Barclay’s Premier League
Sunday 22 May 2011, 16.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta (Wabara 87), Kompany, Boyata, Lescott, de Jong, Barry, Y Touré, A Johnson (Dzeko 60), Silva (Milner 78), Tevez (c)
Unused: Given, Vieira, Wright-Phillips, Balotelli,
Goals: Lescott (43), Dzeko (63)
Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the Match: Gareth Barry
City started the final game of the season the brighter, setting the pace in the blustery conditions at the Reebok Stadium, but they couldn’t find the early lead they wanted. A Silva cut the ball back towards Tevez, he should have planted it into the net, but it hit a Bolton leg en route. Kompany then had a free header that he put over the bar from a corner.
The home side then missed a similar chance, as Kevin Davies nodded wide, before he was lucky to stay on the pitch with a late and high challenge on Lescott. Bolton would have felt they should have had the lead soon after, as Sturridge found Elmander, but he was denied by a great save from Hart.
Hart then had an uncharacteristic moment in letting the ball slip through his grasp, but Zabaleta was behind him in the six yard box to chest it down and clear the danger. He then smashed the ball against the back of Johann Elmander and it could have gone anywhere, but fortunately for City, it bounced behind for a goal kick.
The City keeper then produced another fine save to keep the scores level, with half an hour played, as a flicked header towards the back post could have dropped into the net and Hart extended his fingertips to knock it behind. The visitors then should have taken the lead after some neat play between Tevez and Touré let Boyata cross. Barry connected and hit the crossbar, before Touré nodded the rebound wide.
Adam Johnson should have put the away side in front as he then had the chance to pick his spot from inside the penalty area, but he skied it and didn’t trouble the goalkeeper. Kompany then deflected a shot wide, before Tevez had a shot saved by Jaaskelainen and Silva put the rebound over the bar, with his right foot.
City then caused panic in the Bolton penalty area as a cross to the back post was nodded towards goal by Johnson and Jaaskelainen flapped at it. Touré tried to get onto the second ball, but the keeper got there first and conceded the corner.
With two minutes to play before half time, a fluke header got City the lead. A corner aimed towards the penalty spot was attacked by Kompany, but he missed it completely and it took Lescott completely by surprise. It hit him on the head and looped past Jaaskelainen into the top corner, giving the visitors the lead.
The home side started the second half the better and it took a good foot from Kompany to block a Taylor cross, before Davies couldn’t force the ball home. A throw into the box was well dealt with by Boyata, as City struggled to get the ball away. Sturridge could have equalised against his former club, but the ball fell to his right foot on the edge of the box and he could only direct his shot wide.
Ten minutes into the second half, City should really have doubled their lead. Kompany stepped in to make a brilliant interception and Silva had the chance to shoot from the edge of the box. With Touré to his left, he elected to have a go at goal, but it was tame and Jaaskelainen could collect it easily.
Kompany then made a block to a Sturridge shot, before Tevez broke into the box and tried to get an effort on target to edge him ahead in the running for the Premier League Golden Boot. His shot, though, flashed wide of the post. Dzeko then joined the action and Tevez played a great ball for Barry, who crossed for the Bosnian. He missed his first chance, but he was able to swivel and shoot, planting the ball into the net.
A poor backpass put Joe Hart under pressure as he tried to control it with Sturridge closing him down, but he was able to get a clearance in. It was blocked by the former City striker, but it was never in danger of dropping into the net and the visitors had a goal kick. City could have had a second fluke of the game as a Bolton clearance then connected with Tevez’s head, but it looped over the bar.
Milner chased down Robinson and won the ball back as it was directed towards his goalkeeper, but his square pass didn’t find a blue shirt. Tevez won it back and, via Touré, he had a shooting chance on the edge of the box, but it was swallowed up by Jaaskelainen. Daniel Sturridge then saw a red card for a nasty challenge on Dzeko, which left him on the deck.
With attention elsewhere in the league, the game petered to a close and Tevez wasn’t able to add his name to the goalsheet. Eyes went to Old Trafford to see if Berbatov would steal the award, but he wasn’t able to and the former United teammates shared the award. City, though, finished level on points with Chelsea, to round off their best ever Premier League Season.