MAN CITY 0, WOLVES 2
Manager Pep Guardiola described it as a “bad day” as Manchester City slipped eight points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool following a surprise home defeat to Wolves.
In one of City’s poorest performances for some considerable time, they were beaten by a brace of goals from Adama Traore.Embed from Getty Images
City could have no complaints as they were second best to Wolves who executed their game plan to perfection.
And it was the first time City had lost a league match at the Etihad without scoring for the first time since March 2016 against Manchester United when Manuel Pellegrini was manager.
City have also dropped five points in their first four home league games having surrendered only three in the whole of last season following a loss to Crystal Palace in December.
Guardiola admitted: “Of course it was a bad day and that sometimes happens.
“We were not at the level of previous games which had been good.
“We are eight points behind Liverpool. Results will dictate and there are still a lot of games to play.”
City’s manager refused to blame his makeshift centre-back pairing of Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho for the defeat.
He said: “We suffered as we lost possession in front of them.
“They were strong, physical and on the counter attack they were clinical.”
Guardiola admitted his side struggled to create chances unlike in the loss at Norwich where they had plenty.
“We have faced many teams who have defended but found a way to overcome that, but today had a problem,” he said.
Wolves’ manager Nuno Espirito Santo said: “I am very proud. It was a very good performance and more than that was the work of my players who ran like crazy.
“All the players did well and we have to congratulate them for executing the game plan.”
City made two changes from the side that beat Dinamo Zagreb in midweek in the Champions League.
Kyle Walker replaced injured left-back Benjamin Mendy with Joao Cancelo switching from right to the left as he made his first league start for City.
The other change saw Raheem Sterling replace Bernardo Silva.
Wolves ought to have taken a fifth-minute lead when Patrick Cutrone was put clean through but he sliced his shot well wide with only goalkeeper Ederson to beat.
The visitors were forced into a 13th minute lead when Romain Saiss limped off to be replaced by Ryan Bennett.
City had another let off after Wolves intercepted a careless midfield pass as Raul Jimenez weaves his way clear only for Fernandinho to block his shot and Cutrone’s follow-up effort.
City again gave away the ball enabling Jimenez a sight of goal and this time Ederson saved bravely at his feet as the home side lived dangerously.
It took City more than half an hour before forcing a save from Rui Patricio who was belatedly called into action to turn away a goalbound shot from Sterling.
Patricio had to be alert just before the break to keep out a drive from Walker.
It was a measure of how poor City were in the first half that Guardiola made a change at the break as Oleksandr Zinchenko replaced Walker who the manager explained had been suffering from illness.
And with fortunes failing to improve, Guardiola was forced into further action on the hour as Riyad Mahrez made way for Bernardo Silva.
City made a great chance to make the breakthrough mid-half when David Silva, fouled just outside the box, curled the free kick over the defensive wall and saw it strike the crossbar.
Guardiola made his third change with 15 minutes left as David Silva was replaced by Gabriel Jesus.
It was Wolves who made the breakthrough with 10 minutes left after a counter attack.
Jimenez broke and forced Otamendi to a rash dive before slipping the ball to Traore who was free to his right as he race into the penalty area before slotting the ball low past Ederson, only his second goal in the Premier League.
Wolves sealed victory in the fourth of five added minutes following another counter attack.
Jimenez again broke and slipped a pass to his right to release Traore who again placed a shot low to the left of Ederson.