Wolves shatter Manchester City's perfect start in stunning upset

This is Manchester City's first loss in Premier League 2023/24

By Web Desk
September 30, 2023
Wolves beat ManCity 2-1 - REUTERS

On a scorching afternoon, the Wolves pulled off a shock victory that marred Manchester City's flawless record and signalled a promising start to Gary O'Neil's tenure at the helm.

Wolves, in splendid form throughout the match, had struggled earlier in the season. However, a combination of a slightly off-colour City performance and the controversial presence of Matheus Nunes, cast as the villain, turned the stadium into a cauldron of excitement.

City found it challenging to cope, and the home crowd played a role in Nunes' substitution at halftime by Pep Guardiola, who watched from the stands due to a suspension.

Hwang Lee-chan's decisive goal, scored six minutes into the second half during a trademark counter-attack, provided a significant boost for O'Neil while leaving Guardiola with much to ponder after City's smooth start to their title defence.

This outcome appeared imminent long before the referee, Craig Pawson, blew the final whistle. The image of Erling Haaland, contained by Craig Dawson and Max Kilman, charging towards Pawson just before halftime summed up City's early frustrations.

Hwang, who was already carrying a yellow card, had brought down Kyle Walker, and City fervently urged Pawson to produce another card. Wolves played on the edge, launching into tackles, fueled by the relentless jeering of Nunes, which City deemed excessive.

As Guardiola descended three flights of stairs from the director's box to the dressing room, he knew that their inability to breach a resolute defence was why the reigning champions were trailing. The solution was to introduce teenager Oscar Bobb, replacing Nunes. A chorus of "What a waste of money" echoed from the Sir Jack Hayward stand. The home fans had done their part, successfully ousting someone they viewed as a mercenary and who had expressed regret about how his time with the team had ended.

The central areas of the pitch had become overly congested, with City failing to threaten sufficiently from the wings. Dawson's timely intervention, deflecting a Nunes cross away from the Norwegian Haaland, had been their closest chance to score.

Pawson was in danger of losing control, and it's ironic that Guardiola, known for his touchline antics, might have earned himself a booking if not for his one-match ban for accumulating three yellow cards. Seated two seats away from Mike Summerbee in the main stand, Guardiola was left to mutter to Sporting Director Txiki Begiristain.