WOLVES 0, MANCHESTER CITY 2
Goals from Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri condemned Wolves to relegation and put City firmly back into the title race following a 2-0 win at Molineux and a 4-4 draw at Old Trafford today.
It was the ultimate six-pointer at Molineux as Wolves needed nothing less than a win to stay in the Barclays Premier League for another week while City knew from the draw at Old Trafford that their title destiny was back in their own hands again as long as they beat Wolves.
What was once an eight point deficit is now just three and City will now return to the top of the league on goal difference if they beat United at the Etihad Stadium a week on Monday – a far cry from the situation earlier this month that prompted City manager Roberto Mancini to declare that the title race was over.
After the game, however, Mancini was still claiming that United would win the title though.
“United are favourites, they have three points more than us, and after the derby they have two easy games.” said the Italian.
“We didn’t play today like we did against Norwich. Wolves are a good side who don’t deserve to be relegated. They are a strong team who work hard every game and were unlucky this year.”
Ever the perfectionist, Mancini grumbled about his side’s profligacy in front of the goal including a particularly gilt-edged chance early in the first half for Aguero which would have broken the deadlock.
“We had six or seven chances to score more goals. For this I am upset – if you get a chance you should score.”
Both sides knew from the start that a draw wasn’t good enough and for 25 minutes Wolves set about City carving out early chances including a 12th minute David Davis shot that Joe Hart tipped away and a Richard Stearman scissors kick that didn’t test Hart shortly afterwards.
Wolves were at the bottom of the league for a reason, however, and their defence let them down several times in the first half as Carlos Tevez tried a shot after just 17 seconds while Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri were offered a hatful of chances only to fluff most of them, barely forcing Dorus De Vries, making his first start of the season following injury to Wayne Hennessey, to make a save until halfway through the first half.
Aguero finally got the goal that their attacking display had demanded when Gael Clichy nutmegged Michael Kightly and sent an inch perfect pass from the left – a superb chance on a plate for the Argentine and he couldn’t miss his 29th goal of the season.
City’s level dropped in the second half as they sought to protect their lead rather than build on it, and Wolves saw this as an opportunity to press the visitors. Steven Fletcher’s header forced Hart into a diving save but it wasn’t until close to the end that Samir Nasri finally put Wolves out of their misery after a quickly taken free kick following a foul on Carlos Tevez but, with Sebastian Bassong struggling with a hamstring injury, Samir Nasri was free to tuck his effort away past De Vries.
Aguero could have made it 3-0 late on but fluffed his lines when he tried to chip the ball past Berra while Stearman’s defensive header at the end had to be tipped away by De Vries as Wolves fans finally accepted their club was down while City fans celebrated in the rain.