Premier League - Stylish City take top spot with win

Mon, 22 Aug 02:05:00 2011

Manchester City secured top spot in the Premier League as they turned on the style in somewhat uncharacteristic fashion to defeat Bolton Wanderers 3-2 at the Reebok Stadium.

Bolton v Man City

Accused of being too negative at regular intervals last season, Roberto Mancini and his City side refused to conform to stereotype as they showcased their deep reserves of attacking talent, with David Silva excelling and scoring the opening goal with the help of a shocking error from Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Though Ivan Klasnic responded with a fine goal, a wonderful strike from Gareth Barry and a neat finish from the impressive Edin Dzeko put City in firm control before Kevin Davies pulled one back after 63 minutes. A close scoreline, but their performance made a real statement about City's ambition this season.

Because after defeating Swansea 4-0 in their opening game, City were involved in another incident-filled match at the Reebok Stadium.

Chris Eagles and James Milner exchanged shots before Sergio Aguero, who memorably scored twice on debut against Swansea, found himself unmarked and with Jaaskelainen at his mercy following a cut-back from Micah Richards. However, the striker's terrible side-footed effort flew over the bar from ten yards.

If Aguero was culpable, then on 26 minutes Jaaskelainen outdid him with a moment of even greater ineptitude. Micah Richards squared the ball for Silva and the Spaniard drilled a firm shot at goal from 20 yards. The ball came straight at the Bolton keeper but he appeared to lose sight of its flight and saw the ball bounce over his arms and in.

City were emboldened by the glaring error and had the ball in the back of the net again soon after. However, Richards had been penalised for a push on Martin Petrov before squaring for Aguero, who was furious to be denied his third goal in two games.

After 37 minutes City did double their lead. James Milner worked a corner to Barry, who was lurking 20 yards from goal. The England midfielder unleashed a fearsome shot that flew into the top corner, nearly taking Richards's head off in the process.

Bolton appeared to be in danger of losing complete control of the match but responded magnificently inside two minutes. Nigel Reo-Coker spread the ball wide to Petrov and the Bulgarian winger volleyed in a cross that was met by Klasnic, who converted with a neat first-time effort to nutmeg Joe Hart.

City reassumed control after half-time. After Zat Knight completely failed to deal with a lofted pass over the top of the defence, Dzeko outmuscled his marker to drive into the box and beat Jaaskelainen with a low effort.

The Bosnian, who took time to adjust to English football following his move from Wolfsburg in January, was excellent at the Reebok Stadium and with one lovely touch round the corner teed up Milner for a shot that flew high and wide.

City were playing in a thrilling style that eluded them for much of last season but Bolton embodied the more pragmatic quality of resolve and responded once again when pulling a goal back on 63 minutes. Petrov delivered a free-kick from the right and Kevin Davies rose magnificently to plant a header just out of the reach of Hart and inside the far post.

Still City refused to withdraw into their shell and Silva was denied a second goal by a fantastic block from Knight. When Mancini did remove a striker in Aguero, it was Carlos Tevez who replaced his countryman to make his first appearance of the season despite having pledged never to return to Manchester over the summer.

Fellow substitute Adam Johnson threatened with a shot that crept just wide, while Tevez threatened to make a late impact, but City were satisfied with an impressive 3-2 win.

Tom Adams - follow me on Twitter @tomEurosport / Eurosport

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