City's all-star attack fails to sparkle on home debut

Manchester City 1 Wolverhampton 0

On the evidence of this match, it's a new striker Manchester City need rather than a new central defender. It's hard to imagine they could be so profligate again this season but, if they are, they will almost certainly be punished by teams with a little more attacking wherewithal and self-belief than Wolves could muster on Saturday.

Given that City are all about attack, their opening home game of the season was a bit of an anti-climax, rather like a top designer's fashion show where most of the creations fall flat. Carlos Tevez was there strutting his stuff on the catwalk and, of course, for some just to see him in his No32 Sky Blue shirt instead of that horrible red thing was enough.

The home fans were just gagging to celebrate his opening goal for the club – one off his backside would have done – but in the event the biggest applause they could give him was for working the Wolves back four in his inimitable manic fashion. Presumably, Mark Hughes and his Arab employers will want a little more for their £30m than that. "We're not the finished article by any means, but we'll get better," vowed the City manager.

Of course, one would be mad to suggest there are not enough goals in this side – there was enough even on the bench on Saturday – but it remains to be seen how well they gel because this is a team that is all about movement in the final third of the pitch rather than distinct formation. Neither Emmanuel Adebayor nor Tevez are target men, so headed goals will be out of the question unless they come from defenders at set-pieces.

Not that City threw in too many aimless crosses. Almost everything was gloriously to feet, like the goal for instance which, to be fair, Tevez played a major part in setting up. It started with Robinho, as most things did, wide on the left.

Wolves' preoccupation with the Brazilian gave others time and space and in this instance it gave Wayne Bridge all the time he needed to cross. A first-time touch from Tevez that served both to kill the ball and lay it off with perfect weight in one movement gave Adebayor the opportunity to turn and fire past Wayne Hennessey at his near post. It was an impressive follow-up to his opening goal at Blackburn the previous week.

The fact that the man from Togo should have added two more, crucially one just eight minutes after his 16th minute goal when he shot straight at Hennessey which would have allowed City to relax more, was conveniently overlooked by Hughes, who naturally preferred to dwell on Adebayor's many plusses.

"Technically, he's a very gifted player and he also gives us a physical presence," said Hughes. "When you knock the ball up to him he's very difficult to handle. He can link the play himself or he can turn and sprint away from the centre-backs, which is a quality we didn't have in the side last season."

The longer City went without turning their overwhelming superiority into goals – Stephen Ireland's second-half miss after playing a one-two with Robinho was inexcusable – the bolder and braver Wolves got. The truth is, after City's goal, the two nearest efforts both came from the newly-promoted side, when Matthew Jarvis forced Shay Given into the kind of full-length save Mick McCarthy, the Wolves manager, was happily familiar with during their Republic of Ireland days together, and when Andrew Keogh beat the Irishman only to hit the bar.

Hughes saw that as an inevitable result of City's attacking style and the way they dealt with it as a further example of their new-found spirit and steel. Others saw it as blindingly obvious proof that they still need strengthening in defence.

No wonder when asked, once Joleon Lescott's inevitable transfer from Everton goes through, bringing the Arabs' outlay this summer to £120m, was that it, as far as strengthening the defence was concerned, he replied: "Not necessarily."

Manchester City (4-1-2-3): Given; Richards, Dunne, Touré, Bridge; Barry; Wright-Phillips, Ireland; Tevez (Bellamy, 72), Adebayor, Robinho (De Jong, 82). Substitutes not used: Zabaleta, Onuoha, Petrov, Weiss, Taylor (gk)

Wolverhampton Wanderers: (4-1-4-1): Hennessey; Stearman, Craddock, Mancienne, S Ward (Vokes, 73); Henry; Jarvis, Halford (Elokobi, h-t), Edwards, Milijas (Doyle, h-t); Keogh. Substitutes not used: Surman, Jones, Berra, Hahnemann.

Booked: Wolves Stearman.

Referee: L Mason (Bolton).

Man of the match: Robinho.

Attendance: 47,287.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own