DUNNE AND DUSTED
Another howler from City captain gifts Bolton the points
On paper, this game should realistically have been a convincing away victory. In reality it was far from it. City went into the game riding high on the back of a superb 3-0 win against Stoke. Bolton were low on confidence and form after a home defeat at the hands of Everton.
It should have been a forgone conclusion. In fact, it was a hapless, hopeless display from the visitors. City played like a bunch of over-paid schoolboys, lacking penetration in attack and looking unreliable and nervy in defence.
However, Mark Hughes' men had the best chances in a very dull first half. Ched Evans and Stephen Ireland went close but their efforts were thwarted by Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, and a Robinho effort whistled over the crossbar.
The second half began with Robinho going close again for City, but Bolton began to grow in confidence and gain possession. Kevin Nolan went close but it was in the 77th minute that substitute Ricardo Gardner broke the deadlock. City pushed for an equaliser but looked unconvincing, and their offence attempts left them exposed and vulnerable.
A second Bolton goal always looked inevitable and it came in the form of yet another Richard Dunne own goal. Dunne intercepted a Gardner cross that was intended for Kevin Davies, and duly directed it into his own net.
In all honesty, the three points were well-deserved to the home side who took full advantage of a very poor City performance that highlighted several issues within the City camp. For me, Dunne lacks leadership as a captain and question marks remain over whether he is a solid enough defender. Micah Richards is giving Hughes a bit of a headache as to which position he performs in the best (it's right back for me Mark) and Pablo Zabaleta needs to calm down a bit- he's a rash defender who is hot-headed and is going to be a regular feature in the referee's notebook if he isn't careful.
Too much is being expected from Vincent Kompany as a holding midfielder. City have missed the kind of role that is played so well by the injured Michael Johnson, and is Dietmar Hamann simply too old now to fulfil the role required from him? As for Ched Evans- the Welsh striker has great potential, but is he capable of spearheading a Premier League attack at such a young age?
There are many questions and points being raised after City's dismal performance, but the one point I don't agree with is that certain people are already beginning to question Mark Hughes' role as manager at the club. He has only been in the position for a matter of months, give the guy a chance and get off his back. The last thing City need is for the mood to turn unsavoury towards the players and staff. Keep the faith, City may be the most unpredictable team but at least life is never ever dull following them!