A Carlos Tevez goal just three minutes into the game was enough to see off Bolton but the blues squandered a host of chances to kill off the opposition in a game that sees City cement their fourth place position.
After Arsenal beat Fulham to go top of the Premiership and Chelsea only managing a draw at home to Everton, it was vital that the blues secured three points not only to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack but also to close the gap at the top of the table
City rested Tevez for the midweek win over Salzburg but he returned to the side to partner to goal hero Mario Balotelli in attack and the new formation set to work immediately and unsettled Bolton from the start and within three minutes, the blues were in front.
Yaya Toure, also recalled to the starting line up, fed the ball beautifully through the Bolton defence and Tevez beat the offside trap to coolly fire City ahead. It was just the start the blues had been looking for after drawing a blank in their last three home league games.
That signified a City onslaught and should have lead to more goals and the blues had plenty of chances to increase the lead. David Silva looked lively and he felt he should have been awarded a penalty when his shot hit Gary Cahill but the referee waved play on. Shortly after, City were denied a second when Silva beat the offside trap and squared to Tevez but the goal was disallowed as Gareth Barry, who was not involved in the move, was judged offside.
Tevez then picked up a booking for kicking the ball away and that could see him miss the game at West Ham through suspension. Pablo Zabaleta was sent clean through only to see his shot saved by Jaaskelainen as the Bolton keeper led a charmed life in goal. Tevez had another chance before the half ended but fired wide of the Bolton goal.
The crowd needed another goal to settle them and Zabaleta almost provided it but saw his shot parried by Jaaskelainen with no-one following up. Joe Hart almost gifted Bolton an equaliser when he raced out to take a simple catch but the ball somehow slipped through his fingers and headed towards the goal, but Vincent Kompany was on hand to clear the danger.
Bolton could sense a little nervousness and pushed forward and their hopes of getting something from the game were increased in the final ten minutes when Aleksander Kolarov was dismissed for what seemed like a decent challenge. The defender had already been booked and slid in with both feet on the ground and won the ball, but the referee saw it as a two footed challenge and Kolarov walked for a second bookable offence.
A week ago, City conceded a last minute equaliser at Stoke and Bolton pushed forward hoping to get something out of the game but even four minutes of injury time could not help them and City hung on for another three points.
So City remain in fourth but more importantly, just three points behind leaders Arsenal and the next game is at Struggling West Ham, where the blues will be hoping to pick up a fifth away win of the season.
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