x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Coyle believes his side are a match for high-flyers

Owen Coyle will give Manchester City respect, but believes his team is more than capable to win the match.

Owen Coyle, the Bolton Wanderers manager, is confident his side can compete with Manchester City on the pitch today, even if they cannot hope to do so financially.

Bolton have spent just £2 million (Dh12m) on Darren Pratley, Nigel Reo-Coker, Tyrone Mears and Chris Eagles this summer, in contrast more than £50m laid out by City.

"Is this a game we can win? Absolutely," Coyle said. "We love playing against the best teams, players and managers - and Manchester City affords you that opportunity.

"They will get the ultimate respect, but we also know when we are at our very best, regardless of who we are playing, we can win.

"I don't know what they have spent. In my 18 months in charge I've spent £3m in transfers. It might look a bit of a mismatch … but I can assure you it won't be."

Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini, the City manager, says his side will need to score more goals if they are to win the title this season.

City, whose football has often been characterised as cautious since Mancini took over in December 2009, opened their Premier League campaign with a 4-0 thumping of Swansea City. It is the kind of performance the Italian wants to see more of, even though he concedes he would be happy enough to win every game 1-0.

"It is clear that now we have more offensive players and it is important they all play and maybe that we take more risks than last year," he said. "This year, we need to score more goals if we want to win the Premier League.

"For me, if we win 38 games 1-0, it is OK, but this is impossible."

Today, City travel to a Bolton side who also won their first game 4-0, against QPR. "For me, they are a strong team," Mancini said. "They were strong last year and had a fantastic season, and they have a good manager. If we want to win we will have to fight for every ball."

Carlos Tevez could make his first appearance of the season for City. Although the striker handed in a transfer request this summer, a move is yet to materialise and he returned to training last week.

Key battle
Gary Cahill v Sergio Aguero
Bolton’s Cahill, below, in his manager Owen Coyle’s words, could play for any team in the world. In any case he is a class act and could become an England regular. He needs to keep Aguero facing away from goal because if the Argentine get the chance to turn and run with the ball, he can be lethal.

Tactics
Outside a trip to the very top teams, the Reebok Stadium is one of the toughest places to pick up points, but City have the players – Aguero, David Silva, Adam Johnson – to soak up pressure and pounce on the counter attack.
Previous meetings
City won 2-0 at the Reebok last season, their first league victory there since 2004, on the last day of the campaign. Neutrals will hope for a repeat of the encounter from 2009/10, which finished 3-3.

Probable line-ups
Bolton (4-4-2) Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson; Muamba, Reo-Coker, Eagles, Petrov; Davies, Klasnic
Man City (4-3-3) Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Barry, De Jong, Y Toure; Silva, Johnson, Aguero

Facts
• This is a clash of the two highest scoring teams from the opening day, with both enjoying 4-0 victories.
• With Lee Bowyer having moved to the Championship, Bolton’s Kevin Davies is likely to become the Premier League’s all-time most booked player this season. He is four cards behind Bowyer’s 101.