City off to winning start with victory at Wolves

Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City celebrate a goal during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City at Molineux on September 21, 2020 in Wolverhampton, England.

Manchester City got their Premier League campaign off to a flying start with a 3-1 win at Wolverhampton on Monday.

Wolves beat City home and away last season but Pep Guardiola's side were full value for their victory despite a strong response from the home side after they went 2-0 down.

PFA Player of the Year Kevin de Bruyne put City in front with a penalty in the 20th minute. The Belgian broke into the box and was brought down by Romain Saiss before getting up to convert the spot-kick himself.

City's trademark passing game was at its very best for their second goal just past the half hour, Phil Foden ending a fine move with a clinical finish from a low Raheem Sterling cross.

Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio did well to keep out a de Bruyne effort as City threatened to put the game beyond them before the break but it was a different story after the interval.

Wolves' Daniel Podence broke goalwards but his attempted chip went over the bar and Raul Jimenez was then picked out by a low cross from Adama Traore but the Mexican side-footed wide from inside the box.

The home side finally gained some reward in the 78th minute when Jimenez headed home a Podence cross, but in stoppage time Gabriel Jesus made sure of the win for the visitors with a shot that deflected off Conor Coady.

The result means there has not been a single drawn match in the opening two rounds of Premier League fixtures and the 44 goals over a single "game week" is a record for the 20-team era.

Earlier, Aston Villa belatedly got their season up and running with a laboured 1-0 home win against 10-man Sheffield United as Ezri Konsa's second-half header proved enough to settle a dour game at Villa Park.

All eyes were on Villa's new record signing Ollie Watkins but it was defender Konsa, a former teammate of Watkins' at Brentford, and debutant goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez who earned their side three points.

Sheffield United had defender John Egan sent off after 12 minutes for pulling back Watkins but wasted a great chance to take the lead before half-time when John Lundstrum's penalty was saved by Martinez, signed from Arsenal last week.

Even with an extra man Villa struggled to create chances against a well-organised United side, but Konsa's 63rd minute header ensured a positive start for Dean Smith's side, which last season escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth.

It has been a disappointing opening to the campaign for Chris Wilder's United who have lost two from two without scoring having also gone down 2-0 at home to Wolves.

Smith said Egan's sending off had forced his Villa side to throw their game plan out of the window.

"We thought United would come and press and we wanted to suck them in and then play in the spaces behind," he said. "But that high press stopped as soon as Egan was sent off."

The last time the two sides met – the first Premier League match after the resumption of last season in June – the game was mired in controversy when United were denied a clear goal because of a failure of goal-line technology.

And they could feel a little hard done by again as Egan tugged at the shirt of Watkins, who was trying to latch on to a long pass by Tyrone Mings. Referee Graham Scott was a long way from the incident but had no hesitation in showing a red card.

Villa struggled to take advantage and were fortunate that Martinez saved Lundstrum's 36th minute penalty awarded, after a lengthy VAR review, for a foul by Matt Targett on Chris Basham.

United looked comfortable but their resistance was broken when Targett swung in a corner, Mings glanced it on and Konsa's header, lacking any power, crept past keeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Villa captain Jack Grealish curled a right-foot effort just wide and Watkins, who scored 26 goals in all competitions for second-tier Brentford last season before his move, also went close with a similar effort.

Villa's scheduled opener at Manchester City on September 12 was postponed so that Guardiola's side could have an extra week to recover from their Champions League campaign last term.
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