Manchester City 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanders - Sterling Penalty Downs 10-Man Wolves
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Etihad Stadium on December 11, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Manchester City took advantage of Raul Jimenez' bizarre red card as they secured all three points in an ill-tempered affair at the Etihad Stadium.

Story of the Match

There was little in the way of goalmouth action in the first-half, which was instead dominated by off-the-ball incidents.

A stomach churning clash between Wolves teammates Maximilian Kilman and Ruben Neves lead to an extended delay midway through the first 45, with Kilman treated for a nasty cut to his his head.

Tempers began to fray as Rodri and Bernardo Silva took exception to Romain Saiss' theatrics, as the Wolves defender was caught by Raheem Sterling's stray hand as the Englishman powered into the penalty area. Both Rodri and Conor Coady were given a talking to by Jonathan Moss as they made their feelings known to one another.

Tempers began to fray from that moment, with Moss taking the names of Ruben Dias, Rodri and Ruben Neves in a frantic 10 minute period in the build up to half-time.

Then came the key moment in the half. Having been brandished a yellow card for bringing down Rodri on half-way, Raul Jimenez opted to stick a leg out and illegally block Manchester City's free-kick, leaving Moss with no choice but to award the Wolves striker a second yellow and send him for an early bath.

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It was damage limitation for the Wanderers in the second-half, with Bruno Lage deploying a deep set formation to try and prevent the hosts from making the breakthrough.

As was expected with their numerical advantage, the hosts set up camp in the visitors half, but despite enjoying a wealth of possession, Pep Guardiola's men were struggling to cause any problems for Jose Sa between the Wolves sticks.

If there wasn't enough controversy to appease ones appetite in the first half, then Jonathan Moss made sure there was in the second, as the referee awarded Manchester City a penalty after Sterling's cross appeared to strike the raised arm of Joao Moutinho. Despite the Portuguese midfielder's claims that the ball hit his armpit, VAR decided that the penalty should stand. 

With regular taker Riyad Mahrez  on the bench, the penalty duties were awarded to Sterling. The Englishman bided his time, waited for Sa to commit before stroking the ball the opposite way to give Manchester City the lead with his 100th Premier League goal.

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City really ought to have doubled their lead moments later. Sterling again at the heart of the attack, whipping a deep cross to the onrushing Jack Grealish, but the Englishman couldn't keep his first time effort down as the chance went abegging.

Both sides wrung the changes late in the game, Hwang Hee-Chan replaced Adama Traore for the visitors, whilst Kevin De Bruyne came on in place of Jack Grealish.

Daniel Podence and Francisco Trinaco were thrown on late on as the visitors looked to snatch a late equaliser and whilst they pressed higher up the pitch than they had done for the majority of the afternoon, the hosts defence rarely looked threatened.

Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden went close for City in the dying embers, but Jose Sa was equal to both, as he ensured that his side had a slim chance of getting a result as the game entered stoppage time. 

With time ticking away the visitors created their best opening of the match, as Podence's deep cross was met by the head of Kilman. The outstretched arm of Ederson turned the ball behind to secure all three points for his side and in turn, hand the Brazilian his 100th Manchester City clean sheet.

The result means that Wolves remain in eighth place ahead of the weekends action, whilst Manchester City open up a four point gap at the top of the league, with title chasing Liverpool and Chelsea in action later this afternoon.

Manchester City: Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodri, Gundogan (C), Bernardo; Jesus, Sterling, Grealish

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Sa; Semedo, Kilman, Coady (C), Saiss, Ait-Nouri; Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho; Jimenez, Traore

 

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