Manchester City: Player ratings in 3-1 win over Wolves

Manchester City opened their Premier League season with a tight 3-1 win against Wolves at the Molineux.

Manchester City have now won their opening league fixture in 10 consecutive seasons, a new Premier League record, following their 3-1 away win against Wolverhampton Wanderers. City entered the season with an extremely tough match against a team that took all six points off them last season and had to cope with a depleted squad due to injury and COVID-19 cases.

Nevertheless, an excellent first half performance allowed City to weather a furious Wolves comeback in the second half, and the home side will be disappointed to not have taken more from the game.

Defense

Ederson (GK): Was rarely tested in the first half and had little to do on the goal, but was fortunate for some poor finishing from Wolves in the second half. (6)

Kyle Walker (RB): Drove City forward on several occasions and stepped in to win the ball in the attacking half. After a great campaign last season, this was an encouraging start to the season after a red card on England duty earlier this summer. (7.5)

John Stones (CB): On a much-anticipated return to the side, Stones’ passing was on point as usual and he cleaned up a few challenges. However, he nearly cost City a goal when he played Wolves attacker Daniel Podence onside and was beaten on other occasions. (6)

Nathan Aké (CB): Despite struggling with a hamstring problem for much of his Manchester City debut, he looked calm and composed at the back—exactly what City were looking for this summer. (6.5)

Benjamin Mendy (LB): City’s worst player on the day. Wolves constantly funneled the ball down Mendy’s side through Adama Traoré, Pedro Neto, and Podence to great success. Nearly every good opportunity of Wolves’ second half came down the Frenchman’s side, including the goal, and his pace and positioning was not enough to keep up with the threat of Wolves’ attack. While this was much better than his absolute embarrassment at the hands of Traoré last season, it was a game where I believe João Cancelo would have been the best choice had he been fit. (5)

Midfield

Rodri (CDM): In the first half, he and Fernandinho absolutely bossed the tempo of the game in a two-man midfield pivot. This tactic has struggled in previous games with Rodri and İlkay Gündoğan, and City began to lose the midfield battle in the second half, but Rodri had an overall good day. (7)

Fernandinho (CDM): Given his age and Rodri’s continued ascent, I thought we had seen the last of Fernandinho in midfield. Whether his start was due to City’s laundry list of injuries or Pep’s continued faith in City’s elected captain, it does not matter, because he was brilliant today. His tackling, presence, and ball-winning instinct was reminiscent of 2017-18, and could signal that the Brazilian still has it. (7.5)

Kevin De Bruyne (CAM): A Man of the Match performance for City’s star. He opened his league account quickly by winning and then scoring a penalty, creating the incisive pass eventually leading to Phil Foden’s tap-in, and assisting the late third. (9.5)

Attack

Phil Foden (RW): Looks to be forming an incredible connection with De Bruyne, as he slid in a great ball to lead to the penalty before grabbing his own on a cool finish from Raheem Sterling into an empty net. After making headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks, he let his football do the talking today. (8.5)

Gabriel Jesus (ST): Showed work rate and helped in the build-up throughout, and was rewarded with a late goal after City had seen the game out. (7.5)

Raheem Sterling (LW): Made a great pass for Foden to score the tap-in, the best kind of goal. He was threatening throughout the match and looked solid in his first City game after his Lyon disaster. (7.5)

Substitutes

Ferran Torres (LW): In another debut, the Spaniard was the only player used by Guardiola from a bench filled with youth players. He had very little to do in attack, as by that point City were only looking to see out the result, but showed promise in his limited touches. More to come soon. (6)