Jesus provides more divine inspiration for City

Despite Wolves’ plucky second half effort, the Premier League title race is surely over with Man City set to regain the crown
Jesus provides more divine inspiration for City

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring their side's fourth goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Tuesday March 2, 2021.

Man City 4 (Dendoncker 15, OG; Jesus 80, 93; Mahrez 90) Wolves 1 (Coady 61)

Two late goals from Gabriel Jesus kept the numbers ticking over in Manchester City’s season of unprecedented dominance — 15 points clear at the top, 21 consecutive victories, a 28-match unbeaten run — although, for half an hour or so, at least Wolves made it a contest.

Most of their rivals have been unable to do that, since City last lost at Tottenham 101 days ago, and maybe that offers hope for the clubs still to face Pep Guardiola’s side in the FA Cup or Carabao Cup; the hope that they can be beaten.

But for now, despite Wolves’ plucky second half effort, the title race is surely over.

Conor Coady had equalised for Wolves, from their first touch in the City penalty area and with his first ever attempt on target in a Premier League game, stooping to head home Joao Moutinho’s 61st minute free-kick impressively.

But with 11 minutes remaining, a patient, passing City build-up ended with Kyle Walker sprinting down the right and, after his cross was blocked by a group of defenders, Jesus rammed the ball in from six yards for City’s second.

For good measure, Riyad Mahrez stroked in an excellent finish from just inside the area in the final minute after Rodri had won the ball back deep in Wolves territory.

And with, literally, the last kick of the game an Ilkay Gundogan shot was well saved by Rui Patricio and Jesus tapped in the loose ball.

Given the final result, the only surprise from a first half of complete City domination was that they only had one goal to show for their almost laughable superiority.

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game 

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game 

It might have been two, with defender Aymeric Laporte’s effort being ruled out for offside before Bernardo Silva’s running header was well kept out by Rui Patricio in injury-time, with the City man blazing a follow-up shot over from a difficult angle.

But at the break, it was the most slender of City leads, after the most dominant of first half displays.

How dominant? The 75% possession Guardiola’s team held in that first period was one metric by which to measure it but, more so, was a statistic produced at about the 25 minute mark, at which point Wolves had completed 28 passes. City’s holding midfielder Rodri had completed 30 on his own.

And Rodri it was who started the move that led to the opening own goal after 15 minutes when his sweeping ball out to the right-wing dropped with unerring precision at the feet of Mahrez who drilled over the perfect low centre.

Raheem Sterling raced in to complete a superb move with a tap-in but was beaten to the cross by Leander Dendoncker who could not do anything apart from turn the ball into his own net.

At least Wolves tried to get Adama Traore on the ball on a couple of occasions at the start of the second half but the hour mark came and went without Wolves having produced a single shot, let alone win a corner.

Instead, City pushed on, Rui Patricio making a super diving save to turn a Kevin De Bruyne shot around his post and then a Mahrez blast was equally well stopped.

Yet, when Wolves finally enjoy a sight of the home goal they claimed the most unlikely of equalisers that finally seemed to spark City into life.

The ever-threatening Sterling clipped the post with a bold, curling effort from 25 yards before Guardiola threw on Gundogan in search of a second, although before the German could even get on the field, Jesus had struck.

MAN CITY (4-3-3): Ederson 6; Walker 6, Dias 7, Laporte 7, Cancelo 6; De Bruyne 7, Rodri 7, B Silva 6 (Gundogan 82); Mahrez 9, Jesus 8, Sterling 8.

WOLVES (3-4-2-1): Rui Patricio 8; Dendoncker 6, Coady 8, Saiss 6; Hoever 6, Neves 5 (Otasowie 90), Joao Moutinho 7, Jonny 5 (Fabio Silva 55, 6); Nelson Semedo 5, Neto 6; Traore 6.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh 7.

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox