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Manchester City hit the front in the Premier League title race for the first time this season when they strolled to a comfortable 3-1 win at Watford, and they are unlikely to relinquish that lead any time soon thanks to a relatively favourable run of fixtures.
On Saturday afternoon, they take on a Wolves side that has failed to win their previous three Premier League games and should have little trouble maintaining their position at the top of the table ahead of a busy festive period.
There is little doubt that they will win on Saturday, and could even do so without conceding a goal. Wolves have failed to score in their last three games and boast the second worst goalscoring record in the division so far. Bruno Lage’s troops have drawn a blank on eight occasions in their first 15 league games and have done so in four of their last five games too.
Saturday 12:30pm – Man City v Wolves
BT Sport 1
City, however, have not been blowing teams away like they did in the past – despite winning each of their last five league games. They have scored 12 fewer goals than Liverpool after just 15 games and boast just the third best goalscoring record in the division – an uncharacteristic feat for a Guardiola side that has scored the most goals in each Premier League season since 2017/18.
Wolves, meanwhile, for all of their frailties going forward, have the best defensive record in the league outside of the top three and have conceded just one more goal than Liverpool. They showed how hard they were to break down against the Reds last weekend and always seem to give City a game.
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It has been a season to forget for Raheem Sterling so far. The English winger caught the eye with some exceptional performances for England at Euro 2020 and came into this campaign on 96 Premier League goals, so it is quite simply astonishing that he has yet to reach the hundred-goal landmark.
Sterling has scored just three times in 13 league appearances, but seems to be beginning to find form again. He recently scored in the 3-1 win at Watford, while he also found the net with a crisp volley in the 3-0 victory over Everton last month.
Sterling was also on target in City’s 2-1 win over PSG last month, which guaranteed their passage to the last-16 as group winners. He was rested against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night, so should get the nod to start on Saturday afternoon and can cause damage in a game that City are almost guaranteed to dominate.
Mahrez is City’s top scorer so far this season in all competitions and it is little wonder why when you look at the number of shots the Algerian winger has tried. Mahrez has attempted 41 shots in 21 appearances this season, at least eight more than any other City player and 15 more than third-placed Phil Foden.
He has hit the target with 61% of his efforts this term and should be confident of registering at least two efforts against a Wolves side that faced 17 shots against City’s title rivals Liverpool last weekend.
It has not been a vintage year for Raul Jimenez as he makes his return from a sickening head injury, with the Mexican forward scoring just three times for Wolves this campaign. It has not been for want of trying, however.
Jimenez has attempted 21 shots in the league this season, the most of any Wolves player. On Saturday, he faces a City defence that boasts the joint-best defensive record in the league, but it is not all bad news.
City have conceded in each of their last three games and faced an average of more than seven shots per game across their five-game winning spell in the league. Wolves, with Jimenez leading the line, should at least trouble Ederson’s goal on some occasions on Saturday afternoon.
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