Verdict: Manchester City 4 Aston Villa 1

City’s run of good results against Villa continued in what was ultimately a comfortable victory. Mario Balotelli broke the deadlock with a delicious bicycle kick, and another second half blitz was capped by James Milner’s finest goal for the club.

The victory moved City to the top of the Premier League, a fitting reward for the club’s best ever start to a top flight campaign. One difference from last season is how Mancini can rest key players and still get the result. If we’re to mount a title challenge this will be a key factor.

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Player ratings: Manchester City v Aston Villa

Hart – The crucial save from Agbonlahor at 0-0 spared City from a much harder afternoon. Nonchalantly plucked a fierce Warnock drive from the air. 8

Richards (K Toure 64) – Another solid display with an inadvertent assist for the opening goal. It’s to be hoped Micah’s latest injury isn’t serious. 7

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