Preview: Bolton Wanderers v Manchester City

A triumphant and exhausting season reaches it’s finale at Bolton with City needing only to do as well as Arsenal (away to Fulham) to secure third place. If Roberto Mancini’s side can maintain the momentum generated from beating Tottenham and Stoke, then victory could be secured.

The players were buoyant against a deflated and injury ravaged Stoke on Tuesday night, but Bolton are likely to be a tougher test despite their recent poor run of form. It might have helped had the speculation around Carlos Tevez’s future waited until the end of the season, but that’s not the way with modern media.

The captain was fundamental to our victory on Tuesday and we need him focussed on the game on Sunday. Hopefully Mario Balotelli’s knee will be ok for him to play if selected.

In midfield it will be interesting to see whether Mancini retains Milner after his impressive performance against Stoke or restores Barry to the starting line-up. Hopefully David Silva will be fit and back to his best.

After eleven stitches in his head, Zabaleta is a doubtful starter. The intelligence of Bolton’s attacking play makes the Argentine’s reliable defending preferable to that of Kolarov.

The obvious danger man is Daniel Sturridge, while Kevin Davies will no doubt seek to disrupt the composure of Kompany and Lescott. On current form they should cope with the threat of the Bolton captain.

Nigel de Jong:

“We have to go to Bolton, play to our maximum levels and take the three points that will be the perfect end to a fantastic season.

“It’s been a long season but finishing third would be the cherry on the cake.”

If City finish fourth, then we’ll be dependent on results elsewhere in Europe to see if we are seeded for the Champions League qualifier. Teams qualifying directly for the Champions League group stages also get more money, which would help us conform to Financial Fair Play. Therefore the opportunity to finish third is a tremendous one, and should be grasped.

Blue Days line-up (4-2-3-1):
Richards – Kompany – Lescott – Zabaleta
de Jong – Milner
Silva – Y Toure – Balotelli

Prediction: 3-1 to City.

Verdict: Manchester City 3 Stoke City 0
Player ratings: Bolton Wanderers v Manchester City

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