Manchester City beat Bolton 2-0 on Saturday night, to move five points clear of title rivals Manchester United. The Red Devils will play Tottenham on Sunday, in a game that could represent the latter's last chance to claw back the deficit to second place in the league.
Meanwhile, at the Etihad Stadium, Italian striker Mario Balotelli ran riot against relegation-threatened Bolton Wanderers and should have scored at least once before Bolton's Gretar Steinsson gifted his hosts an inexplicable own goal in the 23rd minute. The Citizens were on course to register a record-equalling 19th successive home win in the league.
Incidentally, the characteristically morose Balotelli had earlier been up to his old tricks. Apparently he was out painting the town red, in breach of a club curfew. The speculation was that Mancini would respond by leaving him on the bench and playing Sergio Aguero or Edin Dzeko; such was not the case, as both the Argentinean and the Bosnian were benched. Meanwhile, the manager also chose to rest Spaniard David Silva for this game.
Bolton set out in a predictably defensive pattern, with Zat Knight the extra man in defence. Nevertheless, they were soon in trouble, with Samir Nasri and Balotelli in particular looking very dangerous. The home side were forced into a change in the 20th minute, when Pablo Zabaleta was injured and Kolo Toure came in for him.
Balotelli continued to lead the City charge after the opening goal, as Yaya Toure also started to get forward. The Italian was finally rewarded in the 69th minute, after Adam Johnson dribbled his way into the box and set up Balotelli from a very acute angle. It was 2-0 and game over.
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