Following Sergio Aguero’s impressive debut and David Silva’s impressive form, it was clear that it was going to be a tough game for the Bolton defence but they were unfortunate to concede three times. However, despite losing the game, Bolton will take heart from their performance and the style of football that they played. With Joe Hart looking to keep his fifth consecutive Premier League clean sheet, Bolton had as many problems to think about in attack as they did in defence. Regardless, Bolton managed to score two goals against their illustrious opponents with two moments of real quality, both involving the sweet left foot of Martin Petrov who grabbed two assists in the game. Bolton’s crisp passing game and never say die attitude meant that they probably deserved more out of the game than they got, and marks them as a quantity to be feared by all other teams.
Kevin Davies belied his increasing years with a typically busy captain’s performance up front, giving centre-backs Joleon Lescott and Vincent Kompany a torrid time, and scoring his first goal in 17 games against City. Davies looks as important as ever and Bolton will need him to make a number of appearances close to the 38 he made in the league last season if they are to achieve a top 10 finish. His extra efforts were necessary with Ivan Klasnic being forced to drop deep to make up the numbers in midfield.
Klasnic has been in great form in Bolton’s opening two games, scoring in both, and his movement and strike in the build up to Bolton’s opening goal were of the highest quality. With question marks over Bolton’s attacking threat in the build up to the season, fans can be assured after this effort that scoring goals is not something that they need to worry about, with the imminent arrival of Tuncay Sanli providing a bit of depth up front which is currently lacking.
Despite the positives that can be taken it was a goalkeeping error that led to Silva’s goal, Jussi Jaaskelainen failing to save a shot that was literally directed straight at him. Although fans will be understandably disappointed in defeat, the season ahead is looking positive for Bolton, with midfielder Stuart Holden hopefully returning from injury in a month, and the possible arrival of Shaun Wright-Phillips who would make an excellent acquisition. Owen Coyle will be hoping that after his cruel preseason in which two players sustained long-term injuries, his luck is beginning to change.