Premier League leaders Manchester City scored three times in the final 10 minutes to end Wolverhampton Wanderers’ resistance and make it 21 consecutive wins in all competitions.
An unlikely second-half equaliser from Conor Coady in what was a largely one-side encounter gave the visitors hope up of securing a surprise point before Gabriel Jesus put City back in front with a shot on the turn from Kyle Walker’s deflected cross.
With Wolves’ spirit broken, in-form Riyad Mahrez fired in his seventh league goal of the season before Brazil striker Jesus got his second with virtually the final kick as VAR ruled his effort onside.
Coady’s equaliser just past the hour mark – cancelling out Leander Dendoncker’s first-half own goal – was the first time the visitors had touched the ball inside the City box.
The surprise equaliser was the Wolves skipper’s first Premier League goal, the England defender forced his way onto Joao Moutinho’s fine free-kick to head in.
But City’s late flurry saw them extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 15 points, although second-placed Manchester United – who face Pep Guardiola’s side on Sunday – have a game in hand.
Slick City stroll on
There were so many pre-game statistics in City’s favour that pointed to a 21st consecutive victory for the league leaders – including a remarkable record that dates back more than a decade.
Not since Peter Crouch scored Tottenham’s goal in May 2010 that earned victory in what was effectively a shoot-out for a Champions League place had City lost a midweek Premier League game.
Marton Fulop was their goalkeeper that night, and it is fair to say City have advanced a long way since then.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo certainly recognised their threat and likely dominance, selecting a team with two right-backs and no striker.
It was a measure of Nuno’s caution that when Adama Traore was fouled at the start of the second-half and referee Chris Kavanagh played advantage as the ball ran on to Nelson Semedo, he complained because he knew there was more chance of joy from the set piece than open play.
The fact that after 28 minutes City midfielder Rodri had completed more passes than the entire Wolves team demonstrated the home team’s dominance.
One of those passes was pretty important too, delivered over 40 yards from the centre of the pitch over the Wolves defence to the feet of Mahrez, whose cross led to the opening goal.
Dendoncker knew he had to go for the ball otherwise Raheem Sterling would have had a tap-in.
From that point, possibly the most interesting aspect of the evening from a City perspective was that when Guardiola needed a goal to put his side back in front, Ilkay Gundogan was the man he was primed to turn to rather than Sergio Aguero, who remained unused.
As was the case West Ham United on Saturday, Wolves were unable to cling on to a point as City equalled a club-record 28 games without defeat.
City have also equalled Arsenal’s Premier League record of 19 games without trailing at any point.
Patricio’s defensive barrier
That Wolves got as late into the game with a chance of taking something from it was largely due to goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
In the seconds before half-time, the Portugal Euro 2016 winner produced a superb full-length save to turn away Bernardo Silva’s header.
The second period was then only minutes old when Patricio pushed a Kevin de Bruyne shot wide as it appeared certain to find the bottom corner. Then he blocked a powerful Jesus effort that was also heading in.
He earned the luck he enjoyed when Bernardo fired a rebound from his own effort over the bar and Sterling’s blind back-flick at the near post fizzed just wide of the far post rather than just inside it.
In the end, not even the combination of Patricio and good fortune could save Wolves and there was no repeat of their victory last season.
Portuguese players make history – the stats
- Manchester City have won their last 21 games in all competitions, scoring 55 goals and conceding just eight. City are one of just three teams from the big-five European leagues (England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain) to record more than 20 consecutive victories, after Bayern Munich (23 in 2020) and Real Madrid (22 in 2014).
- Riyad Mahrez has been directly involved in 30 goals in 38 starts in all competitions for Man City at the Etihad (15 goals, 15 assists).
- Only Conor Coady (three) has scored more own-goals for Wolves in the Premier League than Leander Dendoncker (two).
- There were more Portuguese players starting Tuesday’s match between Manchester City and Wolves (eight) than in any other Premier League game in history.
- Manchester City have made more changes to their starting XI than any other any side in the Premier League this season (79).
Manchester City’s next game is at home to Manchester United in the Premier League at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, 7 March (16:30 GMT). Wolves are in action at Aston Villa on Saturday, 6 March (17:30 GMT).
- 3Rúben Dias
- 20Bernardo SilvaSubstituted forGündoganat 82′minutes
- 17De Bruyne
- 9Gabriel Jesus
- 11Rui Patrício
- 8NevesSubstituted forOtasowieat 90′minutes
- 28João Moutinho
- 19Castro OttoSubstituted forFábio Silvaat 55′minutes
- 22Nélson Semedo
- 7NetoBooked at 71mins
- 12Da Silva
- 17Fábio Silva
- Chris Kavanagh
Match ends, Manchester City 4, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.
Second Half ends, Manchester City 4, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.
VAR Decision: Goal Manchester City 4-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers (Gabriel Jesus).
Goal! Manchester City 4, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) left footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.Goal awarded following VAR Review.
Attempt saved. Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Gabriel Jesus.
Foul by Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City).
Romain Saïss (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Manchester City 3, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Owen Otasowie replaces Rúben Neves.
Kyle Walker (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Attempt missed. Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Pedro Neto with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Kyle Walker.
Foul by Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City).
Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Manchester City. Ilkay Gündogan replaces Bernardo Silva.
Goal! Manchester City 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner.
Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Fábio Silva (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) hits the right post with a right footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne following a corner.