Lescott’s slice of luck is proof of new era

‘TYPICAL CITY’ really is starting to have a new meaning after Roberto Mancini’s side secured automatic qualification to the group stage of the Champions League with the traditional hint of farce.

But now the kind of moment that saw Adam Johnson’s corner thump Joleon Lescott in the face and fly in to Jussi Jaaskelainen’s net sums up the kind of season they have had.

Three years after they were thumped 8-1 at Middlesbrough on the final day of the season, City have joined the club and they will take some shifting now they are preparing for a first-ever Champions League campaign.

Ending a 35-year wait for a trophy with the FA Cup victory, they have now added a highest league finish since 1977 and the only emotion other than satisfaction is a slight nagging frustration that their season could have been even better.

It remains to be seen who will get their way as Mancini conducts a public pursuit for more cash at the same time as chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak attempts to calm City’s spending.

But there is certainly a sound basis to work from, as six victories from their final seven matches has proved.

Carlos Tevez looks set to miss City’s open-top bus parade today unless he decides against catching his flight to Buenos Aires and Mancini must be wondering if his Golden Boot winner is really worth this hassle.

But with the need to shed the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz, Craig Bellamy and Jo from his striking department, he could do with one more year from the Argentinian, no matter how difficult the former Manchester United man can be at times.

Vincent Kompany has excelled at the centre of his defence, while David Silva and Yaya Toure have proved to be outstanding signings. If they are able to add a centre-back, a left-back and another striker and then the Premier League will be a definite possibility for next season.

Although they struggled to cope with free-kicks and corners, they showed that they could cut Bolton to bits at will, with Silva popping up “between the lines” and playing little sliding passes that gave the home defence nightmares.

In the opening period, Gary Cahill and Kevin Davies were both guilty of poor misses, while Joe Hart also pushed away a Davies header after Matt Taylor’s free-kick was glanced on by Nigel de Jong.

But it was City that carved open the better chances, with Gareth Barry heading against the bar from just a couple of yards out from a Dedryck Boyata cross and Silva lifting a shot over from close range after Jaaskelainen had pulled off a fine double save from Toure and Tevez.

The breakthrough came just before the interval, when Johnson’s corner hit Lescott in the face and then hit the back of the net just to show that even when things aren’t going to plan, they have the habit of working out for this current City side.

After the interval, they doubled the lead when Tevez slipped a pass left for Barry and his low cross was blocked by Cahill, only for Edin Dzeko to find the corner with his first touch.

As Bolton slipped to a fifth straight defeat that condemned them to 14th place, the same spot they held at the end of last season, Daniel Sturridge was sent off for a daft lunge at Dzeko.

At the end there were more City fans left in the Reebok Stadium than home supporters as Bolton had a lap of honour and Coyle has a summer of rebuilding ahead.

Johan Elmander’s free transfer to Galatasaray three years after Bolton bought him for £10 million is bad business but on the playing side he will not be particularly missed, while fringe players Ricardo Gardner, Tamir Cohen, Robbie Blake and Joey O’Brien will also be released by the club later today.


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