Tactic Talk – Manchester City looking for defensive steel to match extensive firepower

Manchester City maintained their 100% record with a 3-2 victory over Bolton Wanderers on Sunday. Following a 4-0 demolition of Swansea in their previous game, goals at The Reebok Stadium from David Silva, Gareth Barry and Edin Dzeko, offer clear signs that Roberto Mancini’s squad contains goal-threats from a variety of areas.

However, while City will be delighted with six points from their opening two matches, City boss Mancini has been quick to highlight his concern at his side’s defensive frailty, as Bolton twice threatened to come back into the game. The first, a low cross from the left-hand side, saw Ivan Klasnic elude his marker to convert from close range.

While Dzeko’s strike shortly after the interval effectively secured the points for City, Bolton reduced the deficit once again. On 63 minutes, Kevin Davies’ header gave Bolton a lifeline. After City eventually held on for the win, Mancini was quick to point out that his side’s marking must improve, saying: ”We can’t concede the two goals like that. We need to pay more attention. The first and second goals were the same. We can’t lose those if we are going to win the championship.”

Although Manchester City sit top of the Premier League with two wins from two matches played, it is not the first time this campaign Mancini has seen his side concede goals when in winning positions. Just two weeks previous, the Italian watched his side take a two-goal lead against bitter local rivals, Manchester United, in the community shield, only to see them concede three second-half goals as United ran out 3-2 winners at Wembley.

On this occasion, City managed to overcome Bolton’s threat in front of goal with their own array of attacking talent, with City’s Silva and Dzeko showing excellent early-season form and City’s league goal tally already reaching seven. However, this trip to The Reebok Stadium is another example of City’s weakness in defence. In addition to a spirited Bolton performance, the Community Shield showed that against quality opposition, City cannot afford defensive lapses. With a Champions League campaign imminent, Mancini will be wary of the attacking threats of Europe’s elite clubs.

As Manchester City’s expensive array of world-class attacking players fire their side to an early lead in the title race, with tougher challenges ahead both domestically and on the continent, Roberto Mancini will be looking to add greater defensive strength to his side. While there is no immediate suggestion Mancini will look to the transfer market to make this happen, the manager has conceded improvement is required from his current players. With a host of international defenders at his disposal, City fans will no doubt expect improvement, as their side look to add defensive steel to compliment their extensive attacking arsenal.

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