It was always going to be a difficult game – obviously. Have we ever played such an expensively-assembled squad before? Going behind early on and then going down to 10 men meant we were unable to make it much of a contest.
Playing out from the back needed crisp and precise passing as City swarmed around the ball. Going long, against a significant height and physical disadvantage, also proved challenging when we tried to retain possession and create chances.
Despite the situation we found ourselves in after half an hour we did not drop our heads at all and did not look just for damage limitation. Somewhat surprisingly Bruno used Neves at centre half, presumably because it allowed us to retain three forwards. Replacing one for a centre half would have made our attacking options even less likely to create anything in the final third.
City may have coasted at times but Wolves did play some neat football intermittently. Guedes was full of running in the first half, Neto and Ait-Nouri too made decent runs forward. Defensively though, each could have done more. Lacking a centre forward meant there was never really a target man to aim a cross or pass to. Instead, opportunities were wasted as we allowed City to get men around the ball and stifle any threat particularly with Neto and Guedes generally needing to switch inside to get into a shooting position.
The form and fitness of Jimenez plus losing Kalajdzic so quickly has left a big hole in our line-up. Guedes and Nunes would surely be able to offer more if we had a target man, likewise with Neto. Instead we continue to look a struggling side without a threat in the final third. The timing of the international break might have come at a convenient time.
It is hard to pick a MOTM. The default is usually Neves. Despite playing out of position and making some scary passes at times he was our best player again.
I don’t think the scoreline tells the whole story of the game.
We witnessed the best and the worst of Wolves. On the one hand, we played some good positive football, matching Man City’s passing game for long periods. On the other hand, we gave away possession too often in dangerous areas and we look completely devoid of any idea once we’ve moved the ball in or near the opposition box.
To be one down after a minute, gave us a mountain to climb. However, for the next 14 minutes we looked the better team. To give Haaland so much space really was criminal. Kilman couldn’t get anywhere close to him. The game was really over after just a quarter of an hour.
I feared the worst.
A rash challenge from Collins didn’t help us, as we had to play the remaining 57 minutes with 10 men. Interesting that Lage filled the defensive gap with Neves. I thought he played it very well, but surely this was simply damage limitation?
Guedes and Neto both had chances. Score these and the game changes.
Wolves played fairly well in the second half. Man City looked completely comfortable though and this leads me to the crux of the matter.
Is Bruno Lage the right man to take us forward? I really don’t know!
He has possibly our best ever set of players at his disposal. We can play some lovely football, but we just don’t look like scoring. He’s been unlucky with injuries to our forwards, but his tactics are slow and predictable. Rarely does the excitement get us up out of our seats. We can see the attacking moves petering out before us! We were certainly spoilt by Nuno, pre-covid.
We are also in need of an attacking coach. Shooting, making the right runs and getting into the most dangerous positions in the box. Our corners could do with some work too. Let’s be honest here – we are woeful in all of these attacking aspects.
Something has to change.
Lage has been here a year now and these issues should have been sorted long ago.
The season will quickly slip us by, like last season. Will Diego Costa make the difference? Well let’s hope so, otherwise I believe Lage will be replaced before the World Cup break.
Conceding so early against the best side in the league was the worst possible start we could have got off to and with our terrible record of coming back from losing positions under Lage, I knew we’d lose once they took the lead.
Poor goal to concede as well, they doubled up on Ait Nouri, no one helped support the overlap and it was far too easy, especially because we gave the ball away in the first instance.
In all fairness, between their first and second goals, we looked decent and were keeping the ball well which I was surprised about considering how high City like to press and the fact they love being able to control the game completely.
Second goal was also very avoidable, Kilman had his back to Haaland which was not the correct body position to have at all, however I understand when that machine is running at you, it’s difficult. The shot wasn’t that powerful, maybe Sa was unsighted from Kilman but I thought he could have done slightly better which may seem harsh.
Collins’ red card was idiotic, he didn’t need to go in for it like he did. He looked like he tried to bring the ball down but you have to be careful when putting your foot up that high, he’s still young though and will learn from it.
Neves actually did a solid job at CB, although I was surprised Lage didn’t move him higher in the second half and bring a defender on but he neutralised them well and was able to get us on the front foot from deep. Being 2-0 down with 10 men against arguably the best side in the world, the game was done so it wouldn’t have mattered either way.
We did look decent with 10 men at times but I also think City conserved a lot of energy and just controlled the game when they needed to.
I’m not Lage out yet, I think at times we looked okay. We were also playing against the best side in the league by far so getting anything out of the game was always going to be difficult but the West Ham game after the international break is huge. If we lose that, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he got sacked but a win there could also boost us massively.
After one minute Wolves had a mountain to climb and after 15 minutes might as well have gone home as City raced into a two-goal lead at Molineux. As cliche as it sounds, the game plan would have been to stay in the game, keep it tight, frustrate the opposition etc. yet all of the above went out of the window instantly which for me was the most disappointing aspect of the game.
City are of course a brilliant side with amazing players all over the pitch, not for one minute was I expecting us to get a result, but at the same time you can still be disappointed at the ease in which they strolled to victory- it wasn’t quite De Bruyne scoring four bad, but it was bad.
Nathan Collins’ red card made the first half go from bad to worse, but he can have no complaints after he was rightfully sent off. He will definitely learn from it and has been impressive so far this season, so I don’t think there is need to overreact, but it does leave us short at centre half for upcoming games. Neves filling in there was very strange and perhaps highlighted how Bruno did not trust Toti or Mosquera to come on. I thought he did ok but it of course is not a long term option but more of a square peg in round hole kind of fix.
The second half looked like a training game for City who in my opinion were happy for us to have the ball, as they had a comfortable lead already meaning they could conserve energy. They did not play with much intensity, nor did they need to, but the one time they did venture forward they added a third.
Overall, the defeat and score line was to be expected but I expected us to compete better and at least hold out longer, to make City work to open the scoring. Collins’ red card was the right decision and our improved second half was mainly down to City being in second gear. This was another game where we did not look like scoring and next week we cannot afford to lose to an out of form West Ham.
Seven games in, three goals scored, one win. It’s not been a great start, and while City at home will not define the season, it just reiterates how toothless we are going forward.
Going behind under a minute didn’t help but again like every single other game, we played some nice stuff and actually looked better when we were down to 10 than with 11.
However, City rocked up to Molineux, never got out of second gear, won 3-0, and at no point were they ever under real pressure. It’s a big worry for Wolves for the remainder of the season, I just can’t see who will score a substantial amount of goals for us.
While finishing has been Wolves achilles heel so far, we also don’t create anywhere near enough chances, which again is a big problem for a team that wants to win games.
I’m not just talking about City either, I think everyone in stadium knew it was game over when the second went in because there was no way Wolves were going to score two goals in a game.
It’s just not happening for them up top, Neto was poor again on Saturday, whilst Guedes did make some good runs in behind but was never found, also Jonny had one of his worst performances I’ve seen him have in a Wolves shirt, and everyone including Collins himself knows how stupid his decision was.
Another problem for the next three games is who is going to replace Collins. Bruno didn’t seem to fancy brining one of them on on Saturday and opted to put Neves there, so does he potentially not trust who else we have?
In terms of positives I thought Nunes looked good and was our best player showing some real quality on the ball, even when we went down to 10.
I also thought when Traore come on he looked good as well and if he is fit enough he should be starting against West Ham, in what will be a game of two teams who simply can’t create and can’t score, should be a belter.
Manchester City are an incredible side, let’s not forget that and I like most others didn’t expect Wolves to get any sort of result here. What I do expect however is a fight, some passion and actually giving it a real go straight from the kick off.
The game was lost within two minutes. The truth is the moment we go behind I don’t have any confidence that we can turn it around. Our lack of goals is a major concern. Since April, Man City have scored eight goals at Molineux in two matches. We have scored four. This is simply not good enough.
A 20 minute spell showed us attack City and show some of their vulnerabilities but for me this was more about them dropping down a gear against 10 men and was nothing to really be optimistic about.
I am now almost certain this group is being held back by Lage. There is no other explanation as to why this team of talented players are struggling to score and get results. We are devoid of any style of play, his tactics are wrong and his substitutions often leave you baffled.
Right now Wolves aren’t fun to watch, it’s been a long time since I enjoyed watching them play. We are blessed with one of the best teams in the club’s history and have scored three goals in seven games. For me it’s time to move Bruno on, something is horribly wrong and I don’t think he’s the man to turn it around.