English Premiership

Manchester City five clear

2012-03-03 19:32
Mario Balotelli (AFP)

Manchester - Leaders Manchester City coasted to an 18th straight home league win after Gretar Steinsson's own goal and a Mario Balotelli effort helped them to a 2-0 success over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

City move five points clear at the top of the Premier League table, with second-placed Manchester United facing Tottenham Hotspur, who sit third, on Sunday.

Roberto Mancini's team were a long way from their best but their win was never in doubt after Gael Clichy's drive flew in off Steinsson mid-way through the first half.

They had to wait another 46 minutes to double their advantage when Balotelli, who was left out of the Italy squad for the mid-week friendly with the United States, slammed in from close range.

Mancini's side now entertain Chelsea and head to Arsenal in the next run of seven games before they host United, who have a simple run after Sunday's game at Spurs.

City may have won each of their 13 home league games this season but Bolton at least became only the third team to leave Eastlands without conceding at least three goals.

Although Bolton lined up with American defender Tim Ream as a holding midfielder in a system aimed at containment, City wasted no time in cutting their visitors apart.

With just a minute gone, some quick passes created space for Adam Johnson to send Pablo Zabaleta through and the defender's low cross saw Samir Nasri kept out by a fine block from David Wheater.

Moments later, Yaya Toure fed Balotelli, whose effort come back off the post, before Nasri was twice denied by Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.

Vincent Kompany almost had an anxious moment at the other end when his header from a Mark Davies free-kick nearly found the corner of his own net.

But City, with the likes of Sergio Aguero and David Silva starting on the bench, maintained their intense pressure.

Balotelli wasted another great opportunity when he missed from close range after more fine work from Johnson.

But the breakthrough came mid-way through the first half when Clichy was given plenty of room to hit a shot from 25 yards that glanced off Steinsson and past Bogdan.

David Ngog was denied by Joe Hart as Bolton looked for a quick response and Ryo Miyaichi also troubled the City goalkeeper twice, going closest after robbing Kolo Toure.

But City almost added a second just before the interval when Yaya Toure tore forward and clipped a pass across to Kompany, whose fine pass on the turn found Balotelli, only for the Italian to be denied by Bogdan's save.

City were totally in control and Bogdan did well to rush off his line to block from Balotelli within seconds of the restart.

Gareth Barry also lifted a shot well over the bar from distance as City struggled to maintain their early pace.

Just after the hour, Kolo Toure went close to adding a second when he thumped a drive past the far post after a fine burst down the right wing.

Darren Pratley almost gifted City a two-goal cushion with what would have been a memorable own goal.

The Bolton midfielder closed down Edin Dzeko just outside his own area and saw his interception bounce away off the bar to safety.

Balotelli finally got his goal mid-way through the second half after Johnson's direct run into the area culminated in a neat back-heel to Balotelli, who drilled in at the near post.

Read more on:    epl  |  mario balotelli
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
30 August 2014
Burnley v Manchester United, Turf Moor 13:45
West Ham United v Southampton, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Manchester City v Stoke City, Etihad Stadium 16:00
Swansea City v West Bromwich Albion, Liberty Stadium 16:00
Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland, Loftus Road Stadium 16:00
Newcastle United v Crystal Palace, St. James' Park 16:00
Everton v Chelsea, Goodison Park 18:30
31 August 2014
Aston Villa v Hull City, Villa Park 14:30
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool, White Hart Lane 14:30
Leicester City v Arsenal, King Power Stadium 17:00
13 September 2014
Arsenal v Manchester City, Emirates Stadium 13:45
Stoke City v Leicester City, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Crystal Palace v Burnley, Selhurst Park 16:00
Southampton v Newcastle United, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur, Stadium of Light 16:00
Chelsea v Swansea City, Stamford Bridge 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Everton, The Hawthorns 16:00
Liverpool v Aston Villa, Anfield 18:30
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

How will Manchester United fare in next season's English Premiership under Louis van Gaal?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.