Yet to focus on the negatives seems wrong following such a bright attacking display at a notoriously difficult Premier League ground. Earlier this week Mancini set his side a target of increasing by 15 to 20 goals last season’s tally of 60. On this evidence they will have no trouble with meeting that target. Sergio Aguero’s spectacular debut goal against Swansea seems to have coaxed out of their shell teammates previously reluctant to shoot. Both David Silva’s opener and Gareth Barry’s second were fired from outside the area.
Silva’s goal was a case of fortune favouring the brave. Jussi Jaaskelainen – so often Bolton’s saviour – will not relish viewing repeats of the Spaniard’s strike having misjudged the flight of the ball. Silva’s shot was relatively tame, but the goalkeeper’s positioning was all wrong, allowing the ball to glance off his arm on its way in. Barry’s goal, however, was ferocious – a heat seeking missile guided into the top corner to give the Finnish stopper no chance.
With City’s football so relentlessly positive, it was inevitable Aguero would be heavily involved on his full debut. Sandwiched between City’s first two goals, the irrepressible Argentine had a goal disallowed and missed a presentable opportunity fashioned by Edin Dzeko. Whilst he goes unrewarded for his efforts, Aguero can feel heartened by the understanding he seems to have struck up with the Bosnian in attack.
Dzeko, for his part, is making a mockery of the criticism he received last season. Playing at the pivot of a four-man attack, the Bosnian no longer looks like the man whose adolescent nickname ‘The Lamp post’ was used in ridicule during his first few months in English football. Whilst his perceived immobility has been criticised, Dzeko’s feet are as quick as those of any target man in the division. His passing is intelligent, and most importantly he is scoring goals – three in three this season so far. Should Carlos Tevez leave – his second-half appearance suggests it is not certain he will do so – the team are well stocked in his absence.
Little wonder that Mancini expressed surprise, and a little disappointment, that his team had not sealed the game more comfortably. “I thought we played very well and I can’t believe we were made to suffer (during) the last seconds,” he concluded. Ivan Klasnic and Kevin Davies gave the home side lifelines with adept finishes. Klasnic pounced at the near post following Joleon Lescott’s lapse in concentration to bring Bolton back into the game. Davies leapt higher than the centre-back on the hour mark to make the scores 3-2, giving City jitters they ought not to have had.