Win, lose or draw in these final two games of 2019, it’s been some year.
The highs have been exhilarating and frequent, the lows occasional and soon forgotten.
Victory at The Etihad was a notable high and helped turbo-charge a season that had yet to properly ignite.
Even with that electrifying win, I wouldn’t have thought it possible to be sitting sixth on Christmas Day, above Man Utd, Spurs and Arsenal.
Yet here we are, deservedly above all of those clubs and showing no signs of slowing down.
After losing the Manchester Derby, City have responded with four consecutive wins across three competitions, scoring 13 goals in the process.
In the Premier League, Arsenal and Leicester were both pushed aside to help rebuild momentum.
It’s fanciful to think they can still catch a Liverpool side who’ve only failed to win once all season, but a few results can quickly change that perspective.
Suffice to say, scoring goals hasn’t been an issue and the 50 they’ve battered in already makes them comfortably the most potent attacking team in the league (Liverpool are second on 42).
At the other end though, the 20 goals conceded have cost them dearly and when you consider they only let in 23 over the whole of last season it’s clear where things have gone south.
Not replacing Vincent Kompany and then losing Laporte to injury exposed a vulnerability that simply didn’t exist. Fernandinho has been moved into the back four to plug the gap and I think they’ve missed his presence further forward.
Things should pick up in the new year if they can keep the squad fit. They’re still active in all the competitions, so may yet have the last laugh.
John Stones and David Silva look like they’ll miss out with injury in this one and Pep Guardiola also stated in his press conference that Sergio Aguero isn’t yet ready to start. He may feature from the bench.
The away end
Some comments lifted from the pre-match thread on the Blue Moon forum.
One good point worth considering is that Norwich could and should have been 4-0 up at half time yesterday but allowed Wolves into the game. If we catch them in another bad moment ( as Pep would say), we should be able to win this one. Should be a cracking game.
This could be a tough one but funnily enough would rather play them away than at home where they counter better.
Wolves always seem to take a while to get going and quite often come to life in the second half. There’s no doubting they’re a good side but they have a limited squad and Nuno tends to pick the same 11 with a couple of exceptions. If we’re clinical we could be a couple of goals up by half time.
Wolves have two games in 45 hours, us then Scousers. They will target 1 game with their primary 11 to get three points and toss the other game as I don’t think they have enough strength in depth to seriously cope with two games against the top 2 teams (quality, not league position) in such a short period. Guess which one they’ll go balls out in?
I think Nuno has a decision to make for this one.
He’s got a formula for playing Man City that by and large has served Wolves very well and no more so than during the win at The Etihad a few months back.
Using the extra body in midfield and leaving two up front to exploit them on the counter-attack when they inevitably over-commit is a tried and tested ploy.
More recently though, the three-pronged attack has given the team more balance and delivered a sequence of excellent results.
You don’t want to change, but I think City are a unique proposition and the reality is if they get men in between midfield and defence – as Norwich did on many occasions – we’re in for a long evening.
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Well done to Iceni Wolf, Mildenhall Wolf, Bedford Wolf, Wokingham Welsh Wolf, BG, vicsmith, WolvoDave, West Park Wolf, Adrian, Jackomac and me for all correctly predicting a 2-1 win at Carrow Road. You can check out the full Prediction League table here.
If you’d like to join in this week simply leave your prediction in the comment section below using the boxes provided.
That’s where you’ll also find my best guess for this one.
Up The Wolves!
….and of course