Goals from second-half subs Mario Balotelli and James Milner helped maintain City's blistering start to the season with a 2-0 win over Everton.
Balotelli was on the pitch for just eight minutes when he opened the scoring with a crisp, curling shot from the edge of the box and Milner added a late second to seal the points against a stubborn, unadventurous Toffees side.
It was no more than Roberto Mancini's side deserved, either.
City fielded the same starting XI that drew 2-2 with Fulham last Sunday, perhaps in a bid to exorcise one or two demons and doubts that may have crept in over the past week.
Everton’s team, again featuring no out-and-out striker and ten players who are recognised defenders, spoke for itself and the manager’s intentions – the phrase ‘parking the bus’ sprang to mind in the early exchanges.
The Toffees, gradually finding their feet this season after a poor start, clearly arrived with a game plan that involved stopping City – sometimes by any means necessary – and hopefully nicking a goal at some point.
But with all 11 men behind the ball every time City attacked, it was always going to be a frustrating afternoon for the sell-out home crowd.
...City 2 Everton 0
David Moyes’ record against City over the past four season is unsurpassed by any other Premier League manager so while his negative tactics aren’t pretty to watch, they have clearly been effective against the Blues – so why change a winning formula?
City’s job was to find a way through the packed defence and midfield and change the visitors’ mindset – but it didn’t come in the first half when only Sergio Aguero’s curling shot – acrobatically saved by Tim Howard – came close to breaking the deadlock.
Time and time again Edin Dzeko was crowded out and the skills of Messrs Nasri , Silva and Aguero were suffocated in a sea of navy blue. Moyes stalked his technical area snarling and complaining to the fourth official throughout and his team replicated their manager’s style on the pitch.
As the game passed the hour-mark, it was clear that the Blues were struggling to find inspiration, not so much knocking on the Everton door rather lightly tapping on it. The ball never fell kindly, the final pass was always cut out and the tension was growing.
Mancini decided to try and freshen up the attack by sending Balotelli on for the ineffective Dzeko – and cometh the hour (literally in this case), cometh the man.
The enigmatic Italian took just eight minutes to send the Etihad Stadium wild.
...City 2 Everton 0
Aguero made the goal, beating several defenders on the edge of the box before teeing up Balotelli to send a precision rocket past Howard from 20 yards. His goal celebration – yes there was one this time – was to run 40 yards and hug his manager in a moment of unabashed joy.
Balotelli came close to doubling the lead twice in the next five minutes, first following up Silva’s shot that had come back off the post and then with a low drive from 20 yards that went a yard wide. There’s never a dull moment with this fella!
Everton, the game-plan in tatters, rarely threatened to come out of their defensive shell and City continued to dominate thereafter until another sub, James Milner, poked home Silva’s exquisite through-ball two minutes from time to seal the points and finally end Everton’s jinx in this fixture.