Manchester City v Wolves: Predicted lineup
Pep Guardiola and Nuno enjoy a conversation before Wolves' 3-2 win against Manchester City in 2019. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Wolverhampton Wanderers will look to extend their unbeaten run on Tuesday as they face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium

Nuno Espirito Santo's side are currently enjoying their best run of the season after drawing 1-1 with Newcastle United on Saturday, but they will face a much sterner test from City, as the league leaders have won their last 20 games in all competitions. 

Wolves will have to produce something special if they are to win at the Etihad, but two goals from Adama Traore did give Nuno's side a famous 2-0 win in Manchester in October 2019. 

  • The opposition

Simply put, Wolves are facing the best side in the Premier League, who will almost certainly go on to become champions for the third time in four years. Pep Guardiola's side haven't dropped any league points since mid-December and have won all 20 games since, which have come in four different competitions. 

Despite this, it's notoriously difficult to predict Guardiola's team selections. No outfield player is guaranteed to start every game for City, given the ridiculous amount of squad depth that the league leaders possess. One thing that is easy to predict, however, is that the 50-year-old will operate with a 4-3-3 formation. 

Ederson is a certainty to start in goal, while the league's best defensive pairing of John Stones and Ruben Dias should begin the game together as well. While both have been rested for one game in recent weeks, City look almost unbeatable when they are on the field together, and a goal apiece from the two centre-backs won Guardiola's side the game against West Ham on Saturday. 

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From here, it gets more tricky. Joao Cancelo was rested at the weekend, so should come back into the side in place of former Wolves target Oleksandr Zinchenko, while Kyle Walker should continue at right-back.

In midfield, Fernandinho has started the last two league games so the 35-year-old may be spared Tuesday's encounter, with Rodri likely to come in. In-form duo Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan seem to be the first names on Guardiola's team sheet at the minute, so will almost certainly start. 

Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling all started as substitutes on Saturday, so should all come in to form a fluid front three that City operate with such success on occasion. Sergio Aguero made his first start in four months against West Ham, but is unlikely to be risked from the start again. 

City's only absentee is Nathan Ake, who has missed all of 2021 with unspecified injury. 

  • Formation and tactics

While Wolves were changing between a back three and a back four throughout their poor run in December and January, Nuno has found consistency in a 3-4-3 that has seen his side pick up three wins and two draws in the last five games. The system will mostly operate as a 5-4-1 on Tuesday, as City will dominate the ball. 

However, the Wolves manager has a decision to make ahead of the trip to the Etihad. Wanderers' 2-0 victory in Manchester last season came in a 3-5-2 system, with Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore combining for two late goals after Wolves had dug in and kept City at bay. The use of a similar formation is unlikely on Tuesday, but could be a consideration. 

With injuries decimating the Wolves squad, there are seven or eight players who are pretty much guaranteed to start on Tuesday. One of them is Rui Patricio, who will start his 74th consecutive Premier League game against the league leaders. 

The back three struggled against Newcastle on Saturday, especially Leander Dendoncker, who was beaten time after time by Allan Saint-Maximin. With this in mind, Max Kilman could replace the Belgian international, but Conor Coady and Romain Saiss will remain in defence. 

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Nuno may have an issue at right wing-back, as Nelson Semedo was withdrawn late on at St. James' Park with a knock. The former Barcelona man will start if he is fit, but if not Ki-Jana Hoever will replace him. The rest of the midfield four should remain from Saturday's game, with Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Jonny expected to start.

Wolves' wingers have impressed in recent weeks, so Adama Traore and Pedro Neto will start, but Nuno's main selection headache comes in the lone striker position. Willian Jose has struggled to make an impact in eight appearances since joining from Real Sociedad in January, so Fabio Silva may replace the Brazilian.

  • Predicted line ups

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; Rodri, Gundogan, de Bruyne; Silva, Foden, Sterling.

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio; Saiss, Coady, Kilman; Semedo (if fit), Neves, Moutinho, Jonny; Neto, Jose, Traore.

  • Prediction

While Wolves have done well to turn a lengthy winless run into a five-game unbeaten sequence, their run will more than likely end at the Etihad on Tuesday.

Only Manchester United and Leicester City have won away at Manchester City in the Premier League since Wolves beat them in October 2019, and Pep Guardiola's side look back to their imperious best. 

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Nuno's side will dig in and try to make it tough for their star-studded hosts, but will ultimately lack the firepower to test City's brilliant defence. The likes of Sterling, Foden, Silva, de Bruyne, Gundogan et al will have too much for Wolves' makeshift defence, and will probably extend their winning run to 21.