Verdict: Manchester City 2 Everton 0

City secured victory over Everton thanks to goals from substitutes Mario Balotelli and James Milner. Given the resolute defending on show and our recent struggles against David Moyes’ side, this felt like a hugely significant result.

Everton were set up much like they were in December 2008, without a striker and offering nothing but frustration to City’s attempts to gain a breakthrough. On that occasion Tim Cahill popped up to score a 90th minute winner. This time City’s superior skill and discipline eventually told, giving further credence to the idea that Roberto Mancini’s side are set for greater things.

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Player ratings: Manchester City v Everton

Hart – Dealt well enough with corners, got away with a last minute mix-up with Lescott and that was about all he had to do. 7

Richards – Stood up well to the attentions of Everton’s battlers and sought to make the breakthrough with a couple of surging runs. 7

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