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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Huge underdogs Wolves could sink their teeth into Man City

Champions are in for a tough afternoon

Wolves star Ruben Neves
1 of 1

Premier League
Sky Sports Premier League, 12.30pm Saturday

Among Wolves’ several claims to fame during a near-perfect 2017-18 was being one of only five clubs who managed to keep Manchester City at bay – and they could be a value bet to do so again on Saturday.

Last October, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men headed for Manchester for a League Cup tie and were confronted with a front four of Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling.

It’s as talented a group as the Premier League has ever seen but despite huffing and puffing they couldn’t blow the Wolves’ house down, and City eventually got up via a penalty shootout.

Fast forward ten months and Pep Guardiola could send out the same frontline when they take on Wolves again with Premier League points up for grabs – but this time it’s at Molineux.

Wolves were always going to be big outsiders for this but 11-1 could be going too far. They are at home, where they have won 20 of 29 fixtures under Nuno and have lost only twice.

And even though this is a massive step up in class, Wolves’ possession-based style can be frustrating for opponents, while we know they boast match-winners in players of the calibre of Ruben Neves, Jonny and Adama Traore.

Everything has its price and bookmakers, determined not to offer their customers a sniff of anything resembling value with the champions, could have overreacted to City's impressive start.

Sure, if City turn it on they could conceivably do to Wolves what they did to Huddersfield last Sunday but this isn’t mission impossible for the Midlands mob. It's mission improbable perhaps, but they are no fools and Nuno surely won’t make the same mistakes David Wagner did when the Terriers visited the Etihad.

Wolves have looked tidy enough in both their games since promotion. They were hugely disappointed not to beat Everton, who played the second half with ten men following Phil Jagielka’s red card. But they fought back well to draw 2-2.

Next time out, at Leicester, they were excellent. They hit the woodwork three times, Matt Doherty missed an absolute sitter and they paid for their profligacy and a couple of defensive mistakes.

Because they like to dominate possession and sit with a deep five when they have to, they have given up just 12 shots in their two games, the lowest total in the division.

Of course, one of those matches was against an Everton side hanging on with ten men and the other against a side managed by Claude Puel.

But the point is that Wolves aren’t being overrun, are confident on the ball and deploy a solid shape when they don’t have it. City shouldn’t find it easy.

An early goal would change everything and a saver on a high-scorer makes sense if Wolves are breached in the first half. City still concede soft goals when least expected and Santo’s team are very open if they have to start chasing.

1pt 11-1 general
Both teams to score & over 2.5
1pt 27-20 Coral 

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Team news
Leander Dendoncker could feature for the first time. Adama Traore is fully fit and may well start. Ivan Cavaleiro (back) is the only certain absentee.

Manchester City
Kevin De Bruyne and Danilo are both injured.

Key stat
Wolves have conceded 12 shots in two games, the fewest in the division.

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They have won 20 of 29 home fixtures under Nuno and have lost only twice
E.W. Terms
Sky bet