Man City 0 Wolves 0 (Man City win 4-1 on penalties)

Bright Enobakhare is a special talent.

It’s 20 years since Robbie Keane summersaulted into the spotlight and this is the first time since a genuine attacking star has been unearthed.

We’ve got to love him, protect him, accept his shortcomings, forgive missteps and just keep encouraging progress. It will come.

Last night was an at once uplifting and chastising experience for the 19 year old, leading the line exquisitely against high calibre opposition but falling at the last with hero status agonisingly within his grasp.

Had he taken the final and most glaring of all his chances in the dying seconds of normal time we’d be talking about a win to eclipse anything Paul Lambert’s team achieved in last season’s FA Cup.

As it is we’re left nursing the mother of all hard luck stories as our brave warriors achieved the impossible and shut out Pep’s unstoppable juggernaut for over two hours of absorbing football.

They threw the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, the downstairs toilet and about £500 million of players at our second string and still couldn’t get through.

The excellent Will Norris only made two meaningful saves all night and one of those was a result of his own misplaced pass to Sergio Aguero, which says much about the efforts of the wall of old gold erected in front of our young goalkeeper.

Batth, Hause, Coady and Bennett (who more or less played at the back and rarely ventured above halfway) blocked everything and denied City any room inside the 18 yard box.

Price and N’diaye did an equally important job ahead of them, preventing the assembled masses from unloading in those pockets of space just outside the penalty area.

The one criticism of the first half was how cheaply possession was surrendered, but as the Etihad grew increasingly agitated Wolves began to acclimatise.

Costa, Marshall and the sensational Vinagre (who contained Sterling and manipulated the ball under pressure superbly) all marauded forward and were only a final ball away from kicking down the door.

Bright will take the flack for his hat trick of failures but Costa frittered away an equally presentable opening that he was unable to lift over the inspired Bravo in the City goal.

Our flying winger still looks well short of match sharpness but this was a step in the right direction. The minutes and the confidence garnered will hopefully be the launch pad for his season.

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His replacement down the right Connor Ronan, another player still months shy of his 20th birthday, belied his years with a performance of true maturity.

Yes there were a few misplaced passes when the out ball wasn’t always on but his overall contribution was huge. The awareness to know their left back’s legs had gone in extra time and continually run in behind shows his intelligence.

And intelligence is something that summed up this team performance along with grit, determination and a relentless desire to compete.

But those latter adjectives all suggest effort rather than ability and this monumental effort was as much about footballing capacity as any of those raw materials.

We should all have woken up buoyant this morning, safe in the knowledge we already have the depth and quality any team could ever need to compete in the Premier League let alone campaign to get into it.

We’re going places, make no mistake about it.

Man City Vs Wolves Preview

As someone who dreams of Wembley this isn’t ideal.

The problem with Man City compared to some of the other top brass is their reserves are better than most Premier League sides.

Even if Nuno fields our best eleven, which I don’t think he will, they’re going to find the going tough.

We’ve got nothing to lose and all the jazz, but hopefully we make a game of it and push them at least some of the way.

Man City

I don’t need to tell you that Pep’s boys are steamrollering everyone. Saturday’s 3-0 win over Burnley was their 11th consecutive victory.

They’ve netted 32 goals in just 9 league matches and are yet to lose a single game in any competition.

Definitely due a defeat then. Splendid.

Sergio Aguero is working his way back to fitness so he may well play, looking for the goal that will make him their all time top scorer.

Some others who didn’t start at the weekend include Yaya Toure, Raheem Sterling, Ilkay Gündogan, Brazilian wonder-kid Gabriel Jesus and two time Champions League winner Danilo.

They needed a late Leroy Sane goal to overcome our stripey friends down the round in the previous round but will feel confident of easier progression on their own patch.

Wolves

Over to you Nuno. If it were me I’d play our strongest team as I couldn’t resist seeing what they could do against the very best. If he wanted to change a couple around, maybe this is a compromise:

I’ve got nothing against our reserve players by the way. Quite the opposite actually, I rate almost every one of them. It just comes down to consistency and giving us the best chance of being competitive.

All the summer recruits will be desperate to play. They didn’t jet in from Porto and Atletico Madrid to turn it on at Burton I imagine so they’ll want the spotlight.

That’s what I’m hoping anyway, as it increases the chances of the best players taking part. If they don’t though, at least they’ll be nice and rested for Saturday I suppose.

Predictions

Call me a dreamer if you like but I reckon we’ll…get totally smashed.

That’s no slight on our excellent team. I think the lads have got every chance of going there and acquitting themselves very well. I just think Man City are playing on another level to everyone else and you’ve got to back them for a comfortable victory.

Wolves have got to do what they’ve done very well already this season, look after the ball. City will likely dominate possession, but when we do get it, we’ve got to keep it and use it effectively.

Have a right good go lads.

Up The Wolves!

Wolves 0 Man City 2

The thick heavy raincloud that soaked us all to the skin at full time was probably the most poignant moment of all.

If only it could wash clean those murky crevices of deception around Molineux then we could at least picture some sunnier afternoons.

To dream an impossible dream.

Aguero broke the deadlock. Hearts broken months ago

To close our eyes and drift into a calming world of serenity, where stammering novices can’t be heard, where white elephants can’t be seen, and where the words of an empathetic, modest board float freely.

With our new North Bank seats breaking up before a ball had been kicked, such dreams are as far from reality as we are from Bolton Wanderers.

Rubber stamping our relegation from the Premier League was surely no great shock or sadness for anyone connected with Wolves this afternoon.

That Terry Connor genuinely looked like it was when choking back the tears was probably the scariest sight of the lot – were it not for Steve Morgan pictured laughing and joking as our grim fate was sealed.

Maybe he was chuckling at the vision of 34 rows of seats in the upper North Bank, and the irony that few will ever be sat on, if indeed they are screwed to the ground properly to begin with.

My final crumb of aspiration still battling this mortal coil hopes he’s smiling for more positive reasons.

For a post mortem that will begin on Monday morning, with no brick in his Red Row empire left unturned in a quest to avoid an April Shower like this.

For Guedioura – Forest fans’ best midfielder since Lars Bohenan – to return to Compton with the urgency of a JCB digger.

For Michael Kightly’s contract to be resolved with similar speed.

And maybe, just maybe, for a concession of remorse to make a back page lead instead of an insulting platitude about ‘perspective.’

The sight of the new North Bank seats falling apart was bad enough, as was Tevez winning a free kick for clearly obstructing David Davis in the build-up to City’s second.

But wretched as both were, they didn’t come close to the saddest spectacle of all, as I searched for the shoulder of an old comrade or two.

No spittle to land on Tel’s head in front, no Big Mark to share that look of disgust to the right and no Mike beside me for chocolate comfort.

One-hundred-and-fifty-years-worth of Wolves DNA replaced by wet empty plastic.

A chance for them to dream of brighter days than these? Therein lies the rub Mr Morgan.