The Bolton Wanderers hosted City today at Reebok stadium to what was a very exciting game.
Bolton came out with a 4-4-2 consisting of Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Eagles, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Davies, Klasnic.
Mancini opted for the 4-2-3-1 of Hart, Kolarov, Kompany, Lescott, Richards, Milner, Barry, Silva, Yaya Toure, Aguero, Dzeko.
There we're a couple of things to take away from this game.
The first and most important that I noticed was that the lack of Nigel de Jong's presence severely hampered the midfield play for City.
Not necessarily for offensive purposes but for defensive. This was evident with the second half in which Bolton came back from a 3-1 deficit to make the game 3-2. They began to play with a sense or purpose and strength that required a stop gap. Usually that stop gap was de Jong, however he was not to be found on the field. His aggressiveness and crisp tackling would have slowed down a resurgence by Bolton if not angered hot-head Phil Robinson to make a game costing mistake.
I was not satisfied with the way Micah Richards was defending the wing against Martin Petrov. He kept giving him too much space and a player of Petrov's calibre you must not do that. He showed what he can do when a little leeway is given by making the game 2-1.
However, Richards made some very nice runs offensively and proved to still be a physical specimen. He is a ball buster that with some more development could turn into one of the best defensive backs in the world.
I was quite upset at the performance our defense put out on the field however that disappointment was taken away by the fact that our offense was clicking on all cylinders.
David Silva, Gareth Barry and Edin Dzeko all scored goals.
Other opportunities arose when Dzeko passed the ball to Richards who then bull dozed Zat Knight and passed it to Sergio Aguero which was slotted in the net. However, the referee called a foul on Michah for his physical play.
The whistle should not have been called as Richards had clearly won the ball and any interference otherwise would have put the blame on the Bolton defender.
Another great chance was a perfect flick by Dzeko from outside the box to Aguero who was clean in the air unchallenged yet he sent the header past the post.
I was a bit surprised that Dzeko managed to bag a score today against what I consider a very strong Bolton team coming off a 4-0 win. He seems to be clicking with the team and the chemistry is building from everyone.
The most under rated player today goes to James Milner. He does not get enough credit for filling the holes that Silva misses. He was a complete workhorse today and his 8.0 rating on Goal.com is well deserved.
As for the man of the match it goes without a doubt to Dzeko for his terrific play today. Not only was his composure there when the team needed it, he also assisted very well to Aguero and Richards respectively and earning an 80% successful passing rate.
Our keeper Joe Hart had a bad day at the office, spreading out nicely but in vain for the second goal conceded.
Overall I was impressed with most of the play other then the second half nail bitter resistance by Bolton. Bolton will finish in the upper half of the table this year and it is good that we can be more aggressive.
I couldn't find any highlights so I must leave you with this short article today. I hope everyone had a good weekend seeing that City won.