City ended their long barren spell at the home of Arsenal with a performance of style and grit at the Emirates Stadium.
With all the talk of curses, hexes and hoodoos ahead of this Super Sunday showdown, Roberto Mancini had a team of witchdoctors, exorcists and apothecaries to conjure the long sought antidote to City’s Arsenal maledict.
First-half goals from James Milner and Edin Dzeko against an Arsenal side reduced to ten men after 10 minutes were enough for the Blues to bring their arrears at the top of the table back to seven points - despite Vincent Kompany's controversial red card after 75 minutes.
It was well documented in the run-up to kick-off that DaMarcus Beasely was the last player to score for City at the Emirates Stadium five years ago and it was 1975 when Asa Hartford, Joe Royle and Rodney Marsh fired the Blues to their last three points on the red side of North London.
City’s miserable run on Gunners turf reached a nadir here in April when the title charge seemed to hit the skids thanks to Mikel Arteta’s late long-range sucker punch.
Travelling to North London without Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and the Toure brothers made this an even more daunting task but Mancini was able to name a robust XI, making two changes from the FA Cup win over Watford.
As expected, Joe Hart returned in place of Costel Pantilimon to make his 200th appearance for the club and Joleon Lescott made way for Matija Nastasic in a bid to neutralise an in-form Arsenal side that had won four of its last five games.
It’s been a fixture that has been littered with red cards down the years, with four sendings off in the last five encounters and there was another here after just 10 minutes.
Dzeko sought to wriggle away from Laurent Koscielny in the penalty area and the French defender wrestled him to the ground, giving Mike Dean no option but to award the penalty and give the Arsenal man his marching orders.
City's Bosnian hitman assumed responsibility for the spot-kick but was denied his 10th Premier League goal of the season when his strike down the middle hit Szczesny, then the post and rolled agonizingly across the goal-line and into the grateful Pole’s arms.
If it was a let-off for Arsenal, it proved to be a temporary reprieve.
Just 10 minutes later, City’s clever quick free-kick brought a first goal on Arsenal turf since 2007 when Milner ran onto an incisive Carlos Tevez pass and struck an unstoppable first-effort effort that flew past Szczesny and thundered in off the far post.
It got even better a rampant City on 30 minutes, when Milner's cross was met by Tevez who slid in a shot which Sczesny could only palm into the path of Dzeko to gleefully tap his way into double figures for the campaign from a few yards out.
The champions have won 10 and drawn one of 11 games they have scored the first goal in, have never dropped a point in the last 19 games when Dzeko has scored, and haven’t surrendered a two-goal lead since September 2011, so all the omens were in City’s favour at the break.
A wave of pressure arrived after half-time from a spirited home side but City rode it and should have been three up when, with 20 minutes to play, David Silva found Dzeko, who laid a pass onto Tevez to burst through on goal but Szczesny did well to stand up and not allow the Argentine striker to round him.
Five minutes later, the referee leveled up the playing field when he showed a straight red card to Kompany for a tackle on Jack Wilshere.
It looked a harsh decision and shared parallels with the Belgian’s sending off against Manchester United in the FA Cup last season, with the referee deeming that, despite the City skipper winning the ball cleanly, the 26-year old used excessive force.
A nervy last ten minutes followed as Arsenal pressed for a response and only a brilliant piece of defending on the line from substitute Lescott denied Theo Walcott from halving the deficit but the champions held firm and claimed a deserved three points at Arsenal for the first time in 37 years.
The race is on!