After the opening day victory against Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City marked their first fixture this campaign at Eastlands with a 1-0 win over a battling Wolves side. A second goal in two games for summer signing Emmanuel Adebayor handed the Blues the three points, but the victory margin should have been greater than just a single goal. Converting only one of their sixteen shots, City displayed the profligacy that should have disappeared with the arrivals of the afore-mentioned Adebayor, Carlos Tevéz and Roque Santa Cruz, but a win is a win, and we should therefore put any complaints on the backburner.
Unfortunately, due to time constraits, there is no time for a full length review, so I will try and condense the important details into this brief, but hopefully still worthwhile, article. Courtesy of this victory, City currently lie in fifth position, level on points with rivals Manchester United, and with a game in hand. Altogether, this was not a thoroughly convincing performance by the Citizens, and truth be told, we were hanging in at the end a little bit. Wolves, poor in the first half, were clearly boosted by the half-time words of manager Mick McCarthy, himself a former City player who represented the Blues on 140 occasions, and in the second half they came out fighting, putting City under periods of sustained pressure. However, the home side were probably good value for the win, although stiffer challenges await and the Blues must improve.
Mark Hughes saw his side record their second Premier League win in succession
Blues boss Mark Hughes made only one change to the team which performed so heroically against Blackburn Rovers, replacing Welsh international Craig Bellamy with former Man United heart-throb Carlos Tevéz, who made his first start at the City of Manchester Stadium. Wolves were able to call upon the services of defender Michael Mancienne, on loan from Chelsea, but were without their most potent striker, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Chances were galore as City piled on the pressure early on, but Robinho and Adebayor both saw shots saved. Gareth Barry, playing in a central midfield role alongside Stephen Ireland, saw his free-kick come close, whilst Shay Given kept City in the game at the other end with a spectacular save from Matt Jarvis, the result of a rare Wolves attacking foray.
For all the pressure and possession they had, the Blues were unable to find a way past Wayne Hennessey, once on City’s youth books, in the Wolves net. That all changed however in the seventeenth minute, when a Wayne Bridge cross was cushioned by Tevéz into the path of his striker partner Adebayor, who lashed home to beat Hennessey at his front post.
Adebayor celebrates after putting City ahead
As the period of fifteen minutes for half-time came and went, City yet again searched for that second goal. Stephen Ireland, last season’s undoubted player of the year, inexplicably fired wide when through on goal, whilst Robinho saw his goal correctly disallowed for being offisde. Emmanuel Adebayor arguably missed the most gilt-edged oportunity, firing into the side netting after taking the ball round Hennessey. His touch took him too wide, and the Togo international will have to do better in future.
As the visitors then pressed, substitute Kevin Doyle, signed recently from Reading, saw his speculative volley cannon off the crossbar with Given, for once, beaten. Richard Dunne and Kolo Touré then expertly marshalled the City rearguard as Wolves launched an aerial assault, and the final whistle went to signal a second win on the trot for the Blues.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy felt his side deserved a point
GIVEN – Made one superb save from Jarvis and generally coped very well. Oozes confidence – 7.5
RICHARDS – Very poor positioning as expected, but outstanding in the air. Should be replaced by Pablo Zabaleta – 6.5
TOURÉ – Looks like another superb piece of transfer business by Hughes. Assured, confident and calm on the ball, he is quality – 8.5
DUNNE – Has looked much better alongside Touré than Richards. Distribution was sometimes wayward, but defended stoutly – 7
BRIDGE – Another one whose performances have improved markedly since last year. No support from Robinho but played very well – 8
WRIGHT-PHILLIPS – Drifted in and out of the game, but did cause Stephen Ward some problems in the first half – 7
IRELAND – Playing much too deep for my liking. Nowhere near as influential as last season, but still should have got on the scoresheet – 6.5
BARRY – A class apart. Very cultured in possession and his reading of the game is second to none. A bargain at £12 million – 9
ROBINHO – Poor, poor, poor. Should have done better with a couple of shots and his tracking back was minimal to say the least. I’m not his biggest fan at the best of times, but he really wound me up on Saturday – 4
ADEBAYOR – Put in a great shift for the team, and linked up nicely with Tevéz. Took his goal with customary aplomb – 8.5
TEVÉZ – Home debut, and looked sharp for the hour that he was on. Harried and hussled defenders and managed a deft assist for Adebayor’s goal – 7.5
BELLAMY – Nothing seemed to go his way today. One horrendous pass summed up his half hour, but a very valuable sub when teams are tiring – 5
DE JONG – Added some sense of solidity and stability to the City midfield when Wolves came on the attack – 7
LEE MASON – Could have possibly given a penalty to City for a push on Wright-Phillips, but I felt that he handled the game quite well, playing advantage wherever possible and letting the game flow as best he could – 7
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