Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo helped Manchester City get back to winning ways as they came from behind at home to inflict a first league defeat of the season on Everton.
Romelu Lukaku gave the visitors an early lead, but Negredo immediately equalised. Argentine forward Aguero then completed the turnaround before his second half penalty came back off a combination of Tim Howard and the woodwork to seal victory.
City coach Manuel Pellegrini rang the changes, six in all, as he sought a response to back-to-back defeats in the league and Europe. Three alterations came in defence after conceding six goals in two games, and as many in attack.
Pablo Zabaleta, Joleon Lescott and Aleksandar Kolarov returned to the back four. James Milner, David Silva and Negredo, scorer of City’s consolation against Bayern Munich, were also promoted into the XI.
Micah Richards, Jesus Navas, Matija Nastasic, Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko and Gael Clichy all made way after failing to impress in that Champions League defeat. Much-maligned keeper Joe Hart kept his place, however.
Toffees manager Roberto Martinez meanwhile made one enforced change after a breathless first half display against Newcastle on Monday. On-loan midfielder Gareth Barry was ineligible against his parent club, so Steven Naismith came into the side and Leon Osman dropped deeper.
City again started another home game with plenty of composure. They still fell behind, however, on 15 minutes, though threatened through Yaya Toure and a Kolarov free kick first.
Lukaku then sprang the offside for Everton, rode a tame Lescott challenge and the ball squirmed under Hart. This was the big Belgian’s fourth goal in three appearances since joining on loan from Chelsea.
The Toffees led for just 90 seconds. Negredo latched onto Toure’s reverse pass and slotted home beneath the body of Howard to equalise for the hosts. Aguero then spurned another clear sight of goal, dragging wide from a training ground free kick.
Pellegrini lost captain Vincent Kompany after half an hour. Further disruption to the City defence followed and Everton penalty appeals for Kevin Mirallas and Lukaku were ignored. An altercation between Seamus Coleman and Negredo followed at the other end and resulted in a third goal.
Martinez’s men were caught defending deep and Silva slipped in Aguero in the left channel. The Argentine’s lethal finish across Howard completed the turnaround for City on the stroke of half time.
Kolarov, a source of dangerous crosses up from left-back, also had to depart after the break following a collision with his own teammate Nastasic. A head wound requiring stitches thus forced Pellegrini into another defensive change with Clichy on for the final half hour.
Coleman continued to have a torrid time for the Toffees as he pulled Zabaleta back in the box. Referee Jon Moss pointed straight to the spot. Aguero took the penalty, saw Howard tip it onto the post, but the ball rebounded back off his prone body and in.
Pellegrini’s team had a two-goal cushion and 20 minutes to play out in relative comfort. Martinez meanwhile was left to quiz the officials as the Lukaku appeal from the first half looked a similar incident to that awarded to City.
This meeting of two of England’s top seven sides did not disappoint. Hart continues to be under the microscope, though had little difficult work to do after conceding the opener. A rough week ends positively for Pellegrini.
- Man City: 1 Joe Hart, 5 Pablo Zabaleta, 4 Vincent Kompany (c) (33 Matija Nastasic 34’), 6 Joleon Lescott, 13 Aleksandar Kolarov (22 Gael Clichy 58’), 42 Yaya Toure, 25 Fernandinho, 7 James Milner, 16 Sergio Aguero (8 Samir Nasri 79’), 21 David Silva, 9 Alvaro Negredo 4-2-3-1
- Goals: Alvaro Negredo 17’, Sergio Aguero 45’, Tim Howard og 69’
- Everton: 24 Tim Howard, 23 Seamus Coleman, 6 Phil Jagielka (c), 15 Sylvain Distin, 3 Leighton Baines, 16 James McCarthy, 21 Leon Osman (4 Darron Gibson 63’), 11 Kevin Mirallas (10 Gerard Deulofeu 63’), 20 Ross Barkley, 14 Steven Naismith, 17 Romelu Lukaku (9 Arouna Kone 82’) 4-2-3-1
- Goals: Romelu Lukaku 16’