Kolarov and Nasri send Manchester City top in Premier League

AFP , Sunday 23 Aug 2015

Samir Nasri celebrates after scoring the second goal for Manchester City (Photo: Reuters)

Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri earned Manchester City a rare 2-0 success at Everton on Sunday that equalled a club record and sent them top of the Premier League.

City had previously won on only one of their last six trips to Goodison Park -- a crucial victory on their way to their 2014 title success.

Regaining that crown is their goal this season on the back of another close season of heavy spending that could yet be increased if they can persuade Wolfsburg to sell playmaker Kevin De Bruyne.

Manuel Pellegrini's side have made the perfect start to their quest after recording nine successive league wins for the first time since 1912 and ending Everton's unbeaten start in the process.

City were unable to include new £32 million ($50.2 million, 44.5 million euros) signing Nicolas Otamendi in their squad, with the former Valencia defender still to receive a work permit for his move to the Premier League.

Even then, the Argentina international faces a fight to dislodge captain Vincent Kompany or Eliaquim Mangala from a central defensive berth, with the pair again starting in a team that Pellegrini unsurprisingly left unchanged following last week's 3-0 win over Chelsea.

City began in similar style to the way in which they had dismantled the league champions and twice in the opening 10 minutes Tim Howard stopped Everton from going behind by saving with his legs from Sergio Aguero.

David Silva was involved in both openings and the Spaniard worked his magic again as City almost made their positive start pay at the end of a dominant opening quarter of an hour.

Silva outfoxed the Everton defence, but Raheem Sterling was not quick enough to react to a low cross when a goal might have silenced the Everton supporters who booed every early touch from the former Liverpool winger.

Having survived that test, Everton -- knowing that a win would take them to the top of the early league standings -- grew into the game.

- Lukaku clips bar -

Romelu Lukaku correctly had an effort disallowed for offside and Ross Barkley, with two outstanding goals already this season, warmed the palms of City goalkeeper Joe Hart from range.

Defender Phil Jagielka, briefly freed from his responsibilities in partnership with Chelsea transfer target John Stones at the other end, then headed onto the roof of the net from a Tom Cleverley corner.

The home side also squandered two excellent free-kick opportunities, Lukaku clipping the bar from 20 yards from the second in first-half stoppage time.

Everton, with River Plate defender Ramiro Funes Mori watching in the crowd ahead of his anticipated £6 million move to Merseyside, almost rued that miss within two minutes of the restart as again City were quickly into their stride.

This time Sterling provided the opportunity with a clever pass for Silva, who crashed a left-foot shot against a post.

It seemed only a matter of time before a goal, though, and with an hour gone it finally arrived as City pounced on the counter-attack.

Silva's pass to Sterling released the England international, beginning to look the part as a City player following his £49 million switch from Anfield, and when he slipped the ball wide, the over-lapping Kolarov steered a shot past Howard at his near post.

If the Everton goalkeeper was at fault there, he made partial amends moments later as he denied Jesus Navas from close range as City looked to kill the game off.

The visitors were grateful to a goal-line block from Kompany, who kept out a header from former City midfielder Gareth Barry, before finally sealing the win when Nasri played a lovely one-two with Yaya Toure and lifted the ball over Howard with two minutes to go.

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