Carlos Tevez gives Manchester City edge over Wolves
Edin Dzeko did not manage to score on his debut, but he showed plenty of promise and will have a much clearer idea now of what Manchester City are all about. His new side played like strangers in the first half, went a goal behind, then just about enjoyed the better of a seven-goal share-out to climb to the top of the Premier League table.
Accommodating their £27m signing, however, meant David Silva and James Milner were among those missing out, which in turn meant City’s bench alone was worth a nine-figure sum. The entire Wolves squad only coast a fraction of that, of course, not that anyone would have guessed in the first half hour.
The visitors gave City a passing lesson from the start, easily finding their way through the back line and its two defensive shields and making the home side’s attempts to get forward look clumsy. It was no great surprise when Wolves went in front in the 12th minute, the only mystery was how they failed to add to their lead before City got back on terms. Nenad Milijas, a constructive midfield influence all afternoon, scored the opening goal after a comedy of errors in the City defence. Matt Jarvis’s cross from the right was first deflected off Gareth Barry, then Kolo Touré’s attempted clearance struck Vincent Kompany, and though Joe Hart managed a point-blank save to keep out Milijas’s first effort he was unable to prevent the Serbian’s follow-up.
The former Red Star Belgrade player then headed a decent chance straight at Hart, before excellent interplay between Stephen Hunt and Steven Fletcher on the left set up a perfect shooting opportunity for Jarvis, only for the winger to see Aleksandar Kolarov fling himself in the way of a goalbound effort. By this stage Dzeko must have been wondering what sort of team he had joined, particularly when he found Carlos Tevez with an astute pass and saw the City captain waste a good position with a heavy first touch.
City did manage to get more into the game as the interval approached, Adam Johnson bringing a save from Wayne Hennessey and Tevez going close with a pot shot from distance, and eventually drew level from a corner earned when a Dzeko shot was blocked. The cross came through to Kolo Touré at the far post, and Wolves seemed to put more faith in putting men on the line than closing down the shot. Touré had time to hit a low shot so firmly it found the net through Hunt, Hennessey and David Jones.
The second half was a completely different story once City went ahead a couple of minutes after the restart, and it was a different trio of Wolves players left flat-footed as Tevez went on a Diego Maradona-type surge to score. Picking up the ball from a throw-in Tevez burst into the area and between Christophe Berra and Hunt, before slaloming past Richard Stearman to slot a low shot beyond Hennessey. It was quite a goal, and there was more to come. Seven minutes later Dzeko took a Tevez pass and came up with an inspired through ball of his own to allow Yaya Touré to run on and score. Tevez headed in off the underside of the bar from Pablo Zabaleta’s cross to make it four, before Joleon Lescott climbed all over Kevin Doyle to concede a penalty from which the Wolves striker pulled a goal back.
City withdrew Tevez and Johnson to milk the crowd’s applause before the close, then ended up hanging on nervily after Yaya Touré missed a golden opportunity to wrap up the points and Ronald Zubar brought Wolves right back in touch with a header from a Hunt corner. Had the same player managed to convert an earlier chance rather than striking the bar City might have had to settle for a draw. Not many teams reach the top of the table by conceding three goals at home, but given time Dzeko will probably get used to it.