Bolton finished 14th in the league last season despite spending a most of it in contention for a Europa League place. It was a poor run of 5 defeats at the end of the season which dashed their hopes of European football.
They have got off to a flying start this season, beating QPR 4-0 away from home despite early concerns that they would struggle to score goals after releasing last season's top scorer Johan Elmander and the return of Daniel Sturridge to Chelsea.
Owen Coyle got Bolton playing some very good football last term and looks to have continued that philosophy with the signings of Chris Eagles and Turkish captain Tuncay. Both players can play on either flank or in a more central attacking role. Chris Eagles has already made an impact after his free kick was turned into the back of the net by QPR's Daniel Gabbidon as well as getting an assist to his name for Gary Cahill's fantastic strike.
Bolton are no strangers to the more direct approach though and Kevin Davies is the man for Kompany and Lescott to keep an eye on if they resort to hoofing the ball up field. In all fairness to Bolton though, City should be able to contain the opposing front line as well as last season when they shut them out and kept clean sheets in both Premier League games.
City will of course want to continue to make an early impression on the title race after scoring 4 goals themselves against Swansea. Mancini will no doubt want another high scoring win, as last year's 2nd and 3rd place was decided on goal difference. He often complained that the team lacked that killer instinct and wasted too many opportunities on goal.
For all his ability David Silva was guilty of this, a little too often preferring to unselfishly pass the ball for a teammate to have a go rather than take on the shot himself. It looks as though Mancini has been having words with him this time round as 'Merlin' appears to be hungry for more goals himself. Although he is undoubtedly one of the best at moving the ball about and finding space, if he can add a few more goals per season compared to his tally of 4 in the last campaign, City will undeniably have one of the very best players in the world in their ranks.
Another player looking to continue in his recent form is Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko who has now scored a goal in his last 3 games (Inter Milan, Manchester United, Swansea City). He had in incredible amount of detractors last season and was labelled a flop in certain circles even amongst City fans. He still has those who doubt his ability, but after a full pre-season he is looking sharp and more and more settled at City now. I think I'm safe in saying we can expect much better from him this season.