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Man City have now racked up 20 consecutive victories in all competitions, but were made to sweat for the points against an impressive West Ham on Saturday, with centre-backs Ruben Dias and John Stones producing the goals.
The Hammers did well to carve out a couple of opportunities and register on the scoreboard as opposition attacks are barely getting a sniff out of Man City’s backline at present, with it seemingly unimportant whether it’s Stones or Aymeric Laporte partnering the exceptional Dias.
Having said that, it’s worth noting that City have recorded clean sheets in just three of seven outings. That’s compared to eight from their previous nine, with the exception strangely enough coming when visiting Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup.
However, City have never conceded more than once across their current 27-game unbeaten streak, and it’s difficult to be all that enthusiastic about Wolves’ chances of finding the net, with the absence of Raul Jimenez up front continuing to dog them.
Since singing for the club, Wolves have scored 1.29 goals per league game when Jimenez starts, compared with 0.93 in his absence, while they’ve also conceded significantly more goals without the Mexican. As a consequence, they’ve won just 20% of their matches without their star man.
Expensive teenage summer signing Fabio Silva is still struggling to find his feet in the Premier League, while recent loan signing Willian Jose is yet to score for the club.
Wolves have never been the most prolific in their current top-flight stay as it is and in 2018/19, despite a seventh-place finish, only seven teams scored fewer goals.
Last term, the 51 goals they managed was decent but not exceptional, with the now sold Diogo Jota’s tally of seven the next best contribution after top scorer Jimenez.
This season, only five teams have netted fewer goals than Wolves, with each of them residing in the bottom six of the table. Newcastle have scored the same number of goals, but they are of course the other side in that league bracket.
1-0, 2-0, 2-1 Man City Win
Nuno Espirito Santo has enjoyed success up against Pep Guardiola in the past, most notably doing the double over City last term, but they’re not hitting the same heights during the current campaign.
However, despite going W6-D5-L7 in all competitions since mid-November, only one of those (a 2-0 defeat to Southampton) saw them go down by more than a single goal.
With that in mind, City should be made to work for the points, while there’ll surely be some light rotation with a Manchester derby up next for Guardiola’s men.
Freshness shouldn’t be a concern though, with a fully fit squad beyond Nathan Ake and a plethora of options, but with their last three wins coming by 1-0, 2-0 and 2-1 scorelines, a modest victory should be in order.