Raheem Sterling scored his 100th Premier League goal as Manchester City beat 10-man Wolves 1-0 following Raul Jimenez’s foolish first-half red card.
At the end of a sleepy opening half, Jimenez inexplicably saw red for two yellow cards in the space of just 31 seconds, first for a foul on halfway and then for attempting to block the resulting free-kick.
City finally broke the deadlock with a controversial penalty award – Bernardo Silva’s cross hit Joao Moutinho’s armpit, though Jon Moss and VAR adjudged the ball to have hit enough of the midfielder’s arm – allowing Sterling to reach his Premier League century from the spot, the 32nd player to do so and the eighth-youngest at 27 years old.
31 – Only 31 seconds separated Raúl Jiménez’s first and second yellow cards (45:50-46:21). It’s his first red card in his 102nd Premier League appearance, while he’s the first Mexican to be sent off in the competition. Orders.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 11, 2021
The result means City extend their winning Premier League run to seven, and will end the weekend top of the Premier League, while Wolves are now winless and without a goal in four.
Man City: Ederson (6), Cancelo (7), Dias (6), Laporte (6), Zinchenko (6), Rodri (6), Gundogan (6), Silva (6), Grealish (5), Sterling (7), Jesus (6)
Subs: Foden (5), De Bruyne (5)
Wolves: Sa (6), Semedo (6), Kilman (7), Coady (7), Saiss (6), Ait-Nouri (6), Moutinho (6), Neves (6), Dendoncker (6), Traore (6), Jimenez (3)
Subs: Hwang (5), Trincao (NA), Podence (NA)
Man of the match: Joao Cancelo
How City broke down 10-man Wolves following bizarre Jimenez red
The majority of the first half was joyless and tepid as Manchester City dominated the ball, but struggled to break down a tight Wolves unit, who themselves struggled to implement the game plan on the counter-attack.
But in first-half stoppage time, the game came to life as Jimenez foolishly received two bookings in quick succession. After seeing yellow for fouling Rodri on halfway, the Mexican then stood in the way of the City free-kick, leaving Jon Moss with no choice but to send him off. Jimenez, seemingly shocked and embarrassed by the needless red, took an age to walk off the pitch.
City had a strong shout for a penalty denied minutes later as Jack Grealish’s cross hit the arm of Max Kilman in the box, and though the Wolves defender leaned into the ball with his arms by his side, both Moss and the VAR gave him the benefit of the doubt.
As expected, the numerical advantage only increased City’s pressure on the Wolves goal, but more clear-cut openings began to appear. Ilkay Gundogan’s header was cleared off the line by Conor Coady, before City were awarded a controversial spot-kick.
Bernardo’s cross looked to hit the armpit of Moutinho in the box – in truth, it looked less of a penalty than the Kilman incident in the first half – but after a VAR review the initial decision of penalty stood. Sterling stepped up, and rolled his penalty down the middle to join the Premier League 100 club.
Jack Grealish should have made it two minutes later, turning over the bar with most of the goal gaping at the far post from a Sterling cross.
Wolves, in their own defensive third for most of the game, put their bodies on the line to keep within one goal of City, and they were nearly rewarded in stoppage time with their only meaningful attack of the afternoon. Leander Dendoncker crossed for Kilman back post, and his header had to be tipped over the bar by Ederson, who was a mere spectator until then at the Etihad.
Manchester City made two changes from the 3-1 win at Watford as Zinchenko came in for Walker, and Gabriel Jesus also came in for Phil Foden, who was on the bench.
Wolves made one change from the 1-0 defeat by Liverpool as Hwang dropped to the bench, replaced by Joao Moutinho.
It wasn’t City’s most impressive performance, but with 71 per cent possession and 24 shots to three, few could deny they didn’t deserve it.
Opta stats – City flying
- Manchester City have lost just one of their last 10 home games against Wolves in all competitions (W7 D2), going down 2-0 in October 2019.
- Manchester City have won 32 of their 40 Premier League games in 2021 (D2 L6) – only Liverpool in 1982 (33) have won more matches in a single calendar year in English top-flight history.
- Ederson registered the 100th clean sheet of his Man City career, in what was his 212th appearance for the club. Since his debut for the Citizens in August 2017, Ederson has kept more clean sheets in all competitions than any other Premier League goalkeeper.
Man City now host Leeds at 8pm on Tuesday, while Wolves are at Brighton at 7.30pm on Wednesday. Watch free highlights from both games shortly after full time on Sky Sports.com, the Sky Sports App and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel.