Everton 0 Manchester City 2: Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini claimed it’s too early to compare this team with his 2014 Premier League-winning vintage.
But what is already clear after three successive wins without conceding a goal to start the season is that City already look the side to beat in the title race.
After demolishing Chelsea a week earlier, City ended Everton’s unbeaten start with a clinical performance which gave them a ninth successive league win since they lost 4-2 to Manchester United in April.
The club has only once before managed such a run, back in 1912. They had also previously won only once at Everton in six attempts — in May, 2014 as they closed on the title.
Was this then, perhaps, an early omen of success to come, after second-half goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and substitute Samir Nasri gave City the points?
“I knew about that (the record). It is important that we have nine points this season and also finished last season playing very well because it is not easy to win six games in a row,” said Pellegrini.
“We are continuing the way we finished last season. If you want to win silverware, you have to be consistent. That is why it was important to win here because Everton are a very difficult team.”
City still have power to add with new £32m (€44m) signing Nicolas Otamendi to come into the squad once the former Valencia defender has received a work permit, while they still also hope to conclude a deal for Wolfsburg midfielder Kevin de Bruyne.
Otamendi might have to bide his time for a starting place, with Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala again impressing, bar a late lapse from Mangala when his unnecessary backheel almost fifted Everton the chance of an equaliser.
Kompany had also cleared off the line from former City midfielder Gareth Barry but Nasri removed any doubt two minutes from time when the substitute played a lovely one-two with Yaya Toure before lifting the ball over Tim Howard to give City the margin of victory they just deserved.
The visitors could have been out of sight early on but Tim Howard twice denied Sergio Aguero with his legs and Raheem Sterling — booed thanks to his Liverpool connections — failed to react in time tto a clever pass from the outstanding David Silva.
Sterling started slowly but by the time he was substituted, ther £49m (€67m) summer signing was beginning to look a key part of the team, his pass on the break to the overlapping Kolarov allowing the full-back to beat Howard at his near post and break the deadlock.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez rued the fact that his side didn’t score in a powerful finish to the first half when Phil Jagielka headed just over from a corner and Lukaku hit the crossbar from a free-kick.
Martinez said: “We weren’t clinical enough in front of goal but in terms of effort and a proper confrontation against, in my eyes, the best team in the league at the moment we can take a lot of positives.”
Everton were watched by River Plate defender Ramiro Funes Mori, whose proposed £6m move to Merseyside is expected to be completed once he has passed a medical and received a work permit.
Martinez again stressed that Chelsea target John Stones will not be sold.
Martinez has also been linked with Dynamo Kiev striker Andriy Yarmolenko and Shakhtar Donetsk forward Bernard but could be without left-back Brendan Galloway for a spell after he went off with a knee injury.
Howard 5; Coleman 8, Stones 7, Jagielka 7, Galloway 5 (Browning 45mins, 6); Barry 6, McCarthy 6; Kone 6 (Naismith 64, 6), Barkley 7, Cleverley 6 (Deulofeu 84); Lukaku 7.
Hart 6; Sagna 6, Mangala 8, Kompany 8, Kolarov 8; Toure 7, Fernandinho 7; Navas 7, Silva 9 (Delph 90), Sterling 8 (Nasri 76); Aguero 7 (Bony 81).
Referee: Anthony Taylor
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