It was properly documented simply how far Manchester City completed behind Liverpool as they failed to defend their Premier League title last season – a full 18 points, in case you wanted reminding.
That’s a sizeable gulf they need to overhaul this season if they’re to be crowned champions of England once more, but the Citizens demonstrated throughout their victory over Wolves that they have the instruments to accomplish that – even when defensively, they’re nonetheless susceptible.
Pep Guardiola’s side turned in a gorgeous first half efficiency the place they utterly blew Wolves away. This was a City side with out Sergio Aguero and Aymeric Laporte up in opposition to a well-oiled Wolves group who had crushed them twice last season, but they looked in complete management.
Kevin de Bruyne was irresistible, his skill to produce the Hollywood passes simply as spectacular as his willingness to run, to press, to surge forward and get in behind. This was the Belgian at his athletic, elegant best.
Phil Foden picked up from the place he left off after lockdown with one other mature efficiency, drifting in between the traces and choosing up the ball simply as David Silva had accomplished before him, but also demonstrating that he has goals in his game by ending off the flowing move that he began, drifting into the field to tuck home Raheem Sterling’s clever reduce back.
It was a blistering first half show and the title to this piece was already within the drafts: Manchester City Demonstrate They Have All the Tools to Over Throw Liverpool on the Premier League Summit.
But then the second half unfolded and the defensive frailties that had cost City last season began to sneak back in, and instantly all of the positives to this Manchester City group had an asterisk.
Wolves had woken up, and once Adama Traore and Pedro Neto began charging down the flanks and Daniel Podence started enjoying off the shoulder, Guardiola’s side looked susceptible.
It was not dissimilar to how Wolves had snuck a 2-0 victory on the Etihad 11 months in the past, after the tempo of Traore and the velocity of the Wolves counter assault had reduce City open.
They weren’t fairly as uncovered as they had been last October, but this was a City side who now didn’t look fairly so unbeatable. Had Jimenez and Podence been more medical, Wolves may have been degree by the hour.
Instead City held out. Despite their dominance within the first half, the 3-1 scoreline makes for comfortable studying when in reality they have been on the ropes at instances within the second interval.
Guardiola’s group confirmed both sides to their game throughout their first Premier League outing of the 2020/21 season. There was the fluid, effervescent, dynamic side, orchestrated by the very good De Bruyne.
But there was also the susceptible side, the slight defensive frailties, the concern when teams counter assault at tempo.
With the standard City have at their disposal and the football they’ll play, Liverpool’s title shall be under siege this season. But the issues that plagued them last time period are nonetheless there, lingering within the background.