Manchester City survived a scare to start their Premier League title challenge with a 3-1 win against Wolves as Phil Foden enjoyed a moment of redemption on Monday.
City’s delayed start to the campaign — due to their involvement in last season’s Champions League — had allowed Liverpool to build a six-point lead over them before they had even kicked a ball.
Pep Guardiola’s side could not afford to slip up at Molineux if they wanted to keep pace with the champions and they raced into a two-goal lead before half-time thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s penalty and Foden’s cool finish.
City’s swaggering first half gave way to an anxious spell as Wolves dominated after the interval and they had to cling on after Raul Jimenez got one back before Gabriel Jesus sealed the points in stoppage time.
Guardiola will not have been happy with the way debutant centre-back Nathan Ake, the club’s major close-season signing from Bournemouth, and his defensive partner John Stones were tormented by Wolves in the second half.
While City equalled Aston Villa’s record of winning 10 consecutive opening fixtures to a top-flight season, there is little doubt Liverpool remain the Premier League’s preeminent force for now.
Foden’s goal was a welcome morale boost in his first match since the midfielder was sent home in disgrace, along with Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood, after the pair invited local women into the England team’s hotel.
The breach of coronavirus protocols after England’s Nations League match in Iceland was publicly condemned by City, but the 20-year-old retains Guardiola’s trust.
It feels like a crucial season for City and Guardiola as they look to regain the title they won in 2018 and 2019.
Guardiola says he needs to “deserve” an extension to his City contract rather than just be handed one as he enters the final year of his current deal.
After finishing 18 points behind Liverpool and suffering a shock Champions League quarter-final defeat against Lyon, City need to push the champions harder this term and the early signs were encouraging.
– Tense finale –
Passing and moving with real intent, City went close when De Bruyne forced Wolves keeper Rui Patricio to save his dipping free-kick.
It was De Bruyne, showing no signs of relaxing after being voted PFA Player of the Year last season, who took the responsibility of driving City forward and in the 20th minute he prised open the Wolves defence.
The Belgium midfielder’s burst into the Wolves area drew a rash lunge from Romain Saiss and referee Andre Marriner awarded a penalty that De Bruyne converted with ease.
Since the start of last season, De Bruyne has scored and assisted more Premier League goals (34) than any other player.
City were beaten by Wolves twice last season, but this was Guardiola’s team at their imperious best and they struck again with a slick move in the 32nd minute.
Gabriel Jesus laid off to De Bruyne and his perfectly-weighted pass found Sterling, whose precise cutback teed up Foden to slot home from 12 yards.
De Bruyne had a chance to make it three from Jesus’s pass, but for once he couldn’t apply the finishing touch as Rui Patricio saved well.
Totally out-classed in the first half, Wolves were much improved after the break and there were worrying side for Guardiola as he surveyed his creaking defence.
Daniel Podence turned to fire just wide and he threatened again with a chip over City keeper Ederson that just cleared the crossbar.
Jimenez should have reduced the deficit when he shot wide from Adama Traore’s cross.
Jimenez set up a tense finale when he met Podence’s cross with a powerful header in the 78th minute, but Jesus netted deep into stoppage-time as his shot deflected in off Conor Coady.
Tottenham on Sunday announced the signing of defender Matt Doherty from Premier League rivals Wolves for an undisclosed fee reported to be £15 million ($20 million).
The 28-year-old Ireland right-back has signed a four-year deal with Spurs and becomes Jose Mourinho’s third signing of the transfer window following the arrivals of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Joe Hart.
“We are delighted to announce the signing of Matt Doherty from Wolverhampton Wanderers,” Tottenham said on their official website.
Mourinho hailed his new signing: “I hate to play him so I’m so, so happy that I don’t play against him again. I’m so happy that we have him — incredible career for Wolves.”
“We want to have the best players, the best possible squad,” he added. “We are going to have months of competition non-stop and we need a better squad than we had last season.”
Doherty played youth football in Ireland before joining Wolves in 2010, where he made more than 300 appearances.
He helped Nuno Espirito Santo’s men to back-to-back seventh-place finishes and a Europa League quarter-final last season.
“I’m very proud to be joining such a big club,” Doherty said.
“(They have) the best stadium in the world and possibly the best training ground in the world from what I’ve seen. My time at Wolves was fantastic, I haven’t got a bad word to say about the whole club at all.”
Spurs finished sixth in the Premier League last season, ahead of Wolves on goal difference, and reached the last 16 of the Champions League.
Wolves battled into their first quarter-finals in Europe in 48 years on Thursday while Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and Basel enjoyed far more comfortable victories in the matches that brought the Europa League round of 16 to a belated close.
Raul Jimenez scored the only goal from the penalty spot in the ninth minute and Wolves survived a series of scares to edge Olympiakos 1-0 at Molineux for a 2-1 aggregate win in a tie that began in Athens on March 13.
Leverkusen beat visiting Rangers 1-0 to win 4-1 on aggregate while Basel beat Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 for a 4-0 aggregate victory.
Sevilla cruised past Roma 2-0 in a one-off Europa League game played at neutral Duisburg, which will one of the host grounds when the Rhineland region of Germany hosts the last three rounds of the competition from August 10-21.
At Molineux, Bobby Allain, the visitors’ Franco-Scottish goalkeeper, failed to control a back pass in the seventh minute.
Daniel Podence, who scored for Olympiakos at Tottenham in September but moved to Wolves in January, darted in and stole the ball.
Allain clumsily bundled his former clubmate over and Jimenez converted the penalty.
The Greek champions, who had drawn at Tottenham in the Champions League and won at Arsenal in the Europa League this season, responded by dominating possession.
They created a string of chances but were thwarted by good saves by Rui Patricio, a tight offside decision and their own inaccurate finishing.
Wolves, who began their Europa League campaign on July 25 last year against Crusaders in the second qualifying round, will next face Sevilla at Duisburg on August 11.
“A long, long season,” Jimenez said. “Now we are in the quarter-finals and we want to keep going.”
Sevilla were also in Duisburg on Thursday where they took the lead against Roma after 22 minutes. Captain and right back Jesus Navas switched play with a cross-field pass to left back Sergio Reguilon that caught Roma flat-footed.
Reguilon surged past two defenders and into the box before sliding a low shot past Spanish goalkeeper Pau Lopez’s foot.
Sevilla added a second on the counter-attack in the 43rd minute.
Lucas Ocampos burst down the right and after Lopez failed to cut out the low cross, Youssef En Neysri finished into an empty net from close range.
Sevilla, coached by former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui, dominated as they stretched their unbeaten run to 18 games in all competitions and kept on course to add to their record five Europa League titles.
“We are a team in every sense of the word. We want to win this tournament, we want to win everything we can,” said Reguilon.
It was a tame end to a dramatic day for Roma.
The club announced earlier Thursday that it had been bought by US billionaire Dan Friedkin for 591 million euros ($700 million).
“We’ve got to accept that Sevilla were superior,” said Roma coach Paulo Fonseca.
In Basel, defender Fabien Frei scored the only goal in the 88th minute as the home team won 1-0 to complete an aggregate 4-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.
In Leverkusen, Moussa Diaby scored the only goal after 51 minutes to complete a comfortable victory for Bayer, who won 3-1 in Glasgow in March.
“We had the chances to score one or two more times tonight and in the rounds to come we have to make sure that we’re more clinical,” said Leverkusen captain Lars Bender.
“But the most important thing about tonight was getting the ball rolling, avoiding injuries and re-establishing rhythm.”
In the quarter-finals, Bayer will make the short trip to Dusseldorf to face Inter Milan on August 10, Basel will play Shakhtar Donetsk in Gelsenkirchen the next night.
Manchester United could find themselves facing English rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semi-finals of the Europa League in Germany in August, after Friday’s draw for the latter stages of the tournament put the teams on a collision course.
While the UEFA Champions League is to be completed with a straight knockout mini-tournament in Lisbon in August, the Europa League will be played to a conclusion with an identical format in Germany. Both competitions were suspended in March as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
The Europa League final will be played in Cologne on August 21. The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played as one-off ties with Cologne, Duisburg, Duesseldorf and Gelsenkirchen all hosting games.
Before that, all last-16 ties must be completed. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United, who have been in fine form since the Premier League season resumed last month, are effectively already through to the last eight having won 5-0 away to Austrian side LASK in the first leg.
Assuming they progress, the 2017 Europa League winners will take on either Istanbul Basaksehir or FC Copenhagen in the quarter-finals on August 10 or 11. The Turkish side beat Copenhagen 1-0 at home in the first leg in March.
Meanwhile, Wolves drew 1-1 away to Olympiakos in the first leg of their last-16 tie. They are due to host the recently-crowned Greek champions in the return and would then need to beat Sevilla — who have won the Europa League and its precursor, the UEFA Cup, a record five times — or Roma in the quarter-finals.
Manchester United and Wolves are both chasing Champions League qualification through the Premier League, with the Old Trafford team fifth, six points ahead of sixth-placed Wolves with four games left.
Fifth in England’s top flight will be enough to qualify for the Champions League if Manchester City’s two-year ban from Europe is upheld. But winning the Europa League also offers a route into next season’s Champions League.
There are three German teams left in the Europa League, including Bayer Leverkusen. They won 3-1 away to Rangers in the first leg of their last-16 tie and will be confident of advancing to the last eight.
Leverkusen is barely 40 kilometres from Cologne, where the final will be played. They would play either Inter Milan or Getafe in the quarter-finals.
Only six of the eight last 16 first-leg matches were played in March. The other two ties — Inter v Getafe and Sevilla v Roma — will be decided as one-off matches on neutral ground in Germany.
As in the Champions League, all games are set to be played behind closed doors. This year’s Europa League final was initially due to be played in the Polish city of Gdansk in late May before the health crisis forced a change of plans.
Gdansk will host next year’s final instead.
Draw for Europa League Final Eight
The draw for the latter stages of this season’s Europa League made at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday:
Wolfsburg (GER) or Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) or Basel (SUI)
LASK (AUT) or Manchester United (ENG) v Istanbul Basaksehir (TUR) or FC Copenhagen (DEN)
Inter Milan (ITA) or Getafe (ESP) v Rangers (SCO) or Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
Olympiakos (GRE) or Wolverhampton Wanderers (ENG) v Sevilla (ESP) or Roma (ITA)
Ties to be played on August 10 and 11
Olympiakos/Wolves/Sevilla/Roma v LASK/Man Utd/Basaksehir/Copenhagen
Inter/Getafe/Rangers/Leverkusen v Wolfsburg/Shakhtar/Eintracht Frankfurt/Basel
Ties to be played on August 16 and 17
– Final on August 21 in Cologne
– Remaining last-16 matches to be played on August 5 and 6
– All matches from quarter-finals onwards to be played in Germany, with matches in Cologne, Duisburg, Duesseldorf and Gelsenkirchen
They fell behind to Steven Bergwijn’s first-half opener, but Matt Doherty equalised and even Serge Aurier restoring Tottenham’s lead couldn’t knock Wolves out of their stride.
It was a bitter blow for injury-hit Tottenham, who suffered three consecutive defeats in all competitions for the first time this season.
Heading into this weekend, Spurs had kept just three clean sheets in 22 games in all competitions since Mourinho took charge.
So Mourinho dropped defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen as part of four changes following last week’s defeat at Chelsea, with keeper Hugo Lloris sidelined by a groin injury.
Those switches included midfielder Eric Dier dropping back to center-half and exploited Mourinho’s reshuffle time and again.
Tottenham had their chances and took the lead with a superb counter in the 13th minute.
Giovani Lo Celso picked out Aurier’s run down the right and when the right-back’s cross reached Dele Alli, his shot was pushed out by Rui Patricio into the path of Bergwijn, who slotted home from close-range.
It was the Dutch winger’s second goal since joining Tottenham from PSV Eindhoven in January.
But the hosts remained creaky at the back and Nuno’s men crafted an impressive equaliser in the 27th minute.
Ruben Vinagre ran onto Jota’s pass and fought his way past Aurier to the touchline, where he delivered a teasing cross into the six-yard box.
Dier and Japhet Tanganga both made a hash of attempting to clear and Doherty made them pay as the defender fired past Paulo Gazzaniga for his seventh goal of the season.
Spurs In Disarray
Jose Mourinho said this week Tottenham have to “survive” in the race for the top four until they get some of their injured stars back.
Their hopes have been hit by the loss of Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, and Son Heung-min, but Tottenham were potent enough despite those absences and Aurier put them back in front in first-half stoppage-time.
The Ivory Coast international took Alli’s pass, cut inside Vinagre and curled a brilliant strike into the far corner from just inside the area.
Yet, in what proved a crucial miss, the unmarked Alli ghosted onto Ben Davies’ cross for a glancing header that crept wide.
Nuno sat on the Porto bench as reserve keeper when Mourinho guided the Portuguese club to Champions League glory in 2004.
And, trying to record his first victory as a manager over Mourinho at the third attempt, Nuno was back on level terms in the 57th minute.
Adama Traore bullied his way past Tanganga and found Jimenez, who slipped a pass to the over-lapping Doherty.
Doherty’s low cross reached Jota and he tapped in his sixth goal in three games from virtually on the line.
Tottenham’s back five were in disarray and Jota and Jimenez combined to win it in the 73rd minute.
Jota was the catalyst with an incisive burst beyond Dier and Davinson Sanchez.
His pass found Jimenez and the Mexican striker easily tricked his way past Tanganga, opening space for a fine finish that sparked wild celebrations from Nuno and his staff on the touchline.
Manchester United and Wolves missed another chance to close the gap on Chelsea in the race for a place in the Champions League next season with a 0-0 draw devoid on inspiration at Old Trafford.
Both sides remain six points adrift of Chelsea, despite a run of four wins in 13 games for the Blues, and fall a point behind Sheffield United.
United handed a debut to £47 million ($62 million) signing Bruno Fernandes in midfield as he went head-to-head with a host of his Portuguese international teammates.
Fernandes has been recruited to add some much-needed guile and goals to the United midfield and a lack of creativity and cutting edge up front without the injured Marcus Rashford was evident as they failed to break down a well-organized Wolves.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were largely limited to shots from the range with Fernandes keen to make his mark.
Andres Pereira and Fernandes fired wide before the debutant’s clean strike from the edge of the box was too close to Rui Patricio.
Wolves also harbour ambitions of playing Champions League football for the first time next season, but were overly cautious in their approach and have now failed to score in three meetings with United over the past month.
Adama Traore caused Liverpool a litany of problems in Wolves’ last outing, but the Spaniard was not allowed the same space to exploit by United and blasted wide his side’s best chance before the break.
Fernandes tested his former Sporting Lisbon teammate Rui Patricio again from distance with a free-kick and Juan Mata curled wide as United’s pressure began to build without ever cutting the visitors’ open.
And Wolves’ plan to contain and counter-attack nearly paid off when Traore burst through the heart of the United midfield and played in Raul Jimenez, who forced David de Gea into a fine save.
United’s other new signing Odion Ighalo was not available after completing a late loan move from Shanghai Shenhua before Friday’s transfer deadline.
Solskjaer, therefore, had to turn to 18-year-old Mason Greenwood in the search for a winner and the teenager nearly delivered with a deflected shot that fell kindly into the wrong-footed Patricio’s arms.
The hosts best chance fell to substitute Diogo Dalot deep into stoppage time, but his header trickled inches wide to ensure United have won just one of their last five league games.
Arsenal’s winless run in the Premier League stretched to three games as Raul Jimenez’s header 14 minutes from time earned Wolves a well-deserved 1-1 draw at the Emirates on Saturday.
A week on from a foul-mouthed reaction towards the Arsenal fans as he was substituted against Crystal Palace, Gunners captain Granit Xhaka was left out of the squad by Unai Emery in an attempt to ease the tension between players and supporters.
However, there was no great upturn in the Arsenal performance with doubts growing with every passing week that Emery is the man to lead Arsenal back into the Champions League next season.
Emery also responded to the Xhaka controversy by listening to the fans’ calls for Mesut Ozil’s return as the German made just his second Premier League start of the season.
However, Ozil made little impact with Arsenal again reliant on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who replaced Xhaka as captain and opened the scoring, for inspiration.
Wolves started by far the better of the two sides, but were too often reliant on potshots from long range as Bernd Leno saved from Joao Moutinho’s free-kick before Ruben Neves’s dipping effort just did not come down in time to hit the target.
Arsenal took the lead against the run of play on 21 minutes when a low cross found Alexandre Lacazette inside the area and he teed up Aubameyang to slot home his 50th goal for Arsenal.
The goal appeared to settle the Gunners’ nerves and Rui Patricio twice had to be alert to deny Lucas Torreira and Lacazette from doubling the hosts’ advantage.
However, Wolves ended the first period as they had started by posing the greater threat and only a wonderful one-handed save from Leno prevented Matt Doherty levelling from Diogo Jota’s cut-back.
Leno was the busier of the goalkeepers after the break too as he turned another long-range Neves effort to safety.
And Wolves were finally rewarded with an equaliser when Moutinho’s looping cross into the box was headed down past Leno by Jimenez.
Ozil had the chance to make himself a hero but failed to pick out an Arsenal shirt with plenty queuing up to apply the finishing touch six minutes later.
But it was Wolves who had the best chance to snatch all three points when Jota eased through a flurry of weak Arsenal challenges in the final minute only to be denied by Leno.
The final whistle was met with boos from the disgruntled home fans and Arsenal could end the weekend six points adrift of the top four if Chelsea and Leicester win later on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Tammy Abraham once again demonstrated why Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has placed his faith in the 21-year-old with a superb hat-trick in a crushing 5-2 defeat of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves were supposed to be celebrating the 130 years in their Molineux home but the celebrations fell flat as Lampard’s young guns swept Nuno Espirito Santo’s side away.
Abraham’s treble was the outstanding contribution as he became the third player aged under 22 to score two goals in three successive Premier League games, matching the achievement of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United and Tottenham’s Dele Alli.
But his efforts were well supported by two other graduates from the Chelsea academy, centre-back Fikayo Tomori — who opened the scoring with a stunning 30-yard strike, his first for the club — and midfielder Mason Mount, scorer of the added-time fifth.
Wolves conjured a response in the 69th minute when Romain Saiss header deflected off Abraham into his own net and added an 85th minute second through Patrick Cutrone’s close range finish.
But at that point, Lampard’s side had established a four-goal lead and were providing further vindication for the Chelsea manager’s decision to reverse the trend of the past decade and a half at Stamford Bridge and give the club’s youngsters a chance this season.
A two-window transfer embargo has forced Lampard’s hand to a certain extent but the manager’s strong support for his young players is clearly bearing fruit.
And the former Chelsea midfielder was entitled to draw particular pleasure from the way Tomori, Mount and Abraham – who have each worked their way through the ranks after joining the club at under-eight level – combined for the Blues second goal.
A comprehensive victory that keeps Chelsea level with Tottenham, Manchester United and Leicester in the early battle for a top-four finish could also kickstart the Blues’ campaign.
For Wolves manager Nuno, though, defeat provided cause for concern, particularly ahead of the start of the Europa League group stage.
Wolves came into the game with the unwanted record of being the only Premier League not to have led for a single minute in a game this season.
And that remained the case when Tomori broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion in the 31st minute.
There was an element of luck in the way the ball broke for the 21-year-old after Jonny dispossessed Mount but there was no denying the quality of Tomori’s side-footed effort that curled into the top corner from 30 yards out.
Worse was to come for Nuno’s side three minutes later when Tomori surged forward from halfway, moved the ball on to Mount inside the penalty area and Abraham was on hand to finish when his team-mate went to ground under a challenge from Conor Coady.
Abraham struck again four minutes before the break, heading home from Marcos Alonso’s cross after Jesus Vallejo’s poor clearing header.
And the forward added his third and sent a telling reminder to Gareth Southgate, who left Abraham out of his recent England squad, when he beat Coady and fired past Rui Patricio ten minutes after the restart.
Abraham’s busy afternoon continued when he was given the unwanted credit for Wolves’ first consolation after Saiss headed a Joao Moutinho corner goalwards.
Cutrone then reacted first after Kepa Arrizabalaga parried Matt Doherty’s shot for his first goal in English football, but Mount completed a comfortable win with a composed finish in added time.
Richarlison bagged a brace as Everton earned a dramatic 3-2 win over Wolves on Sunday.
Brazil forward Richarlison scored the winner with 10 minutes left at Goodison Park to hand the Toffees their second win of the Premier League season.
It was an encouraging day for Everton boss Marco Silva, who handed first Premier League starts to summer signings in Moise Kean, Alex Iwobi and Fabian Delph, the latter making his first appearance in the league since January with Manchester City.
All three made an impact with former Arsenal winger Iwobi scoring for the second successive game.
Romain Saiss and Raul Jimenez, with his eighth goal in eight starts this season, had twice drawn the visitors level.
Wolves remain without a win in four league games after suffering their first defeat of the season.
Only Bolton, bottom of League One with none, had scored fewer goals heading into this weekend than Everton.
But Silva’s side ended that run within 12 minutes, which provided as many goals as in Everton’s previous 180 on the pitch.
The opener was a shambles from Wolves’ point of view.
Conor Coady hesitated in playing a backpass to Rui Patricio so when he eventually did, the goalkeeper was taken by surprise and could only stab the ball to Kean, who fortuitously diverted it into the path of Richarlison and he blasted into the net.
Everton, with six successive home league clean sheets having not conceded since February in their last Goodison defeat, would have been hopeful of extending that run considering their record so far this season.
But that evaporated within four minutes as Adama Traore skipped past Lucas Digne and his low cross rebounded for Saiss to fire home from close range.
Back came Everton and Gylfi Sigurdsson swung in a right-wing cross which Iwobi headed home at the far post.
Joao Moutinho, one of the Wolves quartet rested after beating Torino in the Europa League in midweek, was introduced on the hour mark.
The changes worked as Jimenez levelled 15 minutes from time, the striker stealing in at the far post behind the napping Digne to bundle home a Ryan Bennett long throw flicked on by Willy Boly.
But Richarlison had the final say, heading home a Digne cross 10 minutes from time.
Boly’s second yellow card in the final seconds added to Wolves’ frustration.