Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Monday May 23 2011
It was a stroll in the Reebok yesterday as Manchester City finished the season in emphatic style in third place, their highest position since 1977.
The season ended in style as Mancini's men disposed of neighbours Bolton Wanderers to now guarantee themselves at least six fixtures in next season's UEFA Champions League, leaving the Gooners as goners as they head for the qualifying competition.
The match started with both teams hunting for an early goal and Bolton could have led the way when Davies got open for a free header but missed the target. Golden Boot candidate, Tevez, had one shot cleared away by Knight and another saved by Jussi. After that he never looked likely to leave Berbaflop in his wake and share's this season's Boot with the Bulgarian. Elmander also got himself clear bringing out an excellent save from Hart and once again the save proved just as important as any goals that were to come along later.
As is becoming usual with City, chances came and went with Johnson and Silva going close and a gift of a free header in front of goal from Barry looked harder to miss than score, but it didn't go in, cannoning against the crossbar. The original cross from Boyata was a peach and right on the money.
Once again the awesome Silva was at the hub of everything City were doing, moving the ball quickly and inviting everybody else into the game.
Then as the match was heading towards a half time stalemate, what certainly cannot be described as a gem of a goal fell City's way.
Johnson's outswinging corner looked a certainty for Kompany who missed it completely. Standing behind him was Lescott. The ball basically hit him on the head and flew into the Bolton net. Two-in-two now for the season's most improved player and third place was starting to look secure.
It was more of the same in the second half, City essentially starting to box the match off and Bolton trying to make some headway with ex-City player Sturridge going close but not taking his chance after creating some space for himself.
Two minutes later a cross from Barry bounced off Cahill and rebounded to Dzeko who once he had changed feet drilled in from close range. Maligned he may be in parts of the media but this is the second time in the run-in that he has scored vital goals to secure the points that have enabled City to climb above Arsenal into third place. Indeed City finished on equal points with Chelsea whose manager paid the ultimate price for that.
Following the second goal the defence made sure that they extended the record for clean sheets with another impressive shut out and Bolton's frustration was borne out when Sturridge took out Dzeko just below the knee, leaving Chris Foy no alternative but to brandish a red card.
A quality job well done by a team that has ended the season in sizzling form, bringing home the FA Cup and a top three finish. With the business stages of the Champions League beckoning Mancini will be looking to get in his new players rapidly so that this season he can have a pre-season and start to work out ways of maximising input from Dzeko and Balotelli as an alternative maybe to will-he won't-he Tevez.
And our good friends at Ashburton Grove once again came up short against Fulham with Mark Hughes' men causing them many problems and flagging up once again why they have been flagging since they lost the Carling Cup final.
With Fabregas looking on at the Spanish Grand Prix in his native Catalunya, his team of lost causes were lucky to scrape a draw with a last minute goal from Walcott. And as I said before the season began Mr Koscielny, you have simply changed French pub teams for an English one. Please do not make comments in the papers about Arsenal having more than Manchester City, and money not buying you success. Because guess what..we won the FA Cup and finished third. You got disposed of out of everything within 2 weeks and finished below us. Enjoy looking up, because for the foreseeable future that is where it's at for Arsenal FC, speaking in the context of Manchester City.
We may, in the eyes of parts of the media, have bought a disparate bunch of football mercenaries unable to play as a team, but when needed they came good as a team, collected silverware and were simply better than you. And at the end of the day who would you rather have in your centres? Kompany and Lescott or....Koscielny. It answers itself doesn't it. Joe Hart or Szczesny? De Jong or Diaby? Tevez or Van Persie? They all speak for themselves.
So tonight the open top bus is dusted down as it makes it's way to Eastlands proudly showing-off the FA Cup to our long-suffering fans.
It is only the start. Manchester City is now a hatching force in football and it will not go away!
Date:Monday May 23 2011
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