Manchester City’s flawless record in the Premier League was disrupted at Molineux when Hwang Hee-chan netted a decisive goal in the second half, securing a surprising win for Wolves against the reigning champions.
Due to a one-match touchline suspension, Manchester City’s manager, Pep Guardiola had to observe the game from the stands. During this time, he couldn’t influence the match, and his team didn’t assert control as they typically do. Additionally, their prolific goal-scorer, Erling Haaland, only had one opportunity to score.
Despite Julian Alvarez scoring a fantastic free-kick to equalize after Ruben Dias’ early own goal, it appeared that the visiting team was heading towards victory.
However, similar to Pedro Neto’s attacking play before the first goal, Nelson Semedo’s forward movement led to Wolves scoring their second goal, ending a streak of six consecutive losses against Manchester City. This turned out to be a disappointing day for Matheus Nunes, a former Wolves midfielder.
The Portugal international, who went on strike to force his £53 million move to City last month, faced jeers from the home fans every time he played before getting substituted at half-time.
Regarding City’s chances of winning four consecutive league titles, many people believe it’s almost certain. However, there are some signs that give hope to their competitors.
City have now gone behind four times in their last five matches and have now lost successive games for the first time since January following their midweek defeat to Newcastle in the EFL Cup.
Although he was in an unaccustomed position alongside football director Txiki Begiristain, there was the familiar sight of Guardiola rubbing his head in frustration at a team that is struggling to find the fluidity they have been so accustomed to producing so easily.
Phil Foden made an effort to energize the visiting team, and Jack Grealish came in during the last 10 minutes to try and motivate a late comeback.
However, Nunes had a disappointing performance. He found it hard to make an impact on the game and didn’t return for the second half; instead, youngster Oscar Bobb replaced him.
Last season, nearly everyone at Wolves understood that Nunes would eventually leave in the near future.
During a difficult summer when many talented players left, it was disappointing that the 25-year-old refused to come and practice with the team. He did this to try and make his transfer to City happen.
When City’s half-time change was announced to the crowd, the home fans reacted with glee, chanting “what a waste of money”. When the final whistle sounded, the chant had changed to “Nunes, Nunes, what’s the score”.
In achieving this victory, Wolves boss Gary O’Neil was joining an exclusive club.
In 44 previous Premier League meetings against sides managed by Englishmen, has Guardiola previously lost only once – against Graham Potter’s Brighton in 2021.
O’Neil can take pride in the fact this success was not achieved solely through backs-to-the-wall defending.
Goalkeeper Jose Sa was ready to stop shots from Haaland and Alvarez, especially when the equalizer went into the top corner. However, Wolves played calmly and had a strategy. They took advantage of the open space behind City’s left-side defense, which Neto and Semedo successfully utilized.