Manchester City Oozing with Talent, Not "There" Yet

It was a game that saw two much-maligned Manchester City players—James Milner (bought for £26 million in August 2010) and Edin Dzeko (£27.5 million in winter 2011)—turn in stellar performances.

Milner may well switch his Nike boots for Reeboks after reinvigorating his once-promising career at Bolton's...Reebok Stadium.

He was rampant on the wing, showing the kind of form that once made him one of the brightest young English talents.

His touch was impeccable—he combined brilliantly with his supporting cast and looked determined to capitalize after enduring a disappointing debut season with the Citizens in which he failed to score a goal during league play (though he did provide six assists).

Dzeko broke his own league duck at the tail end of last season and has looked transformed since new teammate Sergio Aguero's entry into last Monday's match against Swansea City.

He looks a step quicker, his touches seem tighter, and his command of play is beginning to resemble his form with Wolfsburg, when he was considered one of the brightest attacking talents in Europe.

Against Bolton, he took his goal (his second of the season, City's third on the match) superbly, sending a superbly struck half-volley that bounced past helpless Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

Though Aguero had a quieter display than his riotous two-goal, one-assist debut, he still showed the captivating blend of commitment and drive that might have reminded some traveling City fans of an erstwhile Carlos Tevez.

The fact that City can bring a striker of Tevez's quality off the bench is an undeniable testament to the depth and talent of this season's City side.

The Argentine with the scarred neck looked short of fitness during his spell as a substitute—he only returned to full training a week ago—but should he get those renowned legs running rampant once more, City will be difficult to handle.

It was their class that eventually proved the difference maker against a well-organized, driven Bolton side that took the fiery spirit of manager Owen Coyle to heart, fighting back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits before eventually coming up just short at 3-2.

After their 4-0 opening victory over Queens Park Rangers, Bolton have nothing to hang their heads about after a good start to the season.

For 60 minutes, City played like a top-class side.

For the final 30, they became increasingly vulnerable as Bolton looked increasingly likely to grab an equalizer, thanks in part to substitute Matt Davies, who provided a sense of burst and inspiration. Driving forward, he put the City defense under pressure with impressive consistency.

Pundits will ask questions of City's defense after this game—they have to complain about something, after all, and City's attack, which has notched seven goals in two games, is exempt from criticism at the moment.

Side backs Micah Richards and Alexander Kolarov, while dangerous going forward, are not the best in defense.

Joleon Lescott and Vincent Kompany were well disciplined and tough in central defense, but Roberto Mancini must be waiting anxiously for Kolo Toure to return from a drug ban Sept. 2 to add that extra bit of steel to the City back line.

The Sky Sports announcers pointed out that City look a different side from the past couple seasons—well, at least the players on the field.

Another camera shot of a benched Mario Balotelli (he was shown warming up unenthusiastically during the Swansea match) showed the petulant Italian shooting a glance that was hair raising.

He does not cut a happy figure on the sideline.

On the pitch it was a different story.

Whether it was the whirling dervish of David Silva utilizing his prodigious guile to twist and turn away from the Bolton defense or the stoic Yaya Toure manning the position of defensive midfielder alongside the revitalized Gareth Barry (who scored on a superb long-distance drive), City have made a statement in their first two games.

They are going to put their unfathomable talent in attack to good use.

In the fourth year of Sheik Mansour's ownership, manager Mancini finally looks to have formed a side that has shaken off the dregs of inconsistency that contributed to so many moribund affairs.

The technical superiority of the City players is without question. This season, they'll look to capitalize upon it.

Money can buy talent, after all.

One need only shoot a passing glance at the glowering wunderkind Balotelli slumping in his sideline seat to be certain of that.

TAGS: EPL, , Manchester City,