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Five Things Learned: Wolves 0-3 Manchester City (Premier League)

Nathan Allen

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Five Things Learned: Wolves 0-3 Manchester City (Premier League)

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Erling Haaland became the first player ever to score in each of his first four Premier League away matches as Manchester City strolled to a victory over 10-man Wolves. 

Under-fire Jack Grealish got the visitors off the mark in under a minute before Haaland’s long-range effort crept past José Sá to give City a two-goal cushion.

Phil Foden swept in the third after half-time, benefitting from Kevin De Bruyne’s second assist of the afternoon as the hosts played much of the game a man down after Nathan Collins saw red for a shocking challenge on Grealish. 

The result sees Manchester City remain unbeaten this season as they enter the first international break of the campaign on a highly encouraging note.

Here's what we learnt from City's comfortable triumph at the Molineux Stadium-

Grealish gets into gear

There’s been an awful lot of discussion about Jack Grealish’s performances since his £100m move from Aston Villa, which came to a head last week following a really poor showing against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

It has become highly arguable that the England international hasn’t been playing at his best for much of his Manchester City career so far. 

Against Wolves, we saw a marked improvement. Grabbing an early goal seemed to be exactly what Grealish needed for his confidence, and for the rest of the match he was playing some of his best stuff in a blue shirt.

The former Aston Villa skipper is one of the most talented dribblers in the league and when he uses those skills positively, he’s a serious problem for defenders. If he keeps this up, he’ll keep getting starts and keep getting goals. 

Jack Grealish scores his first goal of the Premier League season (Sportimage / Alamy)
Jack Grealish scores his first goal of the Premier League season (Sportimage / Alamy)

De Bruyne could finally break the assist record

We all remember Kevin De Bruyne’s record-equalling 20 league assists in the 2019/20 season, one of the few bright spots from an otherwise dire campaign. But it’s looking like this could be the season he finally takes the record outright instead of sharing it with Thierry Henry. 

Starting with an assist for Erling Haaland on opening day, De Bruyne then went on to set up Foden against Bournemouth, Bernardo Silva against Newcastle and Haaland again against Aston Villa. Two more assists today - eerily similar low crosses turned in by each of the English wingers - makes it six in six starts and puts the Belgian well on his way to smashing that record.

Defence stands strong again

Despite regular chopping and changing at the back, there’s a lot to like about City’s defensive record so far this season. Other than the messy Newcastle and Crystal Palace matches, which saw Guardiola’s side ship five goals in a game and a half, Ederson has been left relatively untroubled between the sticks. 

Four clean sheets in seven games means the Brazilian will be optimistic about his chances of becoming the first man ever to win four consecutive Premier League Golden Glove awards, and going level with Joe Hart and Petr Cech as the only players to win four at all. 

That’s thanks in no small part to the form of the players in front of Ederson, of course - against Wolves, Ruben Dias was a particular standout. It feels like the Portugal star is back to his best, and it’s hard to see how anyone gets in the team ahead of him for the foreseeable future. 

John Stones on the ball against Wolves (Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy)
John Stones on the ball against Wolves (Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy)

Akanji is not a squad player

Most City fans would have known Manuel Akanji mainly by reputation before his surprise move to the Etihad this summer, and that reputation… well, it wasn’t exactly great. While he was by no means seen as a bad player, the former exciting youngster had seen his stock fall somewhat after an unremarkable period at Dortmund, and wasn’t being touted for a move to a big club until City came in for him.

He’s exceeded every expectation most fans had of him so far. The centre-back has slotted into the team effortlessly, ticking all of the boxes you need a Pep defender to tick. Akanji looks comfortable on the ball, physically capable of handling the league and smart in his positioning.

The interesting question now is how we fit all five centre-backs into one squad. If (and it’s a big if) injuries don’t strike in that position, I can’t see all of them being kept happy over the course of the season. 

Haaland breaks another record

I’ll keep this one brief - since there’s nothing left to say about Erling Haaland that hasn’t been said this season - but we couldn’t not mention the man who broke yet another record today. Haaland is now the first man ever to score in all of his first four Premier League away games, with strikes against West Ham, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Wolves. 

More records feel inevitable, and soon - especially since, seven matches into the league season, Haaland has scored or assisted at least once in every single game. 

Everyone is talking about how many goals he might manage to bag before the end of the campaign - as bizarre as it sounds, forty in the league doesn’t seem an unrealistic target at this early stage. 

Nathan Allen
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