Manchester City vs. Bolton Wanderers  2 - 0


Premier League: Manchester City 2 Bolton 0

3 March 2012 18:19

Manchester City cemented their place at the top with a dominant victory over struggling Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Goals from Gael Clichy and Mario Balotelli either side of the break proved the difference in a game that could easily have ended in a rout for Owen Coyle's men as the hosts spurned more than 20 chances.

The victory meant Roberto Mancini's men extended their home winning run to an impressive 19 games, equalling the record set by Manchester United last October.

For Bolton, a fourth successive loss for the third time this season continued a miserable run that has seen them remain one place above bottom place on goal difference.

City started on fire and Balotelli rattled the post after two minutes, running onto Yaya Toure’s defence splitting through-ball.

Moments later, the Italian forward spurned another gilt-edged chance when he fired wide from Adam Johnson's cut-back after the ball had got caught under his feet.

The hosts continued to expose the flaws in their visitors' brittle defence and the lively Balotelli failed to break the deadlock once again when he skied over after failing to make the most of a hopeful long-ball that set him free in space.

City's pressure finally paid off when Clichy's long-range effort in the 23rd minute took a deflection off the head of Gretar Steinsson to beat an unfortunate Adam Bogdan at his near post.

After Johnson and Balotelli had wasted further opportunities to increase the lead, Bolton briefly responded.

They conjured their first noteworthy chance just after the half hour mark when David N'Gog forced Joe Hart into a routine save, before Kimi Myachi came even when his sweeping right foot effort drew a magnificent outstretched save from the England stopper.

Bogdan kept Bolton in the game on the stroke of half-time when he saved well from Balotelli, as City took a slender lead into the interval.

The one-way traffic continued after the break as Bogdan brilliantly denied Balotelli yet again after Gareth Barry split the Bolton defence for the umpteenth time.

Yaya Toure powered narrowly wide from outside the box on the hour mark.

Darren Pratley nearly scored a spectacular own goal moments later when he scooped the ball onto the crossbar with Bogdan beaten following a challenge on Edin Dzeko on the edge of the box.

But the clincher arrived in the 70th minute when Johnson skipped through a number of challenges to set up Balotelli to tap home.

City now travel to Sporting on Thursday for their Europa League tie with confidence high.


Premier League preview: Manchester City v Bolton

2 March 2012 18:01

English Premier League leaders Manchester City will be out to extend their advantage at the top when they meet Bolton on Saturday.

Roberto Mancini's men have a two-pointer buffer over rivals Manchester United, who face a tough trip to Tottenham on Sunday.

City have won five consecutive games in all competitions heading into the encounter at Etihad Stadium, a venue at which they have 13 wins from as many league matches this campaign.

They are unlikely to welcome back forward Carlos Tevez after the Argentine battled through 45 minutes of a reserves match against Preston on Thursday.

His absence has mattered little, with Sergio Aguero (16 league goals), Edin Dzeko (13) and Mario Balotelli (10) providing each other with fierce competition for places up front.

Spanish star David Silva has been a standout in the Premier League with 12 assists, while Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure has been vital for City.

Mancini's side have only conceded 19 goals in 26 league games - including just six at home - thanks to a strong defence led by Joleon Lescott and Vincent Kompany, as well as goalkeeper Joe Hart.

They face a Bolton side desperate for a win as they continue to search for a way out of the relegation zone.

Owen Coyle's side have been plagued by injury troubles since the start of the season, and he is again likely to be without the likes of Stuart Holden, Chung-Yong Lee, Ricardo Gardner and Tyrone Mears - although captain Kevin Davies may return.

Bolton have suffered three consecutive league losses - to Norwich City, Wigan and Chelsea - but Coyle is retaining belief they can avoid the drop.

"We don't enjoy being second bottom but I also know it's only a point from safety. We have got enough games to do it and we've got young players who are getting better," he said.

"We know our fate is in our own hands. We have good enough, young enough players to address that and that's what we'll focus on, but there has got to be that mental strength when things go against you."

City are unbeaten at home and Bolton will need to produce something special if they are to change that on Saturday.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +64 89
2 38 +56 89
3 38 +25 70
4 38 +25 69
5 38 +5 65
6 38 +19 64
7 38 +10 56
8 38 +7 52
9 38 -3 52
10 38 -7 47
11 38 -7 47
12 38 -14 47
13 38 -1 45
14 38 -17 45
15 38 -20 43
16 38 -16 38
17 38 -23 37
18 38 -31 36
19 38 -30 31
20 38 -42 25
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