right foot and delivers a cross which Sterling, who had squeezed between the two Wolves centre-backs, meets with his head but sends straight at Patricio. The winger is a much-improved finisher but has not mastered the towering header yet. If that's Jesus it's hat-trick time.

45 minThere will be three minutes at the end of this first half which has gone just as well as City could have possibly hoped. They are in complete control as they keep the ball and push Wolves back deeper and deeper.

45+2 minCity recycle a cleared corner and work the ball right to Sterling, who stands up a cross which is nodded off the head of Stones by Doherty as Wolves try to hold firm until the break without conceding another.



8.52pmTwo goals and a man up, Man City are in complete control at half time here with Gabriel Jesus having bagged both goals, one either side of Wily Boly seeing red for Wolves. Barring a second-half miracle from the visitors, Pep Guardiola's side will be within four points of Liverpool come 10pm tonight.

8.54pmWolves fans may be frustrated with referee Craig Pawson but can have few complaints with the two major decisions. Bennett on Sterling is a clear penalty - the Man City winger just too quick for him - and while Boly's tackle may not even have been a yellow 10 years ago, it was a red by today's standards.

Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Willy Boly is sent off during their Premier League clash with Manchester City on January 14, 2019© Reuters

8.56pmCity were well in control before the red card and had already taken the lead on 10 minutes. Aymeric Laporte came up with a pass that David Silva would be proud of to release Sane who squared for Jesus to score. A defender who can play that type of 40-yard through-ball - that's what the big bucks get you.

8.58pmWolves have an ally tonight in Liverpool fans, who were never going to take that red card to Boly lying down!

9.00pmMATCH STATS: Unsurprisingly considering that they had a man advantage for 25 minutes of the half, City finished the opening 45 minutes with 78% possession. Other than the two goals they only had a couple of shots on target but I'm sure they will smell blood upon the restart.

9.02pmBENCH WATCH: Pep may see what should be a comfortable second half as the ideal chance to get some more minutes in the legs of De Bruyne. Nuno did not make a change in personnel after the red card but may look to the pace of Costa or Traore as a forward alternative to chase lost causes.

46 minKICKOFF:  The action resumes at the Etihad, and indeed Nuno has made a change, bringing on Adama Traore for Raul Jimenez. The former Barcelona winger is more suited to that role and has the energy to take Wolves up the field but you have to feel it is almost an impossible job at this point.

48 minFernandinho slips a through-ball inside Jonny and Walker gets to the byline, only for Dendoncker to come across and block his low delivery, back off the England full-back for a goal kick.

50 minCHANCE!  Bernardo and Sterling play a silky one-two to get the Portuguese midfielder into the area, and his cutback rolls perfectly into the path of Sane, who shapes up a shot on his weaker right foot but scuffs it horribly out for a goal kick.

Manchester City winger Leroy Sane in action during the Premier League clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers on January 14, 2019© Reuters

52 minTraore has his first chance to stretch his legs and does so chasing down a lofted pass from Neves. The winger works space to get a cross around Fernandinho but there is minimal support in the box and City clear.

54 minPatricio is quick off his line to block from Sane at point-blank range, and the offside flag was up against the German anyway, who had strayed beyond Doherty just before Jesus had found the defence-splitting pass.

56 minWalker and Fernandinho have both unleashed shots from distance in the last couple of minutes, with Patricio showing good handling on both occasions. The Portuguese keeper has been an excellent recruit and will be kept busy in the next half an hour or so, you would imagine.

58 minSUBSTITUTION: Nuno makes a defensive change, bringing on holding midfielder Romain Saiss in place of Jota, who has been out with a muscle problem lately, and there is little point risking aggravating that chasing the ball across the City back-line.

60 minFernandinho superbly spots an interception in the Wolves half, sneaking in front of Traore and immediately trying to find Sane with a deft chip over the top, but the pass is just overhit and out of the German's reach on the stretch.

62 minSUBSTITUTION: De Bruyne is going to get another half an hour of game time here, with David Silva awarded a standing ovation as he leaves the field early on his record 267th Premier League appearance for City.

64 minDe Bruyne has slipped straight into the action, but this move is all about the movement of Sterling who spins away from Dendoncker and in behind the Wolves defence, receiving a return pass from the Belgian. Only good awareness from Coady blocks the winger's cross from going to Jesus.

66 minSHOT!  Coady's clearing header falls to De Bruyne, who meets the ball with a ferocious shot which may have broken the net had it been on target. As it was, it flew a good 10 yards high and wide of Patricio's goal.

68 minMore than halfway through the second period and Wolves have restricted the damage so far. This has been an admirable effort from the promoted outfit, when many other sides may have downed tools.

70 minSane dodges a couple of tackles and pokes a pass through to Sterling, but Patricio is quickly off his line to thwart the England international, who had admitted defeat and bowed out of the challenge.

72 minSUBSTITUTION: Final change of the night for Wolves as 18-year-old prospect Morgan Gibbs-White comes on for the vastly experienced Moutinho, who has put in a big shift since the red card.

74 minSUBSTITUTION: Change now for the hosts as Sane is replaced by his international colleague Ilkay Gundogan. That looks as though it will result in a more attacking role for Bernardo on the right wing.

76 minSUBSTITUTION: Jesus has been in the goals tonight, but he has also been in the wars and Guardiola chooses to spare the Brazilian the last 15 minutes or so, while denying him a possible hat-trick. Sergio Aguero is his illustrious replacement, and will want to get in on the act before full time.


78 minThe City players rush towards De Bruyne to celebrate their third goal, but it may well go down as a Conor Coady own goal. De Bruyne knocks a cross into the box and it takes touches off Doherty and Coady on its way past Patricio into the bottom corner. City have a third goal and it is the Belgian's, for now...

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with teammates after forcing an own goal during the Premier League clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers on January 14, 2019© Reuters

80 minThat goal from De Bruyne is Man City's 99th goal in all competitions this season - 18 more than anybody else in Europe's top five leagues - with PSG second on 81. Can they bring up the century in the closing moments here?

82 minWhile that statistic may not mean much to Guardiola, defending the Premier League title would and goal difference may end up playing a factor in what promises to be a thrilling head-to-head race. At the moment, City have a superior goal difference by +2, and a chance here to increase that advantage.

84 minConfirmation that Man City's third goal has now been awarded as a Coady own goal. De Bruyne would have been lucky to get another goal in that fashion after he fluked one similarly in the defeat to Crystal Palace.

86 minEderson has been a spectator in this second half so chooses to make things interesting. He is lucky to get away with charging off his line - the ball could easily have fallen to Gibbs-White, and then the Brazilian showboats by helping City keep possession 40 yards out from his unguarded goal.

88 minIt continues to be all City as we enter the final couple of minutes here. I think Liverpool fans switched over to Netflix some time ago...

90 minTraore gives something to think about with a burst forward but Stones gets across to make a block, at the expense of Wolves's first corner.

90+2 minThree minutes of stoppage time to play here. Credit to Wolves - a lot of teams with 11 men would have fared worse than they have this second half.


9.52pmA potential banana skin of a fixture goes by without trouble for Man City as they run out easy 3-0 winners over Wolves. The first-half red card to Willy Boly played a big part in that result but it cannot be argued that it's a deserved three points, as they move to within four of Liverpool at the top of the table.

9.54pmThat's it from our coverage from the Etihad Stadium. You can read our match report on the action here, and how that result impacts the Premier League title race with the latest top-flight table here. Thanks for joining me for our live updates this evening. Until next time, goodbye.

9.54pmThat's it from our coverage from the Etihad Stadium. You can read our match report on the action here, and how that result impacts the Premier League title race with the latest top-flight table here. Thanks for joining me for our live updates this evening. Until next time, goodbye.

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Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring the opener during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Liverpool on January 3, 2019
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1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
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13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
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20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

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