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Wolves struggle to put the ball in the net and Pep Guardiola’s side can exploit that weakness.
Back Manchester City to win to nil on Saturday (+160)
This is an attractive alternative to simply backing Manchester City to win. To find out how to bet the moneyline, and when it might be better to consider other options, check out our guide.
At the time of writing there has not yet been any official confirmation, but the Premier League looks set to resume this weekend with a reduced round of fixtures. The games scheduled for matchday seven were called off following the death of Queen Elizabeth II – a premature decision by England’s soccer authorities given that other sports continued as normal. Matches taking place in London this Saturday and Sunday are vulnerable to postponement because of policing issues, but those taking place outside the capital should be given the green light to go ahead.
The fact that Brentford vs Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City are among the games that might not go ahead this weekend means that Manchester City have the chance to go top of the table. The favorites to win the Premier League title with the best online sportsbooks are currently one point behind Arsenal in first place, but a draw at Molineux would be enough to see them rise to the summit of the standings due to a superior goal difference over Mikel Arteta’s men.
City will be pleased with how things have gone at the beginning of 2022/23. Liverpool, their chief adversaries in recent years and runners-up by just a one-point margin last season, have made an underwhelming start. Jurgen Klopp’s side may yet turn things around, but it is feasible that they will end the weekend eight points adrift of the reigning champions. Even at this early stage of proceedings, that is a sizable gap.
Erling Haaland has made a stunning impact in his first weeks as a City player, notching 10 goals in six matches to take control of the Premier League top scorer race. The Norway international has given City a focal point up front that they lacked last term, and somehow made the team even stronger than it was. Wolves’ defense will have its hands full in trying to keep Haaland quiet.
Wolves also have a new striker in their ranks. In fact, they have two – but Sasa Kalajdzic suffered the cruelest fate possible on his debut for the club by tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. He will be absent for several months, so Wolves have brought in former Chelsea striker Diego Costa on a free transfer to provide cover at the top of the pitch.
It will be intriguing to see how Costa gets on. His first spell in the Premier League was a huge success: he scored 52 goals in three seasons at Stamford Bridge, firing Chelsea to title triumphs under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte. However, he will turn 34 next month and has not played since he terminated his contract with Brazilian outfit Atletico Mineiro in January.
Costa joins a club that has struggled to score goals throughout Bruno Lage’s tenure. Last season, only the three relegated teams found the net less often than Wolves. So far in 2022/23, Lage’s charges are the joint-lowest scorers alongside West Ham United.
It is a problem of creation as well as conversion, although the fact that Wolves are underperforming their expected goals shows that they do need someone capable of rounding off moves in and around the penalty area. Costa could be that man, even if the former Spain international is likely to spend his first few weeks at Molineux as the back-up option to Raul Jimenez.
Manchester City have not been flawless in the opening weeks of 2022/23. They dropped two points in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Newcastle United last month, and were also denied victory by Aston Villa in their most recent Premier League outing. In both games City threw away positions of control to allow their opponents back into the match. Lage will have studied both encounters intensely in the run-up to this game, particularly after last weekend’s clash with Liverpool was called off.
But City have so much quality within the ranks that it is hard to see them slipping up at Molineux. Wolves are not short of attacking talent, but they lack a proven goalscorer and struggle to convert neat build-up play into clear-cut chances. Given that they will have little of the ball this weekend, that shortcoming is a major barrier to them springing a surprise.
With all that in mind, an away win to nil is the way to go. City will be keen to go top of the table as soon as possible, and they should be able to hold Wolves at arm’s length in the early kick-off on Saturday.
|Wolves vs Manchester City
|Molineux, Wolverhampton, England
|Saturday, 17 September 2022, 07.30 AM EST
|How to watch
|USA Network, fuboTV
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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