The last unbeaten record in the Premier League has fallen, and Manchester City have officially bounced back from disappointment at the hands of Aston Villa and Bayern Munich. Despite going down 1-0 to Everton in the 16th minute, the title favourites stormed back with three straight goals to grab the points at the Etihad Stadium.
Whatever the first half was, it wasn't boring. Both sides came flying out of the blocks, and it didn't take long for the opener to arrive. After pressure from Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov at one end of the pitch, it was a bit of a shock that it was the visitors who scored first, but that's the sort of thing that happens when you're playing against a team with Romelu Lukaku in it. The young striker raced onto a through ball from Phil Jagielka, turned Joleon Lescott inside out and fired in off Joe Hart to make it 1-0.
Everton's lead would last less than a minute. David Silva linked up with Toure, and the Ivorian drew out a cloud of defenders before slipping the ball to Negredo on the left. The former Sevilla man's shot might have been saved by Tim Howard, but instead his touch simply slowed it down on its way to the back of the net. The equaliser sparked some furious play from City, with James Milner forcing James McCarthy to deflect a shot onto his own post before Sergio Aguero rolled a shot agonisingly wide of Howard's far post after a well-worked corner kick routine.
But then the injury bug struck. Vincent Kompany wasn't having his best day -- earlier, he'd been booked for a foul on Lukaku after being thoroughly beaten by the big striker -- and it got worse when he picked up what looked like a hamstring injury, tried to play through it and was eventually forced off for Matija Nastasic with 34 minutes gone. The substitute was almost immediately involved in a pair of penalty shots, with first Steven Naismith then Lukaku going down in the box after robust challenges from the Serbian.
It was a City penalty appeal, however, which led to the hosts pulling ahead. Seamus Coleman and Negredo clashed at the top of the Everton box, and were still going after one another when the ball was cleared, distracting the Toffees defence enough for Silva to slip in Aguero on the right. Aguero hadn't been having a strong game, but he made up for it with a sweet finish, sweeping in first time to make it 2-1 right on the stroke of halftime.
Unsurprisingly, the second half wasn't played at nearly the same speed. City were ahead and slowly tightened the noose, stifling most of Everton's attack and choking them out of the game. An injury to Kolarov after Naismith shoved the left back into Nastasic slowed them down, but only briefly, and they went 3-1 up thanks to a dubious penalty decision.
Pablo Zabaleta and Coleman clashed in the box, and the City man went down rather too easily. However, Jonathan Moss bought the dive and pointed to the spot. Aguero stepped up, and although Howard guessed the right way and made the initial stop, the ball bounced off the post, hit the goalkeeper in the head and trickled over the line.
With that, all that was left was some mopping up, and despite all the huffing and puffing in the opening period, the hosts handled that without anything like a problem.
Manchester City starting lineup (4-4-2): Joe Hart; Aleksandar Kolarov (Gael Clichy 58'), Joleon Lescott, Vincent Kompany (Matija Nastasic 34'), Pablo Zabaleta; David Silva, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, James Milner; Sergio Aguero (Samir Nasri 78'), Alvaro Negredo.
Goals: Negredo 17', Aguero 45', Howard 69' (og).
Everton starting lineup (4-4-1-1): Tim Howard; Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin, Seamus Coleman; Steven Naismith, James McCarthy, Leon Osman (Darron Gibson 63'), Kevin Mirallas (Gerard Deulofeu 63'); Ross Barkley; Romelu Lukaku (Arouna Kone 82').
Goals: Lukaku 16'.