Second-half goals by Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri helped Manchester City beat Everton 2-0 on Sunday to secure a club record-equalling ninth straight English Premier League win and keep the team on top of the points table after three games.
Kolarov put City ahead in the 60th minute when he charged up from left back, ran onto Raheem Sterling's pass and beat American goalkeeper Tim Howard at his near post with a shot from an acute angle. Nasri came on as a substitute and scored the second by chipping Howard after playing a one-two with Yaya Toure in the 88th minute.
It was another statement of intent by City, which has spent more than $150 million this summer in a bid to reclaim the title from Chelsea and win it for a third time in five seasons. After 3-0 wins against both West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea, Manuel Pellegrini's side has opened up a two-point lead, scored eight goals - with seven different scorers - and is looking much more solid in defense.
City centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala, often criticized last season, have hardly put a foot wrong in three matches and Argentina defender Nicolas Otamendi, who was signed on Thursday for 40 million euros ($44 million), won't have an easy task getting in the starting team. "We are continuing the way we finished last season, said Pellegrini. "If you want to win silverware, you have to be consistent."
Sergio Aguero was twice denied by Howard in the first nine minutes, while Sterling couldn't stretch far enough to turn the ball into an empty net from David Silva's disguised cross. Romelu Lukaku proved a handful at the other end, first having a goal disallowed for being marginally offside from Ross Barkley's through-ball and then curling in a free kick that skimmed the top of the crossbar at the end of the first half.
Silva struck the goal frame for City two minutes after the restart and the visitors had regained the initiative by the time Kolarov put them ahead. Silva led City on the counterattack, Sterling slipped in Kolarav - sprinting up from full back - and the Serbia international tricked Howard to beat the goalkeeper at his near post.
The closest Everton came to equalizing was when Kompany cleared the ball off his goal line following a header from Gareth Barry in the 78th minute, but it was all City in the closing stages.
Nasri, marginalized this season after Sterling's arrival from Liverpool, came on for the winger and clinched victory. A superb piece of skill from Silva set up another attack before Nasri passed to Toure and ran onto the midfielder's clipped pass to scoop a shot over Howard from close range.
"You see a team that are at their very, very best," Everton manager Roberto Mancini said of City, "when they only need half a chance to hurt you. They are really enjoying their moment."