English Premier League
Sunday 21 August 2011, 16.00 KO
City: Hart, Richards, Lescott, Kompany (c), Kolarov, Milner, Barry, Silva (Zabaleta 89), Y Toure, Aguero (Tevez 68), Dzeko (A Johnson 80)
Unused: Pantilimon, Clichy, Savic, Balotelli
Goals: Silva (26), Barry (37), Dzeko (47)
Referee: Mike Jones
Man of the Match: David Silva
It was a bright start to the game that saw City with an early corner, but Lescott committed a foul in winning the header, before a Bolton free kick caused Joe Hart some trouble in the visiting goal. He parried it and it was left to Lescott to clear the ball from the six yard box. Silva couldn’t find Aguero from the resulting breakaway.
Kompany was then on hand to clear from the penalty spot as Steinsson got a low cross into the box, before Knight reacted to a defensive header from a corner. He prodded the ball towards the post, but it was just wide of the post. Lescott was then needed to deflected a Davies header over the bar.
A neat ball from Silva then put Kolarov in behind the Bolton defence, who smashed the ball across the six yard box. Milner got the touch, but Jaaskelainen managed to block and collect the ball. Dzeko then couldn’t force his way through the back line, as he looked to get a shot away and Silva hit at shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Dzeko then found Milner on the break and the Englishman returned the ball to the forward. He worked his way into the box and delivered a low cross into the back post where Aguero was waiting. The new signing got the ball and hit it first time, but skied it when he probably should have scored.
Bolton looked to have rode the storm as City pressed, but after some good work from Richards breaking into the box, the visitors took the lead. The right back found Silva on the edge of the box and the little Spaniard took a shot and it went straight through Jaaskelainen and into the net. City had the ball in the net again four minutes later, but it was ruled out as Richards had fouled Petrov in the build-up.
Aguero should then have doubled City’s lead with 10 minutes of the first half remaining. A ricochet took the ball into Dzeko’s path down the left and he got there before the covering defenders. His cross was met by the Argentine with a free header, but he nodded it wide of the far post. City began to pile on the pressure, as Barry couldn’t find a red and black shirt in the box, before Milner’s low cross was deflected into the side netting.
From that corner, though, City did get their second goal. The ball was played straight to Barry on the edge of the box and, from 25 yards, he fired it into the top corner with Jaaskelainen left flapping at thin air.
But the home side responded immediately. Petrov fired in a low cross towards the penalty spot after he was found by Cahill. Klasnic was first to it and he fired it straight into the back of the net on the volley, reducing the deficit back to one goal. City tried to do the same, but Milner’s ball over for Dzeko was just too far and Aguero couldn’t get to the rebound off Jaaskelainen first.
The first action of the second half saw Dzeko get himself on the scoresheet and restore City’s two goal lead. A ball was knocked on by Milner to Dzeko and Robinson committed himself to the challenge, but didn’t win the ball. It broke to the Bosnian in the box, as he beat Zat Knight, and he made no mistake in smashing it past the home side’s keeper.
City were immediately on the hunt for the fourth: Dzeko won the ball back in midfield and set Aguero away. He found Milner, who returned it to the Argentine with space to run into. He broke into the box, but couldn’t find room for the shot. Instead, he found Silva, who found Milner, who curled a shot straight at Jaaskelainen.
Some neat Bolton interplay should have seen Eagles do better as he broke unmarked into the box. Petrov knocked the ball past Kompany to the midfielder and, instead of delivering the ball to the middle, he elected to take a shot and sliced it wide of Hart’s near post. City responded with some of the same, as Dzeko put Milner through, but his shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide.
Silva did well to win a corner as he was crowded out in the box. A short corner routine could have gotten City further in front, as Silva and Milner worked the crossing opportunity, but Dzeko couldn’t quite direct his header on target. Kolarov then smashed a shot just wide, with the aid of a deflection.
But, as City were dominant in the game, they conceded a second and Bolton, once again, reduced the deficit. Davies climbed higher than Lescott from a free kick and nodded the ball towards goal. Joe Hart threw himself at it, but couldn’t reach it, and it flicked off the post and into the net.
Tevez then joined the action and created a great chance for Silva as he cut the ball back to the Spaniard. But Knight was in quickly to block the fierce effort from the edge of the six yard box. Milner then smashed a ball across the box looking for Dzeko, but Jaaskelainen was there first.
City could have sealed the points with seven minutes to play as the some possession play ended with Johnson picking up the ball just inside the box. He took on and beat Knight and tried to roll it into the back post, but it was just wide, with Tevez slightly too far away to connect. Tevez then had the chance to smash a shot in from level with the penalty spot, but it almost cleared it out of the stadium instead.
Bolton began to press the City defence, but, as the board went up for stoppage time, City’s midfield took control of the ball and the visitors were able to see out a victory to send them top of the Premier League.