On the same game-week when Liverpool face their most stern test before the turn of 2019, Manchester City are also in for an intimidating challenge against the in-form Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The defending champions put on a compelling case of their dominance by coasting past Leicester before the holidays, but need to maintain consistency to even stand a chance of creeping closer to Liverpool on top spot.
Pep Guardiola is still without star striker Sergio Aguero, but his midfield mastermind Kevin de Bruyne is fit and ready to go after seemingly picking up a knock in the game against Leicester. Wolves sneaked a win against Norwich and will attempt to repeat it against the defending champions.
After the way Nuno Espirito Santo’s men humiliated the defending champions in the reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium, City won’t hold back.
It’ll be a similar case of the Citizens barging forward in numbers, but City’s defensive vulnerabilities will be taken as encouragement for the hosts.
With Adama Traore in blistering form, Raul Jimenez having found back his goal-scoring wits, Santo’s men should look to mount some devastating counter-attacks to seal an unprecedented double over City on Friday night.
Wolves Likely XI
Patricio, Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss, Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny, Traore, Jota, Jimenez
Manchester City Likely XI
Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Mendy, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Sterling, Jesus
Players To Watch Out For:
Adama Traore stripped off the cobwebs in his game to be an absolute nightmare for Wolves’ opposition this season, inspiring their attack with his influential work.
Traore’s pace and directness caused chaos at the Etihad, where he scored the second goal to seal the memorable win for Wolves. Since then, the Spaniard’s gotten even better with his electric forward runs and delivery in the final third.
With Benjamin Mendy’s defensive strength yet to be tested, Traore’s menacing presence will need to be dealt with in order for Guardiola’s side to seal a comfortable win.
Raheem Sterling(Manchester City)
Raheem Sterling’s experiencing somewhat of a purple patch after a stunning start to the campaign, but he looked to have that spark back in him during the weekend.
Sterling caused a lot of problems driving through the left against Leicester, but just couldn’t get his goal. He’ll want to do so against Wolves, but needs to be at his very best to open up their rigid defence.
But knowing the England international’s unpredictable burst of space, the knack of moving into all the right areas as well as finishing capability, he’ll cause the hosts a lot of problems. As long as he gets the right delivery, Sterling should cause chaos on Friday night.