Wolverhampton Wanderers host the champions Manchester City in the early kick off on Saturday in what proves to be a blockbuster affair at Molyneux.
For the home side, it has been a start that is below the par many outsiders expected of Wolves, but is very early days and some players have shone already.
Manchester City head into the game in the form they finished last season, on the back of dismantling Huddersfield Town at the Etihad last Sunday.
I take a look at both sides, as well as some of the key factors that may impact the way this affair will swing on Saturday.
When? Saturday 12:30pm
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Last League Meeting: Wolves 0-2 Man City (April 2012)
Odds: H 12/1; A 2/7; D 6/1.
Club record signing Adama Traore impressed off the bench last weekend and is expected to make his first start, which will frighten the young City defence.
Wing back Matt Doherty is fit despite being forced off with an injury in the loss to Leicester.
For City, Claudio Bravo is set to miss the best part of the season with an Achilles tendon injury suffered in training this week. In response, City have recalled teenage goalkeeper Arojarnet Muric from a loan spell at unofficial sister club NAC Breda.
David Silva is set for his first 90 minutes of the season after completing an hour in an impressive performance against Huddersfield last weekend.
Wolves Predicted XI: Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny; Traore, Jimenez, Jota.
City Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho, Gundogan, D. Silva; B.Silva, Aguero, Sterling.
Molineux awaits in expectance
It has been a far from easy start to life back in the Premier League for Wolves, but their attractive brand of football has caught the eye of many neutrals.
Nuno Espirito Santo will stick to his principles, and not be one to change his ways and sit back just because one of the big boys are in town.
He said this week: “We do not know how to play another way. We will not change because we want to build something”.
If that is so, this could be an exciting tie. With City playing their possession based game high in the Wolves half, they may be susceptible to the counter attack, especially if Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker play as high up as they have done so far this season.
With this being the first big team to visit Molineux since their promotion, the crowd will be up and the roar when they enter the City half will be deafening.
Ruben Neves is a player that has been courted by Pep Guardiola and City as a potential replacement for the ageing Fernandinho. The Portuguese midfielder has enjoyed a positive start to life in the Premier League after an eye catching season in the Championship. Will he use this game as an audition to Pep Guardiola and managers of other clubs?
What cards will Guardiola play from his stacked deck?
In the 6-1 victory over Huddersfield, Guardiola’s bench included the likes of Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Leroy Sané and Phil Foden – and that is not to mention the fact their star man, Kevin De Bruyne, is sidelined for a few months with a knee injury.
To say City have an embarrassment of riches is an understatement, but this creates a selection headache for Pep Guardiola. The Catalan coach, as we have seen in the Amazon Prime ‘All or Nothing’ documentary, will be sat in a room on his laptop plotting how he can beat Wolves.
But, what weapon does he choose to use? Does he have to be wary of the counter attack? Does he risk starting the attacking Mendy and risk leaving the space in behind? Will he opt for the tricky, finesse players in Mahrez and Bernardo, or opt for pace and power in Sterling and Sané? Does he opt for a 3 or 4 at the back?
These are all questions that will be mulling around Pep Guardiola’s head. Whether he opts for the conservative approach, or whether he unleashes his stars, is unknown, making it almost impossible to predict his lineups.
I think this will be City’s toughest game of the season, thus far.
Arsenal invited City on to them, Huddersfield just weren’t at the races, whilst Wolves may go toe to toe with City and try and win the tie, just like they nearly did at the Etihad in the Carabao Cup last season.
Despite this, City should have enough to win, but I think it will be tight. I’ve gone for a City win, with Wolves taking the lead in the first half. Aguero and David Silva to score.
Wolves 1-2 City.