• Manchester City are the only side with three Premier League wins ahead of Liverpool vs Arsenal on Monday 
  • Aleksandar Kolarov gave Manchester City the lead before the hour mark beating Tim Howard at the near post
  • City’s lead was doubled by a deft finish from Samir Nasri after an audacious flicked through ball from Yaya Toure
  • Joe Hart enjoyed his third clean sheet of the season and City now have eight goals scored by seven players 

Ian Ladyman for the Daily Mail

So now we know. This is the standard for this season and it has been set by Manchester City.

Forget the 3-0 win on the opening weekend by Manuel Pellegrini’s team at a feeble West Brom and put aside even the subsequent dismantling of a distracted and below-par Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium last weekend.

This, arguably, was City’s most impressive performance of the new season, so far. This was a day when they showed themselves to be expressive but also resilient; exciting but also efficient. Three games in and Pellegrini’s team have three wins, eight goals and a hat-trick of clean sheets. 

Scroll down for video 

Aleksandar Kolarov (right) celebrates after scoring Manchester City’s opener just inside the hour mark against Everton on Sunday

Kolarov beat Toffees keeper Tim Howard at the near post after a strong run down the left to keep his side’s flawless start rolling

Samir Nasri shows his delight after his clever finish gave City a 2-0 lead and put the icing on the cake of another strong performance

Kolarov (left) is ecstatic after Frenchman Nasri (centre with David Silva) added to his earlier strike for another sky blues victory

Kolarov (left) is ecstatic after Frenchman Nasri (centre with David Silva) added to his earlier strike for another sky blues victory

MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS, PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE 

 

EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Howard 6, Galloway  6.5 (Browning 47 mins, 6), Jagielka 7, Stones 7.5, Coleman 7, Barry 7, McCarthy 6, Cleverley 6 (Deulofeu 86′), Barkley 6.5, Kone 6.5 (Naismith 64′, 6), Lukaku 6

Subs not used: Robles, Mirallas, Besic, , Osman,

MANCHESTER CITY 4-2-3-1: Hart 7, Sagna 6.5, Kompany 8, Mangala 7, Kolarov 7, Toure 6.5, Fernandinho 7.5, Navas 7, Sterling 7 (Nasri 76′, 7), Silva 8.5 (Delph 89′), Aguero 6 (Bony 80′)

Subs not used: Caballero, Denayer, Demichelis, Iheanacho

Goals: Kolarov 60, Nasri 89  

Booked: Mangala, Fernandinho, Nasri 

Attendance: 38,762

Referee: Anthony Taylor 7

Man of the Match: David Silva 

Ratings by Dominic King at Goodison Park 

The build-up to Samir Nasri’s (8) goal started at halfway with David Silva (21) and followed a saved attempt from Jesus Navas (15) before the flick from Yaya Toure (42) and then the Frenchman’s deft finish – CLICK HERE for statistics, heat maps and more in Sportsmail’s brilliant Match Zone.

As we said, then, this is where the bar is set and it is already tempting to wonder how many other teams are capable of coming here against a confident Everton team and win in this fashion. At the end, City’s supporters applauded their team off but there were cheers from the Gladwys Street for the home team, too.

It had been that kind of game. Competitive, engaging and even rather rumbustious at times. Both teams were in it for long periods and both had spells of dominance. Ultimately, though, the right team – the best team – won it and Pellegrini will already have noticed with satisfaction that his team’s eight goals have been scored by seven different players. Only captain Vincent Kompany, peculiarly, has two. 

Here on Merseyside today, both teams had shared chances and territory in the first half but City emerged for the second period to strike clinically and the goal owed as much to sheer mental will as anything else.

Left-back Aleksandar Kolarov didn’t have to run 30 yards down the line when he saw Raheem Sterling in possession with a little under half an hour left. Nobody would have blamed him had he not bombed on, had he merely held his covering position.

As it was, though, the Serbian arrived at Sterling’s shoulder at lung-bursting pace and was rewarded when his subsequent cross shot fooled Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard and found the far corner to the American’s right.

The goal felt important. City had struck the frame of the goal moments earlier, but so had Everton just before half-time. As such, it gave the visitors a firm foothold that had not previously been guaranteed and they were able to see the game out without major incident, Samir Nasri scoring the second right at the end after scampering through an Everton defence that by then was looking rather tired. 

Romelu Lukaku gets one-on-one with Manchester City's England keeper Joe Hart but is rightly judged offside by the officials

Romelu Lukaku gets one-on-one with Manchester City’s England keeper Joe Hart but is rightly judged offside by the officials

Everton midfielder Tom Cleverley throws his arms in the air as he's brought down by his City counterpart Fernandinho, who is booked

Everton midfielder Tom Cleverley throws his arms in the air as he’s brought down by his City counterpart Fernandinho, who is booked

Lukaku attempts to curve the ball around a sizeable Manchester City wall during the first half but agonisingly finds only the cross bar

Lukaku attempts to curve the ball around a sizeable Manchester City wall during the first half but agonisingly finds only the cross bar

Despite the fact that they had already come up against Chelsea, this fixture always looked as though it could be the toughest of City’s season so far. 

Pellegrini’s team had faced Chelsea with the champions already under some pressure but this was a game against a team that was coming off the back of a 3-0 win at Southampton.

Certainly it was a tight affair for long periods at a wet Goodison Park. City were the better team for long periods – certainly at the start of either half – but Everton were always in it and as such it was difficult to take much for granted until the closing stages.

With both teams unchanged from their last games – City’s new signing Nicolas Otamendi is still awaiting a work permit – both managers clearly felt their players were enjoying some early season rhythm. For the first 20 minutes at least, though, it was the team from Manchester that played all the progressive football. 

Everton's John Stones (left), who continues to be linked to Chelsea, makes a strong sliding challenge on City's Aleksandar Kolarov

Everton’s John Stones (left), who continues to be linked to Chelsea, makes a strong sliding challenge on City’s Aleksandar Kolarov

Everton's James McCarthy (left) tries to keep tabs on City's playmaking maestro David Silva as the rain falls at Goodison Park

Everton’s James McCarthy (left) tries to keep tabs on City’s playmaking maestro David Silva as the rain falls at Goodison Park

A powerful tussle again between Stones and Kolarov as the young Toffees defender nips in front of the Serbia left back to win a header

A powerful tussle again between Stones and Kolarov as the young Toffees defender nips in front of the Serbia left back to win a header

Twice inside the first ten minutes, for example, Sergio Aguero was denied by Howard. The second save, in particular, was terrific as Jesus Navas and Silva played a one-two that allowed the former to find Aguero with a low pull back.

The City centre forward was well-placed about 12 yards from goal and his first-time right foot shot seemed destined for the bottom corner until Howard saved with his outstretched leg.

At this stage, Everton needed their goalkeeper. They had not settled and City were making progress down both flanks, Navas enjoying himself down the right and Sterling finding more space than he may have expected down the left.

Howard saved again, this time from Silva, in the 14th minute and was relieved to see Sterling fail narrowly to turn in a low Silva cross right in front of him after Arouna Kone had lost possession rather carelessly outside his own penalty area.

Sergio Aguero shoots under pressure from Everton's 19-year-old defender Brendan Galloway before his day is cut short though injury

Sergio Aguero shoots under pressure from Everton’s 19-year-old defender Brendan Galloway before his day is cut short though injury

Everton boss Roberto Martinez and Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini both find reason to issue first half instructions on Sunday

Everton boss Roberto Martinez and Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini both find reason to issue first half instructions on Sunday

Had City scored at this stage then it may have transpired to be a long afternoon for Everton. As it was, however, City lost some momentum and Everton found a way back in to the game with some adventurous football of their own.

Ross Barkley – fitfully dangerous playing between the midfield and Romelu Lukaku up front – made Joe Hart work from distance in the 19th minute before Lukaku himself turned a low shot in to the met from 10 yards only to be flagged marginally offside as he span clear.

Seamus Coleman was next to ease forward from his full-back position, running 25 yards to show low and inches wide of Hart’s left hand post and this was becoming typical of Everton’s play. City’s central defenders didn’t look totally comfortable when asked to backpedal and as the half reached its conclusion both defender Eliaquim Mangala and then midfielder Fernandinho were forced in to fouls near the edge of their own penalty area.

The first free-kick – from Barkley – didn’t clear the wall but the next one – from Lukaku – struck the top of the crossbar with Hart beaten.

Ross Barkley finds some space in between Yaya Toure (left) and Vincent Kompany (right) to fire off a shot with his left foot

Ross Barkley finds some space in between Yaya Toure (left) and Vincent Kompany (right) to fire off a shot with his left foot

In to the second half and it was to be intriguing to see if Everton could maintain and develop the momentum they had found towards the end of the first. As it was, however, the second 45 minutes followed almost exactly the same pattern as the first, except this time there was a goal or two.

City were fast from the traps again and almost scored a wonderful goal in the 47th minute, Silva rapping the near post after moving in to a cute reverse pass from Sterling and letting fly with his right foot.

Just after the hour, however, Pellegrini’s team did take the lead and at that time it was very much deserved. They had played all the football of the second period and when Sterling held the ball long enough for Kolarov to arrive on his left shoulder he slipped the ball to the full-back who beat Howard through a gap at the near post that really should not have been there. 

Cleverley pushes Kolarov to the byline before the Serbian finds a way past Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard in the second half

With the goal-line just inches away, Kolarov decides to try his luck from an acute angle and is rewarded as City take the lead

With the goal-line just inches away, Kolarov decides to try his luck from an acute angle and is rewarded as City take the lead

Kolarov falls to the ground as his shot finds the back of the net and Howard (left) and Cleverley (centre) can only watch on

Kolarov falls to the ground as his shot finds the back of the net and Howard (left) and Cleverley (centre) can only watch on

City players celebrate just before the hour mark as their perfect start to the Premier League season appeared to continue

City players celebrate just before the hour mark as their perfect start to the Premier League season appeared to continue

Everton's Gareth Barry (from left), Stones, Phil Jagielka and Arouna Kone look dejected after their promising efforts aren't rewarded

Everton’s Gareth Barry (from left), Stones, Phil Jagielka and Arouna Kone look dejected after their promising efforts aren’t rewarded

Now, with half an hour left, it was time for City to be ruthless. Could they see the game out?

Only six minutes later they actually had another chance to wrap it all up. John Stones and young substitute Tyias Browning fell over each other out on City’s right touchline, allowing Navas to run unimpeded diagonally towards goal.

With Aguero wanting the ball to his left and home shirts flooding back, the Spaniard had a decision to make and perhaps too much time to think. Ultimately he went for goal himself and Howard saved unwittingly with his face.

Briefly, City looked as though they may pay for that. As they did in the first half, Everton found a little something and began to make progress again.

The nearest they came, however, was when former City player Gareth Barry saw a header cleared from the line by Vincent Kompany with eleven minutes left. After that, the final chance fell to the 2014 champions and when substitute Nasri played a one-two with Toure, he was allowed to make easy progress through the Everton defence to lift the second goal over Howard’s shoulder and in to the net.

Nasri, a 76th minute substitute for Sterling, meets a bouncing ball flicked cleverly through by City midfielder Toure

Nasri, a 76th minute substitute for Sterling, meets a bouncing ball flicked cleverly through by City midfielder Toure

Howard attempts to make himself big but as Nasri's delicate touch connects with the ball he closes his eyes haplessly

Howard attempts to make himself big but as Nasri’s delicate touch connects with the ball he closes his eyes haplessly

After getting in behind the Everton defence with a perfectly timed run, Nasri keeps control of his shot to double City's lead

After getting in behind the Everton defence with a perfectly timed run, Nasri keeps control of his shot to double City’s lead

The ball floats as if in slow motion as Nasri's momentum takes him beyond Howard who, along with Stones (right) watches it into the net

The ball floats as if in slow motion as Nasri’s momentum takes him beyond Howard who, along with Stones (right) watches it into the net

Nasri has an anxious moment as he waits for his shot to sneak under the crossbar before City's celebrations could commence

Nasri has an anxious moment as he waits for his shot to sneak under the crossbar before City’s celebrations could commence

Despite having a relatively strong game at the back, Stones (right) can only pick the ball out of the back of the net

Despite having a relatively strong game at the back, Stones (right) can only pick the ball out of the back of the net

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

Who is this week’s top commenter?
Find out now