LONDON, August 22 – Big-spending Manchester City showed their Premier League title credentials with a 3-2 win over Bolton at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday.
Robert Mancini’s side are tipped to make a strong challenge for Manchester United’s crown after splashing out another £50 million on new talent during the close-season and City’s expensively-assembled side look in the mood to fulfil those expectations.
Goals from David Silva, Gareth Barry and Edin Dzeko — three lavish signings from previous seasons — maintained City’s 100 percent record as they moved to the top of the table.
There was also a substitute appearance from Carlos Tevez, the unsettled Argentine striker who hopes to leave City before the transfer window shuts on August 31.
“I don’t know how it finished only 3-2 because we had many more chances,” Mancini said.
“I am happy because Edin Dzeko continued to score and Carlos Tevez played 20 minutes. Carlos is here and he will continue to play for us.”
Mancini gave a first start to Sergio Aguero, but it was Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen who played the key role as City took the lead in the 26th minute.
Spanish midfielder Silva fired in a speculative shot from the edge of the area and Jaaskelainen made a complete hash of his attempted save, allowing the ball to spill through his hands into the net.
There was no fortune about City’s second goal in the 37th minute as England midfielder Barry smashed a ferocious effort past Jaaskelainen from 20 yards.
Bolton mounted an immediate response and Ivan Klasnic got one back two minutes later when the Croatian met Martin Petrov’s drilled low cross with a first-time shot that gave Joe Hart no chance.
City restored their two-goal advantage two minutes into the second half when Bosnian forward Dzeko deftly flicked the ball over Zat Knight and ran clear to drive his shot beyond Jaaskelainen.
But Bolton rarely surrender at home and Kevin Davies put the pressure back on City as he scored with a towering header from Petrov’s free-kick in the 63rd minute.
Wolves maintained their 100 percent start to the Premier League season as goals from Kevin Doyle and Matt Jarvis secured a 2-0 win over Fulham.
“We’ve got players who are prepared to work hard. Last year we got a reputation – when (Fulham striker) Bobby Zamora broke his leg – but today we footballed them off the pitch,” Wolves boss Mick McCarthy said.
At Carrow Road, Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones hit a stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a 1-1 draw against 10-man Norwich City.
Paul Lambert’s newly-promoted team were on course for victory in their first home top-flight match since 2005 when on-loan Manchester United defender Ritchie de Laet scored just before half-time.
But although Jon Walters missed a penalty for Stoke after Norwich defender Leon Barnett was sent off in the second half, the FA Cup finalists levelled thanks to Jones’ header in the closing moments.
“We were on the back foot against a really good side, but the effort of the lads was excellent,” Lambert said.
“When you go down to 10 men at this level it is really tough. With 11, I think we would have seen it through.”
On Saturday, Arsenal’s poor start to the season hit a new low as a freak own goal from Aaron Ramsey put Liverpool on course for a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium.
That bad break came in the 78th minute, soon after the dismissal of teenage midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong and Luis Suarez added Liverpool’s second goal in stoppage time.
Chelsea manager Andres Villas-Boas got his first win as the Blues recovered from Shane Long’s early goal to beat West Brom 2-1 thanks to second half strikes from Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda.
Aston Villa secured their first victory under new manager Alex McLeish as Blackburn were beaten 3-1, while QPR won 1-0 at Everton.
Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm saved a penalty from Wigan midfielder Ben Watson as the first Premier League game to be played in Wales finished in a 0-0 draw at the Liberty Stadium.