3️⃣ points as Man City start with a mixed display in Wolves win

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Padraig Whelan

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Manchester City kickstarted their Premier League campaign by laying down a marker away to Wolves with a 3-1 win.

Premier League

Manchester City

Despite the squad being hit hard by several big absentees, goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus brought home the points in a game that was far less comfortable than it seemed.

This is what we made of it.

Tale of two halves for City

It may have been over a month since City’s last competitive fixture but they showed no signs of rust – in the first half at least.

Wolves are an excellent outfit who make Molineux a tough venue for anyone to visit and the visitors were down several key figures, meaning an upset wasn’t all that unlikely.

In fact, you only had to look at Pep Guardiola’s makeshift bench to get a sense of how threadbare they were for this one.

But they were excellent at times in the opening 45 minutes, playing some vintage Pep football.

The prime example of that was Foden’s goal, rolling into a largely empty net after his team-mates had cut Wolves to ribbons with their passing and movement.

Given the shape of the squad right now, exacerbated by Ilkay Gündogan’s positive COVID-19 test, they can’t help but pleased with this one, although they were given a helping hand along the way …

Wasteful Wolves

As pleased as City can be with their attacking output, that doesn’t mean it was plain sailing for them by any means.

After a quiet first half, Wolves came out with a renewed intent and vigour after the break, creating several big chances.

Daniel Podence was twice guilty of missing by inches when he seemed certain to burst the net, while Raúl Jiménez similarly fluffed his lines with the goal gaping and Rúben Neves had one clear off the line.

All three could easily have found the net and Podence’s attempted lob in particular would have been better served by staying low against Ederson.

Those opportunities exposed the major frailties the Citizens may have with a John Stones-Nathan Aké partnership.

On another night, Wolves could easily have scored three themselves – something that will be a source of major frustration for Nuno.

Jesus breaks a record at the death

You may have thought Gabriel Jesus’ last gasp deflected strike was of no real relevance.

It was too late for Wolves to have pulled something back anyway and all it seemed to do was a add a little gloss to the scoreline.

But think again.

That strike, which flew in via a big deflection off Conor Coady, actually means that the total goal tally for the game week moved to 44 – and with it set a new record for a single game week.

There were plenty of seven-goal thrillers over the weekend to thank for getting Jesus into that position.

But it was his strike which beat the record set by matchday 24 of the 2010/11 campaign which produced 43 goals.