Manchester City’s record winning sequence is now 21 thanks to two late goals from Gabriel Jesus and another from Riyad Mahrez.
Conor Coady’s first goal for Wolves since April 2018 seemed to stop City’s run, but Pep Guardiola’s team can still dream of surpassing Bayern Munich’s record mark of 23 consecutive wins for Europe’s top five leagues. City had hogged the ball, but like against West Ham last time, they were unable to turn this into a strong lead until late in the game.
They put David Moyes’s 2-1, and did not add to Leander Dendoncker’s own goal until Jesús and Mahrez made the score comfortable. City, then, have equaled a club-record 28 undefeated matches, and are 15 points ahead of Manchester United with 11 games to play – it’s their title to lose.
Guardiola demonstrated the quality of his team by replacing John Stones, Ilkay Gündogan and Fernandinho in Saturday’s win over West Ham, all replaced, by Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling.
Nuno Espírito Santo made a change from the tie with Newcastle: Ki-Jana Hoever replaced Willian José on the right back in a 3-4-3 as the Wolves looked to extend a league unbeaten streak to six.
They started as so many sides have against Guardiola: defending. João Cancelo slipped on Sterling and his shot was blocked by Rui Patrício, the Wolves goalkeeper.
The City left-back was once again involved when he encountered a Kevin De Bruyne wandering along his flank. The captain drove a smart ball but without material performance. Here, however, a familiar pattern was established: the city playing percussion passes to a beat and, when possession was relinquished, its pressure was ruthlessly executed.
Riyad Mahrez proved the latter when he squeezed Romain Saïss close to Wolves’ goal, the ball reaching De Bruyne and his shot claimed a corner. The Belgian sucked this towards Rúben Dias and the visitors were back in scramble mode.
Moments later Mahrez floated on a cross towards the leaping Sterling and Patrício fired away.
However, the goalkeeper was helpless when City attacked. This stemmed from a fluid play in which Rodri fed Cancelo who fed De Bruyne who returned the ball to Rodri. The Spaniard hit Mahrez with a curved pass that fell to the Algerian in the right channel, took it easy and launched a cross that saw Leander Dendoncker scoring an own goal as Sterling stalked.
This seemed like the competition was already over after only a quarter of an hour, unless the Wolves could stop the blue wave that washed over them again. Nuno’s men seemed stronger when they tried to circle City near Ederson’s goal, but City’s class allowed them to escape.
The wolves had managed to move the contest to the middle third, for his breath. But then City picked up the pace and a series of passes ended with Mahrez coming in behind, but the Wolves almost survived.
City’s number 26 was in the mood, but as throughout the half, apart from Mahrez’s assist, the final ball was missing.
This was reminiscent of the victory over West Ham, the total dominance is not reflected on the scoreboard. Laporte had a goal discarded offside by VAR – it was marginal – and Silva’s effort at the end of the break was saved well to his left by Patrício.
One glaring statistic was that the Wolves had yet to get into the City area when the second half began. Silva, then Cancelo, showed how with two crosses in quick succession pointing to Sterling and Gabriel Jesus.
Next, Sterling gave a pass from Cancelo to De Bruyne, set the pace and unloaded a shot through Patrício, the goalkeeper’s fingertips deflected. The Portuguese did the same from the right side, this time a flying jump that saved Mahrez’s shot.
Even so, there was no second City and Guardiola’s concern became clear when he took up residence in the technical area. West Ham had scored the equalizer before the break before the Stones’ goal and the coach did not want his team to back down again given his control. But now they were beaten. Rodri’s foul on João Moutinho earned Wolves a free kick from the latter. He turned from the right and when Rodri and Dias lost Coady, the captain deftly headed to Ederson’s left.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism