Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez score late flurry to push Manchester City winning run to 21 matches
Premier League, Etihad Stadium - Manchester City 4 (Dendoncker OG 15', Jesus 80', 90+3', Mahrez 90') Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 (Coady 61')
Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City celebrates after scoring their side's second goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Etihad Stadium on March 02, 2021 in Manchester, England.
Manchester City moved 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 4-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers that was far less comfortable than the scoreline suggests.
Victory for Pep Guardiola’s side was their 15th in a row in the league and their 21st in all competitions, but the league leaders were made to work for it by the well-organised visitors.
The hosts looked to be cruising in a first half in which Leander Dendoncker turned into his own net and Wolves failed to register a single touch in the City penalty area. But they were stunned when Wolves, with their first significant chance of the game, drew level through Conor Coady’s diving header. Joao Moutinho’s curling delivery was asking for a finish, and the captain delivered with a headed-effort that nestled in the bottom corner.
Immediately after the goal it was Wolves who enjoyed by far their best spell of the match, with Adama Traore twice almost grabbing his side's second on the counter-attack. But City responded and created a host of chances as they increased in the pace of the game, with Raheem Sterling hitting the post and Rui Patricio pulling off a string of great saves.
And the pressure told when Kyle Walker’s cross was diverted straight to the feet of Gabriel Jesus to turn home via a deflection from close range.
The excellent Riyad Mahrez then curled home a third in stoppage-time to cap off the performance, and Jesus bagged his second with the final kick of the game to add gloss to the scoreline.
Guardiola’s side can all-but wrap up the title when they face rivals and closest challengers Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
Talking Point – Is the title in the bag?
A gap of 15 points is going to be tough for any team to throw away, but a side with City’s quality should not be caught from here. It’s been quite extraordinary how City have turned what promised to be quite an open title race into an absolute cakewalk, but they are the best squad in England by a distance right now and will fully deserve to reclaim the title if they do to win it.
For Guardiola, much of his focus will now be on keeping the team sharp given that a quadruple is still a possibility. His teams have occasionally struggled to sustain their best into the business end of the season, particularly in the Champions League, so City will be keen to make sure they keep their foot on the pedal all the way through to May. And the signs of them doing that are good given the strength of their response to the equaliser this evening.
'Incredible' stats but Pep focused on Man Utd match after win over Wolves
Man of the Match – Riyad Mahrez (Man City)
The wide man was a threat throughout and it was the quality of his ball into the box that forced Dendoncker into the own goal – in truth there was little else the Wolves defender could do at full-stretch given that Sterling was right behind him waiting for the tap-in.
Mahrez really upped the tempo when City were pegged back in the second half too, driving the revival, and his goal - which put the game to bed as the clock ticked into stoppage time - was clinically taken.
Man City: Ederson 6; Walker, Laporte 6, Rúben Dias 6, Cancelo 6; De Bruyne 8, Rodri 6, Mahrez 8; Bernardo Silva 6, Gabriel Jesus 7, Sterling 7.
15’ GOAL! – City create that golden chance and it’s Dendoncker who turns it into his own net. Mahrez makes a clever run down the inside-right channel, takes a nice touch and squares the ball across the face of goal. It would have been the simplest of tap-ins for Sterling, but Dendoncker got there first, succeeding only in turning it into his own net. 1-0.
45’ GOAL? NO! – Laporte stays involved in the attack after a corner and drifts into the box to tuck home a Silva flick-on from a Mahrez cross. City wheel away in celebration, but then the flag goes up and VAR rules it as offside. It’s extremely marginal, one of those strange armpit offsides we’ve seen so much this season, but the goal won’t stand.
61’ GOAL! – Would you believe it, Wolves are level! It’s their first hint of a chance of the night, but Moutinho’s free-kick cross his bent into a dangerous area and captain Conor Coady dips to send a header into the bottom corner. 1-1!
76’ – Off the post! Sterling cuts onto his right and bends a beauty of a shot towards goal from outside the box, but it clips the post and diverts wide. What a game this is now!
80’ GOAL! – Walker is played onside with his run down the right and, although his cross is initially cut out, the loose ball falls straight to the feet of Gabriel Jesus. The response has come from the league leaders! 2-1!
90’ GOAL! – Game over! Riyad Mahrez makes it 3-1, stroking a calm finish into the bottom corner as Wolves twice fail to clear inside their own box.
93’ GOAL! – City add gloss to the scoreline as Gabriel Jesus follows up a shot and taps home the rebound after Patricio’s save. The goal wasn’t initially given, but it goes to VAR and he’s shown to be onside. That’s 4-1 and you have to say it’s a bit harsh on Wolves.