The Argentina striker's match-winner,his 10th league goal of the season, came as early as the fourth minute.But while City fans can salivate about a run-up to Christmas which, if their team have any real pretensions to greatness, should not be above their capabilities, it is their lack of ruthlessness which could cost them.
They had Bolton Wanderers tottering on the ropes in a scintillating opening 20-minute spell. By the end, however, they were grateful to win on points.
Cold snap: Carlos Tevez fires Manchester City ahead
City manager Roberto Mancini was either acting in deference to fellow Italian Carlo Ancelotti by literally demeaning his own team or maybe making mischief when he insisted later that he still thought Chelsea would win the title.
Vainly he sought complications in an ensuing schedule which sees his team visit West Ham and Newcastle and entertain Everton and Aston Villa before the New Year's Day home game against Blackpool.
In truth, his public persona may be as much flim-flam as City produce on the field when really inside he must be drooling at the prospect of the host of Christmas presents.
City could not have had a better start. Tevez pounced greedily on to a great through-ball from Yaya Toure, scrapped Gary Cahill out of possession, strode forward and enticed Jussi Jaaskelainen off his line before stroking a low shot into the extreme right-hand corner of the goal.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle hit the nail on the head when he said later: 'When you come to a club who have spent £300million on players, you certainly don't want to be behind as early as we were. We lost a soft goal but it was great finishing by a world-class player.'
'For the next few minutes City were really on the front foot, really in the ascendancy. But we started giving them as good as we got.'
You've got to be kidding: Carlos Tevez (left) shouts at manager Roberto Mancini (right) after being substituted
Again City hit the ground running after the break. Pablo Zabaleta had a low shot well saved by Jaaskelainen and Mario Balotelli and Silva each hit the post.
But again their effort petered out and they were lucky when City goalkeeper Joe Hart let a Sam Ricketts free-kick slip through his fingers in the 70th minute but Vincent Kompany cleared off the line.
And two reckless tackles by Aleksandar Kolarov within five minutes, which produced two yellows and ared card, really started the finger-chewing. Mancini disputed the sending-off.
Scarf ace: Tevez gets a hug from Yaya Toure after scoring the winner
City had another perfectly good effort chalked off when Tevez had the ball in the net, running from an onside position, only to have David Silva, who was not interfering with play, ruled offside.
But a few poor decisions caused them to sulk enough for Bolton to grab the initiative with a more alehouse approach, which had them in the ascendancy by the interval.
'It was a poor decision,' said the City manager.
Tevez did not seem to appreciate his substitution, but Mancini dismissed any suggestion of bad feeling.
'No player likes to be taken off. He is fine. There is no problem,' he said.
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For Bolton manager Coyle there is the certainty of progress, despite this setback. He has fashioned a workmanlike team without stars but one who could trouble the top six.
'We just take each day as it comes,' said the Scot. 'We'll be back on the training ground trying to put a smile on the faces of players who really felt they could have taken something from this game.'
Meanwhile, City can look forward to a month when their opposition compares favourably with those of their top-four rivals, who have to mix it with each other at some stage.
New Year's Eve is Fergie's birthday. The chances are his former striker could make those Hogmanay celebrations a little less memorable.
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