Thoughts on the Bolton victory

bolton game

Heading into the game the signs all pointed to the outcome likely being a narrow City in a game with few goals. Whilst the game panned out in that fashion in terms of the final scoreline, it was not the tight, chanceless affair that had been anticipated.

That said, it was the first league win for a couple of months and first league goals for four games (since Newcastle in early October) at home. Importantly too, the side capitalised on others around them slipping up and are well placed with a decent looking run of fixtures to close out 2010.

Whilst one goal ultimately proved to be sufficient, a second would likely have opened the floodgates. There were chances of course and City dominated in terms of shots on goal; nine of nineteen tested Jussi Jaaskelainen whilst Bolton had only one of six on target. 

City were denied what looked to be a valid second ruled out for offside and Mario Balotelli hit the post, yet were profligate in front of goal. A number of chances did however fall to the 'wrong' players, the fact Zabaleta and Kolarov were in positions to add the scoreline time and again perhaps a mark that Mancini's confidence in his full-back pairing is growing.

I agree with TLDORC that it isn't doesn't necessarily answer the question of whether the side have the ability to be able to deal with sides who come with the sole intention of shutting up shop and taking the draw from the outset but it again underlined the ability of the side to close out wins (now possessing a record of W8 D1 L1 when scoring first).

It was perhaps Mancini's strongest side that started the game. As mentioned previously, since Kolarov's return the full-backs have been far more prominent in the final third and is Yaya Toure's recent form a result of more licence from Mancini? Certainly his presence as a more dominant threat going forward is apparent. On a number of occasions he made forays into the Bolton half and as a unit the midfield trio looked very in synch with each other.

Of course there were some nervy moments, only to be expected when holding a one-goal lead and the closest was when Hart came, and flapped, at a ball into the box and was fortunate that he was rescued by an alert Vincent Kompany. But if points had been dropped late in the game it would have been an undeserving outcome from a game in which City were the more dominant and dangerous side.

A final word on the Tevez/Mancini 'clash'. Of course it isn't something you want to see (especially from the club captain), yet if it was some lingering discontent from Tevez boiling over, there are surely far worse ways for it to manifest itself.

And after another game winner, and his 33rd goal in the past 50 Premier League games, it certainly shouldn't be something that detracts from what was another important win that strengthened top four ambitions.

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