MATCH REPORT: Manchester City 3-0 Wolves
Catch up on the biggest talking points and moments not to miss from Man City's 3-0 dismantling of Wolves at the Etihad.
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Man City 3-0 Wolves: Erling Haaland scores FOURTH hat trick of season
After slow start to the first half, the Norwegian striker was on hand to score his 23rd goal of the season, climbing high above the Wolves defence to head home a lovely cross from Kevin de Bruyne.
A deserved victory for City
City manager Pep Guardiola warned his players that they must improve after their midweek comeback victory over Spurs and they certainly did that today.
Erling Haaland lead the charge by scoring his 23rd, 24th, and 25th Premier League goals of the season to starve Wolves of chances in front of goal. Kevin de Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte enjoyed successful returns to the starting line-up on what turned out to be a comfortable afternoon for the hosts.
Wolves for all their improvements under new manager Julien Lopetegui couldn't avoid a sixth consecutive defeat to Man City who now hand the gauntlet in the race for the Premier League title back to Arsenal.
FULL-TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 3-0 WOLVES
Erling Haaland's fourth league hattrick of the season is the difference as City return to their usual dominance against a lacklustre Wolves side.
Haaland put City in the lead during the closing stages of the first-half before two quick-fire goals at the start of the second wrapped up his afternoon.
City move to within two points of Premier League leaders Arsenal ahead of their 4.30pm clash with Man United, while Wolves stay above the relegation zone on goal difference.
84' Podence almost pulls one back (3-0)
Daniel Podence seems to be the only Wolves player trying in the dying embers and he almost gets a goal for his efforts.
City give the ball away inside their own half with Podence pouncing and running at goal His first shot is blocked by Akanji with his second just missing the upright. Great shot.
83' Changes for either side (3-0)
Both sets of managers continue to ring the changes with just a few minutes left at the Etihad. Cole Palmer replaces Mahrez while for Wolves, Ait-Nouri is introduced in place of Bueno.
81' Gundogan heads over from close-range (3-0)
It should be 4-0 as Gundogan just mistimes his jump and connects with Bernardo Silva's beautifully weighted cross as he's on his way back down to the ground. That was brilliant play from the hosts that deserved another goal.
78' Rodri and De Bruyne make way (3-0)
Kalvin Phillips makes his third Premier League appearance of the season as he replaces Rodri in midfield. Bernardo Silva replaces Kevin de Bruyne at the same time.
70' Good save by Ederson (3-0)
Podence finds a gap in the City defence and attempts to chip Ederson. It was a decent effort from the in-form Wolves attacker but Ederson claims it easily.
67' Offside denies City a fourth (3-0)
Riyad Mahrez has just produced a delightful chipped finish and thinks he's scored but his run is offside and the goal is disallowed.
64' Wolves appeal for handball (3-0)
Wolves players are fuming after no penalty is given following Sarabia's shot from outside the box.
The effort is well-blocked by Ake and Wolves players surround referee David Coote demanding a penalty. Replays clearly show the ball hits Ake's chest first before his hand. Correct decision.
61' Haaland comes off to a standing ovation (3-0)
Three goals and that's Erling Haaland's afternoon over with City manager Pep Guardiola deciding to bring his star player off and wrap him in cotton wool. World Cup winning striker Julian Alvarez replaces him up top. Not a bad bench for City to call upon!
59' City in cruise control (3-0)
Wolves had a slim chance at half-time, now that hope has been single-handedly extinguished with Haaland scoring his fourth Premier League hattrick of the season. The visitors have a long 30 minutes to try and salvage some type of pride but City look hungry to make a statement.
54' GOAL MAN CITY - Haaland gets his hattrick (3-0)
It's 3-0 and goodnight for Wolves as Haaland gets his hattrick. Sa makes a mistake and Haaland finds himself with a simple finish from close-range. What a shocking mistake by the Wolves keeper!
51' GOAL MAN CITY (2-0)
Was it ever in doubt? Sa goes the wrong way as Haaland scored Premier League goal number 24 to put the hosts in control.
50' PENALTY MAN CITY (1-0)
Gundogan is tripped by Neves in the box and a penalty is given as the referee points to the spot.
45' Man City substitution (1-0)
The hosts also make a change with Nathan Ake replacing youngster Rico Lewis.
45' Wolves make triple substitutions (1-0)
Joao Moutinho, Matheus Cunha, and Pablo Sarabia are all introduced into the fray by Wolves boss Julien Lopetegui. Adama Traore, Raul Jimenez, and Hwang Hee-Chan all make way.
That says everything you need to know about what the Wolves manager makes of his side's attacking performance in the first-half.
City just about deserving of their lead
The hosts find themselves in the lead thanks to a terrific header from that man Haaland who bagged his 23rd Premier League goal of the season in the first-half.
It hasn't been the typical swashbuckling City side that we have become accustom to but they are deserving of their lead having dominated possession and will Wolves rarely venturing into the City half.
HALF-TIME: Manchester City 1-0 Wolverhampton
It's been a subdued performance from Pep Guardiola's side but they find themselves ahead at the break thanks to an injection of quality from De Bruyne and Haaland. Wolves have defended well but must look to be braver in attack throughout the second half.
45' OFF THE LINE (1-0)
The same duo are involved again as Collins stays on his goal-line to clear Grealish's header with Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa nowhere to be seen. A brilliant clearance keeps Wolves in this on the stroke of half-time. Meanwhile three minutes of additional time are shown.
45' City denied a penalty by VAR (1-0)
City are furious as Jack Grealish is brought down in the box by Nathan Collins. There's clear contact but no penalty is given despite a review by VAR.
The only explanation is that referee David Coote feels Wolves should have been awarded a free-kick in the build-up. The officials need to get a grip on this game.
42' Another staggering stat broken by Haaland (1-0)
Haaland has been nothing short of sensational since arriving in the Premier League in the summer with his goal against Wolves seeing him equal the same number of goals that won the Premier League golden boot award in the past three seasons 23.
40' GOAL MAN CITY (1-0)
It has to be that man Erling Haaland who out of nowhere finds himself on the scoresheet. The Norweigian makes a brilliant run in the box and is found by a delightful cross by De Bruyne before thundering his header past Sa.
35' Rodri blasts his effort over (0-0)
City almost pull of a perfect move that deserves a goal at the end of it. The Spaniard can hit them and he certainly connects with this one as he fires over.
31' Free-flowing City almost unlock Wolves (0-0)
Now we see City really start to increase the tempo as Rico Lewis, Gundogan, Kevin de Bruyne, and Jack Grealish all interlink with an eventual cross by the latter just failing to find its target. Much better from the hosts.
29' Wolves look scared to attack (0-0)
Wolves players have clearly been instructed to adopt a defensive approach to today's game but every time they are on the ball it seems the visitors are either passing backwards or losing the ball. Wolves need to be brave before they get overrun.
24' Another City corner is wasted (0-0)
Pep Guardiola told the media he wanted to see 'passion and desire' from his players after their midweek win over Spurs but so far his side aren't doing much to cause too much concern amongst the Wolves defence.
This time see's a powerfully-struck corner from Mahrez fires over the box and out of play for a goal-kick.
21' Wolves enjoying more possession (0-0)
After a nervy start that saw Wolves struggle to get a single touch, they are now starting to grow into this game as some neat passes around midfield allows a few players to get a touch.
Better from the visitors but they need to start moving the ball quicker if they want to try and hurt the reigning league champions.
19' City chance goes begging (0-0)
Star striker Erling Haaland gets his first sniff on goal as he finds himself in open space up against Jose Sa.
The keeper does well to close down the space with Haaland passing out wide and the resulting corner sailing over the Wolves box. The visitors then break through Nunez who is fouled on the halfway line.
13' Mario Lemina shown yellow on first start (0-0)
It's another card for Wolves as new singing Mario Lemina fumes at his team not being given a free-kick on the counter-attack.
He must have said something to the referee because he is quickly shown yellow before Wolves manager Julien Lopetegui is carded as well for erupting on the touchline.
11' Max Gilman shown yellow (0-0)
We have our first yellow card in this match with Max Kilman being shown a yellow card by referee David Coote.
The Wolves defender did touch the ball but caught Ilkay Gundogan in the chin with his shoulder and it's that reason why he is in the referees book. The City midfielder receives lengthy treatment before eventually getting back on his feet.
6' Wolves struggling to get on the ball (0-0)
It's always going to be a long day at the Etihad for any side but City really look up for this one and aren't allowing Wolves to even get a touch. City are looking to play wide through Grealish and Mahrez but the visitors are defending well and keeping their shape.
3' Early City corner (0-0)
City expectedly controlling the ball in early exchanges as Nathan Collins is forced to put a deep cross into the Wolves box behind for a corner.
There is some grappling inside the box while we wait for the corner to be swung in, John Stones goes down twice before the corner is eventually put into the box as Wolves clear well.
KICK-OFF: Underway at the Etihad (0-0)
Blue Moon echoes around the Etihad stadium and Manchester City get us underway.
How can Wolves damage City today?
With 25 points and 15 league places separating the two teams, you could be forgiven for thinking that Wolves have a chance at the Etihad today. But despite losing their last five meetings with Pep Guardiola's rampant superstars, Wolves have weapons of their own that the hosts will have to be cautious of.
Rico Lewis produced an impressive display at full-back against Spurs in midweek but will have to be mindful today as the relatively inexperienced youth comes likely up against the blistering pace and strength of Adama Traore.
The return of Laporte on the face of it strengthens City's defence but there is also an element of ring rust given his lengthy time out injured.
A surprise return for Aymeric Laporte
Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte has returned to the starting line-up for today's clash with Wolves by manager Pep Guardiola, but it seems an odd decision given the Spanish international hasn't played in the league since November's defeat to Brentford.
Laporte was an unused sub in City's win over Spurs and recent defeat to Manchester United with his only minutes of the new year coming in a Carabao Cup defeat to Southampton.
Nathan Ake seems unfortunate to lose his place but Guardiola clearly feels defensive performances haven't been good enough of late.
Will we see Wolves new singing Pablo Sarabia?
Wolves have been active in the transfer market as new manager Julien Lopetegui looks to reinforce his squad with enough quality to keep the club in the Premier League.
Their latest arrival Pablo Sarabia joined Wolverhampton in a£4.4m move from PSG earlier in the week. The energetic attacker has been included in his first matchday squad today and will be targeting minutes at the Etihad.
Is Guardiola's City future in doubt?
Pep Guardiola signed a new two-year contract with Manchester City at the end of last year. But the 52-year-old revealed on Friday that he would walk away from the club if he can't motivate his players to perform at the highest level.
Guardiola has so far won 11 major trophies with the club since arriving in 2016, but when asked about his future said: 'If I lose the team, I lose something. I can not be here.
READ THE FULL STORY BELOW
Guardiola insists it's his job to stop complacency creeping into City
Pep Guardiola's infamous rant about Manchester City lacking fire was based on personal experience at Barcelona player - and he's warned he can only work with players who show the right attitude.
City team news reaction
Pep Guardiola isn't afraid to shake things up if he feels certain players aren't performing and he has certainly done that with the omission of Joao Cancelo.
Of course he may just be giving the star full-back a rest but has clearly sent a message by allowing 18-year-old Rico Lewis to keep his place ahead of the Portuguese.
Nathan Ake has enjoyed a run of five consecutive Premier League starts at the heart of the City defence but has seen that run brought to an end with the return of Aymeric Laporte who will partner John Stones at centre-back.
WOLVERHAMPTON TEAM NEWS
Wolverhampton boss Julien Lopetegui makes three alterations to his Premier League team that scraped a 1-0 win over West Ham last time out. New signing Mario Lemina makes his league debut for the club, Adama Traore comes in, while Raul Jimenez replaces Cunha upfront.
— Wolves (@Wolves) January 22, 2023
🇬🇦 Lemina makes first start
💪 Raul and Adama in the XI
Here’s how we line-up to take on @ManCity.
MANCHESTER CITY TEAM NEWS
City boss Pep Guardiola makes two changes from the side that beat Tottenham with Julien Alvarez and Nathan Ake dropping to the bench in favour of Kevin de Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte. 18-year-old Rico Lewis keeps his place at full-back for a second consecutive Premier League match.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 22, 2023
🔵 𝘛𝘌𝘈𝘔 𝘕𝘌𝘞𝘚 🐺
XI | Ederson, Lewis, Stones, Akanji, Laporte, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Gundogan (C), Mahrez, Grealish, Haaland
Pep's strange new mood
Pep Guardiola is one of the best managers in the world, but his temper has threatened to boil over lately following a mixed run of results and uninspiring performances from his superstars. Finally in the wake of Thursday's 4-2 win over Spurs we saw the Spaniard's unhappy side.
The serial title-winner ranted at various reporters during numerous post-match interviews where he called out his players, the title-race with Arsenal, fans inside the Eithad and more.
READ THE FULL STORY BELOW
Every word Guardiola said in rants about Arsenal, Man Utd and fans
Pep Guardiola certainly didn't hold back in a scathing attack on his players and Manchester City's supporters following their comeback win over Tottenham.
The importance of today's game to both teams
Every match is important over the course of a season but as we prepare for the closing stages of January, today's Etihad clash has a lot riding on it for both teams.
A City victory would see the reigning Premier League champions close the gap on Arsenal to just two points and really put the pressure on Mikel Arteta's side prior to their evening crunch clash against fellow chasers Manchester United. Defeat for City and a win for Arsenal would stretch the Gunners' lead to eight points.
For Wolverhampton, new manager Julien Lopetegui needs to start getting results if he is to keep his side away from the relegation zone.
Wolves are currently above the drop on goal difference alone but could put three points breathing space between them and the bottom three with a surprising win today. A draw does little to help either side.
An easy day ahead for the Blues?
Manchester City haven't been at their typical best in recent games, losing to Southampton in the Carabao Cup, then getting beat by Manchester United in the derby, and having to come from behind against Spurs midweek to keep the pressure on Arsenal.
However, the record books show that despite being in mixed form, City should be confident of securing victory today. Pep Guardiola's side have won their last five encounters with Wolverhampton and have scored nine goals in the last three meetings between the two sides.
Welcome to the Etihad Stadium
Good afternoon and thanks for joining us for today's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Wolves.
It's a tale of two different ends of the table in Manchester today with the hosts seeking to close the gap on league leaders Arsenal and the visitors looking to put a three-point distance between themselves and the relegation zone.
Team news is expected at 1pm with kick-off at 2pm.