Manchester City dropped their first points of the season, as Premier League newcomers Wolves claimed a richly deserved 1-1 draw, although there was controversy as the first goal at Molineux clearly went into the net off the arm of home defender Willy Boly.
There will clearly be more questions over why the Premier League didn’t bring in the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system this season, but the controversy shouldn’t overshadow what was a terrific performance and result for Wolves.
Big-spending City had enjoyed the perfect start to the season, winning 2-0 at Arsenal and then thrashing Huddersfield 6-1, fully justifying their status as favourites to be the first team to successfully defend a Premier League title since Manchester United a decade ago.
But they didn’t have it all their own way on this particular Saturday afternoon. With the atmosphere crackling at Molineux, the home side were fired up from the start, and Benjamin Mendy had to be alert to intervene and prevent Helder Costa having an early shot on goal.
Naturally City always looked dangerous, such is their attacking power. And after a fine move involving Mendy and Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan was sent through on goal, but his shot was weak and straight at Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Wolves then had a goal disallowed after 19 minutes, Vincent Kompany being slow to clear and Diogo Jota driving across goal for Raul Jimenez to tuck the ball home – but the Mexican was in an offside position.
That seemed to spark the champions into life and City hit the woodwork twice in two minutes – first Aguero’s fizzing low shot cannoned off a post, then a brilliant Raheem Sterling drive from distance was superbly tipped by Patricio onto the crossbar.
Just after the half hour mark, Fernandinho dragged a shot just wide as City began to stamp their authority on proceedings. But before the interval, Jimenez screwed wide for the hosts when in a decent position.
Wolves came out fired up for the second half too, with their fans still in great voice, and the famous old ground erupted when the hosts struck first after 57 minutes.
Joao Moutinho sent over a delightful cross into the City danger area, and Boly threw himself at the ball, diving to divert it into the net. It was an attempted header, but the ball clearly went in off his arm.
City sprang into life again, and they were appealing for a penalty when Ruben Neves clashed into Silva from behind.
Those claims were dismissed, but Pep Guardiola’s man were soon level. It was a simple affair too with 21 minutes remaining, Gundogan floating a delightful free-kick into the Wolves penalty area and Aymeric Laporte powering a header into the net.
City were dominant in the closing stages of the match as they searched for a winner to maintain their 100 per cent record. But Wolves broke away with four minutes remaining, and Jota fired a shot narrowly over the crossbar. Soon after, a dangerous low cross from Adama Traore was blocked in expert fashion by Kompany.
With almost the last kick of the game, a fine curling free-kick from Aguero crashed off the top of the crossbar.
This was a highly entertaining way to begin the Premier League weekend. And it’s given just a little bit of early season hope to City’s rivals.