Manchester City got their Premier League campaign off to a winning start, beating Wolves 3-1 at Molineux on Monday night.
Last year’s Premier League runners-up had their Sept. 12 match against Aston Villa postponed so that Pep Guardiola’s side could have an extra week to recover from their Champions League campaign last term.
First-half goals from Kevin De Bruyne from the penalty spot and a Phil Foden strike after a well-worked team move saw Man City take a 2-0 lead into half-time.
“It’s obviously hard. It’s a weird season. We know we need to start well,” said De Bruyne. “Wolves have been a bit of a bogey team for us in the last few seasons. So it’s encouraging to play well.”
Wolves were by far the livelier side in the second half and their efforts were rewarded just before the 80-minute mark when Daniel Podence beat De Bruyne and played an enticing cross into the area that Raul Jimenez headed home to make it 2-1.
The hosts pushed hard for an equaliser, but none came and Gabriel Jesus added a third for Man City in second-half stoppage time as they picked up all three points to start the 2020-21 campaign.
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo highlighted his team’s failure to take their chances.
“We always have to give credit to our opponents because of the talent and the quality they have, but we should do better,” he said.
And Guardiola said after the win over Wolves that their Championship opponents can expect to see mostly academy players in the third-round tie.
“Against Bournemouth we will play most players from the academy and try to keep energy in the Premier League. With the lack of preparation and seven players out, we have to keep the players who played today as fresh as possible,” Guardiola said.
“We won the Carabao [League] Cup three times in a row and we would like to continue but we don’t have the players, in this period, to play every three days.”
The result means there has not been a single drawn match in the opening two rounds of Premier League fixtures and the 44 goals over a single game week is a record for the 20-team era.