Thursday 22 March 2018

Wolves' woes continue as City gratefully accept gifts

It is a mark of Manchester City's lofty new status that three goals in a routine victory almost seems a disappointment.

Ten league games into the season and City have scored a staggering 36 goals, including six against Manchester United and five against Tottenham, so three against lowly Wolves, three days after rattling in five against the same opposition in the Carling Cup, might appear as though the brakes are being applied by Roberto Mancini.

The reality is anything but. City scored three, but they could have scored eight after Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey went from hero to villain to gift the home side the points.

Hennessey's first-half heroics denied City a healthy interval lead but his second-half display undid all his good work as Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov were gifted unmissable chances.

"Wayne has been fabulous all season," Wolves manager Mick McCarthy said. "So there are no recriminations from me. It's just another case of mistakes giving opponents scoring opportunities."

Although Stephen Hunt's 84th-minute penalty, following a Vincent Kompany foul on Kevin Doyle which saw the Belgian defender dismissed, ensured a nervous end to the game for the home side, an injury-time strike from substitute Adam Johnson restored City's two-goal advantage and maintained his team's stunning start to the season.

The mark of City's progress under Mancini was evident in the manager's programme notes for this game, with the Italian warning that the club must not "dwell on what we have done", and instead focus on using last Sunday's derby win as a platform for greater success.

And with the goals (almost) drying up against Wolves, Mancini was at pains to stress the need to keep expectations sensible. "It is impossible to always score four or five goals every game." Mancini said. "I don't know how many chances we had today, but their keeper saved everything in the first-half.

"In football, we need to be patient sometimes. Sometimes it is difficult to score, but it was important to beat Wolves today. After Man United, I don't want everybody to think every game will be easy. Football is not like that."

It certainly wasn't easy in the first half, as bad finishing and resolute defending by Wolves frustrated the home side, with Samir Nasri, Dzeko and Sergio Aguero all spurning chances.

Yet despite City's inability to capitalise on their dominance, it appeared inevitable that Wolves -- now winless in eight league games -- would run out of luck.

For Hennessey to suffer the misfortune of being the villain for the visitors was a cruel twist for the keeper, who had done so much to repel the home side in the first half. But the 24-year-old's lackadaisical 51st-minute clearance was charged down by Aguero and the ball dropped to Dzeko, who was gifted an open goal from 18 yards.

Hennessey's day worsened 15 minutes later when his failure to hold on to David Silva's 20-yard strike enabled Kolarov to convert the rebound from six yards.

At 2-0, all seemed lost for Wolves, but Hunt's penalty at least gave them hope of a fightback.

It proved forlorn, however, as City strengthened their grip on top spot with Johnson scoring their third in stoppage time.


Sunday Indo Sport

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport