Match report as Jack Grealish set Manchester City on their way to the top of the Premier League table with a dominant win over Wolves at Molineux; Nathan Collins was sent off for the home side following a wild challenge on the winger
Erling Haaland scored again as Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League table with a comfortable 3-0 win over 10-man Wolves at Molineux.
Jack Grealish opened the scoring in the first minute of the game before Haaland doubled the advantage soon after with his 11th Premier League goal of the season in just his seventh appearance in the competition.
Wolves’ problems were compounded when Nathan Collins was sent off for a wild and dangerously high challenge on Grealish that left Bruno Lage’s side with the unenviable task of facing the Premier League champions for an hour with 10 men.
Phil Foden’s second-half finish from Kevin De Bruyne’s assist – his second of the game – made it an easy afternoon’s work for Pep Guardiola’s team who remain unbeaten, the three points having also moved them ominously to the top of the Premier League table.
How Man City won it at Molineux
City had not been convincing in edging past Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday evening and with Wolves unbeaten at Molineux this season, there would have been some hope of a competitive game even if Diego Costa was not ready to feature for the home side.
But Grealish changed the mood after 55 seconds, converting De Bruyne’s cross from close range. The former Aston Villa captain found himself under scrutiny given his underwhelming form of late but his first goal of the season was some response.
Haaland’s goal was less of a surprise, only the nature of it breaking the trend of his recent strikes. This one came with his right foot and was his first from outside the area for City. The shot appeared to be a slight mishit but it was still too powerful for Jose Sa.
Bruno Lage made one change to the Wolves team that beat Southampton with Goncalo Guedes coming in for the injured Sasa Kalajdzic. There was no place in the squad for high-profile signing Diego Costa as he works his way towards full fitness.
Pep Guardiola made three changes to the Manchester City side that defeated Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday evening. Ruben Dias replaced Nathan Ake, Bernardo Silva came in for Ilkay Gundogan, while Phil Foden started ahead of Riyad Mahrez.
Wolves showed some fight in the second half but that defensive vulnerability remained and they were exposed again for the third goal. Haaland was involved in the build-up this time, feeding De Bruyne whose low right-wing cross was turned in by Foden.
It was a procession thereafter. In truth, it already was. Seventeen points from seven games for City going into the international break and perhaps a team that is easing back into what Guardiola calls ‘the right gear’. The final chant from the City fans? Super Jack.
Jack Grealish celebrates his opening goal in Manchester City’s win over Wolves
Grealish: ‘A long time coming’ | Guardiola: ‘He doesn’t lose the ball’
“I did enjoy it,” said Grealish afterwards, speaking to BT Sport.
“It was a long time coming, I have not scored since the West Ham game last season so it is nice to get off the mark this season and do it so early. It is a difficult place to come against a top, top team. They are so underrated this Wolves team.
“I should be scoring more and getting more assists. The only thing I can do is that and I am going to have people talking about me for the money I was bought for but if you look at my career, at Aston Villa I only got a few goals and assists in the Premier League.”
Guardiola also praised Grealish’s display.
“He played really good and strong, a good goal arriving there,” said the Manchester City head coach. “He doesn’t lose the ball and a good performance for me. Hopefully he can continue in the national team and come back fit.”
World Cup watch: Grealish’s chalk and cheese stats
Image: Jack Grealish during Man City’s 3-0 over Wolves
It was a great afternoon for Grealish, who produced an excellent all-round game which went way beyond his goal. The England winger completed 94 per cent of his passes, won 10 out of his 11 duels, completed all of his successful dribbles and even chipped in with a couple of tackles.
It is a far cry from his display against Borussia Dortmund in midweek, where he failed to complete any dribbles, tackles, crosses or win any duels.
Meanwhile, John Stones displayed further versatility as he finished this game as a central midfielder. Stones was already playing in his unfamiliar right-back role before he was moved and presents Gareth Southgate with multiple options this winter.
And Phil Foden‘s third goal of the season edged him further ahead in the race to start England’s first match of the World Cup against Iran on November 21.
The City winger is competing with Bukayo Saka and Jarrod Bowen in terms of players who have a similar style to him. Both of his competitors are yet to set the Premier League alight in terms of penalty box prowess so far this season.
Man City’s win in stats
- Manchester City are currently unbeaten in 22 away games in the Premier League, a run started just over one year ago against Leicester City. It extends the longest away unbeaten run in the club’s league history.
- Wolves have won just one of their last 14 Premier League matches, scoring just two goals across their last six matches.
- Ten of the 22 starting players in this match were Portuguese, setting a new record for the most starters from a specific non-English nation in the competition.
- Erling Haaland has become the first player in Premier League history to score in each of his first four away games in the competition.
- Haaland has scored 100 goals in his last 99 games in all competitions since leaving RB Salzburg in January 2020.
After the international break, Wolves face West Ham United on Saturday October 1 at 5.30pm, with Man City host rivals Man Utd on Sunday October 2 at 2pm, with both games live on Sky Sports Premier League.