Premier League Stats
Wolves has been a hard game for us recently, especially since their return to the Premier League. Last season they even did a double over us. Nothing to split the two teams in last five meetings; two wins each and a draw in the Recent Meetings record says it all.
The overall Head-to-Head stats are in our favour but that's because of their earlier seasons in the league when they were always fighting relegation. We have played them a total of 13 times, winning seven of them (four at home and three away) while drawing twice. They on the other hand have managed a total of four wins. Their only away win came when they visited Etihad last time around.
They haven't quite reached the heights of last two seasons when they finished seventh on both occasions. The Season So Far puts them at 12th at present but no one should be surprised if they finish in the top half of the table for their third season running, since returning to the Premier League.
The Form Guide reflects that we remain the best team in the league; they don't play their game this weekend till later this evening. I will update these tables below tomorrow when they have also played their latest game.
- Minus Two + Plus Two
Our very first game of the season (Aston Villa) was postponed due to the league giving us an extra week off. Us and Manchester United both ... due to the involvement in European competitions. What this did was, we always had a game in hand and were always an extra few places below our competitors in the league table. Eventually this game was rescheduled to be played in mid January ... but before this could take place, we had another game postponed, the Everton one due to COVID-19, and we went from having one game in hand to two games in hand over most of our rivals. We have now finally just about caught up with those two games when we played Everton a week and a half ago.
All this while we had to look at a rather distorted league table ... we were never really X no. of points behind the league leaders or Y no. of points off the top four, because we had not played the same no. of games as they had. But it was (conveniently) overlooked when reporting on our position being so low ... or equally how far ahead the team at the top was (especially if that team wore the colour red). It was a gift too easy not to use to build a narrative showcasing City being finished ... or how good the team of the century was even in the pandemic season ... or in later weeks how United was back.
The tables have since turned ... we have gone from X amount of points behind to Z points ahead while also catching up on those two games in hand ... and now the tables are going to turn a little bit more ...
In the next week and a half we are going to play two extra games than most of our rivals ... these games are being preponed due to not much space available for them later in the season. The first one is because of us reaching the Quarter Final of the FA Cup which was originally scheduled on the 20th March (in Premier League gameweek 29) and the second one is due to the Carabao Cup Final now taking place at the end of April (in Premier League gameweek 33). We are playing those two games in the next two gameweeks (26 and 27) ... so in short we'd have played a game more over some teams when we play Wolves this midweek and two games more (one over some, who also play an extra game this mid-week) when we play Southampton next mid-week.
And this going from two games behind to a game or two ahead will last us till that Carabao Cup Final at the end of April. But don't expect our media to forget this little fact this time unlike when we were behind on games played; you will hear about it plenty and every report will highlight that whatever points we are ahead is false position because we have now played more games or more specifically when report is about how far behind Liverpool or United are from us. But never mind how it's reported or not ... that extra three or six points put up in the league table will only further demoralize the chasing pack (assuming obviously that we win these two games).
Food for thought: Could we become the first team in the Premier League history to win the League before the League Cup?
Before & After
Yes I am aware that all the talk for us is going to be about what comes after this tie ...
But as far as this fixture is concerned ... we are slightly better off than our opposition as they have less days (and hours) gap on both side of this fixture. They play later this evening, hours after us and are away in Newcastle. Also, while we are on this run of four consecutive home games, Wolves have three away games in a row ... and like us they also have a derby to perhaps keep an eye on after this fixture.
These are their (and our) games around this tie:
Sat 27 - 8:00pm - Newcastle United (A) - PL
Tue 2 - 8:00pm - City (A) - PL
Sat 6 - 5:30pm - Aston Villa (A) - PL
Sat 27 - 12:30pm - West Ham (H) - PL
Tue 2 - 8:00pm - Wolves (H) - PL
Sun 7 - 4:30pm - Manchester United (H) - PL
Anyone wanting to catch them in action later on tonight ... their game before us is against Newcastle (A) and will be live on Sky Sports (in UK); kicks off at 8:00pm.
When these midweek games were rescheduled I was worried this being put in just before the derby ... but we have been fortunate that this is the earliest of the midweek games (on Tuesday) and the derby was also moved (to Sunday) for TV ... so that being five days later now gives us plenty of time to not worry about thinking ahead of a game against our title rivals (are we still calling them that?)
Wolves sold two of their first choice players in Jota and Doherty to teams around them in the table (historically at least) and for not too much money either at the start of the season which frankly surprised me a little. Not sure if it was their owners' pockets not being as deep as they were boasting or if their super-agent influencer had incentives of his own to move those players around. Either way ... that, coupled with the early season injury to Raul Jimenez, meant they didn't start the season as well as they were expected to ... the expectations that they had elevated themselves due to their performances over the last two seasons.
Jimenez remains side-lined after that skull fracture and along with him on their injury list are two more key players in Podence and Boly. Since they play once more before us, the injury/suspension situation might change further by the time they come to the Etihad.
I think most of you will agree with me if asked to point out the best performances of this season for us and Chelsea (A) in January would probably top the list ... but Wolves (A), our first game of the season won't be far behind. Yes we have been winning games in a row recently and there's that consistency which wasn't there at the start of the season but that swashbuckling style and fluidity in movement all over the pitch in the first half of that game was surely a thing of beauty and that sent alarm bells ringing across the league that we meant business. Sure, we didn't follow it through in our early season on form but our performance in that reverse fixture remains right up there amongst one of the best this season.
Where the two teams are now ... play half that good and it'd be good enough for all three points!
Back to keeping clean sheets ... another win ... c'mon City!
Manchester City 3 - 0 Wolverhampton Wonderers