Gritty Wolves travel to the Etihad with upset in mind


SOME say Wolverhampton Wanderers are the last serious hurdle Manchester City will face in their bid to retain the English Premier League title and make it an unprecedented four-in-a-row.

City’s clash with Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 14 does appear to be a fixture that could also unsettle the champions, but there are not many banking on an upset there.

It is Wolves who appear most likely to keep Arsenal’s chance of a first league crown in two decades simmering – and of course, the Gunners themselves.

They’ll need to win against Bournemouth today just to stay in the conversation.

Arsenal lead the standings with 80 points, with three games to go. Man City have a game in hand and are a single point off the top – and favourites to the triumph – to make it six league titles in the last seven seasons.

The Citizens are also tipped to see off the challenge of Gary O’Neil’s Wolves, who will be seeking a double over the Etihad side after beating them in the reverse fixture back in September.

With so much at stake for Pep Guardiola’s charges, it is unlikely that they will let this one slip as well.

They are through to the FA Cup final, where they will meet Manchester United.

And if they were to lose at Wembley, the league title would be their only source of silverware this season, having come short in the Carabao League Cup and Champions League.

And for a team widely regarded as the best in the world, that would be catastrophic – finishing the season without any trophies to show for all the talent and big money spent.

Perhaps it is for this reason that Wolves pose such a grave threat.

They’re 11th on the log and will probably finish there, which would be an improvement on their 13th place last season.

They really have nothing much to play for apart from some pride, and that is what makes them so dangerous.

O’Neil has fashioned a side that can take on and beat anybody on their day.

But they are equally poor when doing so well. And to put things in perspective, in both Carabao Cup and FA Cup, they crashed out to lower division opposition – Ipswich and Coventry respectively.

Yet, if they hold their nerve today and lose the sense of uneasiness of coming against the champions, the likes of Antoine Semenyo, Hwang Hee-Chan, Toti, Joao Gomes, Boubacar Traore and Matheus Cunha could well make their presence felt.

For Guardiola, he’ll expect his squad to play and deliver, just as they have become accustomed to.

And with Erling Haaland back in the side from injury, City are just stronger for it.

Wolves, like Liverpool, have suffered the most from the scourge of VAR, and they will hope, as we all will, that the video assistant referee does not get involved in this way – at least not in a bad way.

In the other featured matches, Chelsea, who played Spurs on Thursday, should get the better of West Ham, while Crystal Palace will do well to draw with Man United in London.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

   

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