Five goals helped City to a resounding victory at Eastlands...
The Blues were far superior to a beleaguered Black Cats side with goals from Adam Johnson, Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Patrick Vieira and Yaya Toure ensured that Steve Bruce’s side would suffer their sixth defeat in seven matches.
Roberto Mancini made four changes to the squad that lost 2-0 against Chelsea.
The Blues boss elected to play temperamental Italian Mario Balotelli along with Tevez upfront with Johnson and Silva making up the very attacking quartet.
The Spaniard proved to be a constant thorn in the Black Cats defence his movement, light centre of gravity and awareness of players around him gave him the advantage over a lumbering, sluggish Sunderland defence and assisted Tevez for City’s second and rounded off his day by scoring the third.
Gareth Barry was quickly brought down back to earth from being England captain on Tuesday to having to settle for a place on the bench on Sunday and his national counterpart James Milner would also suffer the same fate. But the two central midfielders would not be needed for this match as City dominated the proceedings.
Danny Welbeck would lead the line for the Black Cats but with little success as Vincent Kompany marshalled the youngster out of the game.
And his partner Asamoah Gyan would be looking to continue his great week against Blues goalkeeper Joe Hart having scored a brilliant goal against him in Ghana’s friendly against England midweek but it would be Blues keeper that would come out on top in this one.
Sunderland’s awful record at Eastlands having lost six out of six before this match looked like it was not going to get much better when Johnson found space in the box to slot past Simon Mignolet in goal after only nine minutes.
The midfielder played a lovely one-two with Toure on the right hand side to get past Phil Bardsley, and Johnson controlled the ball expertly before smashing the ball home from inside the box.
It was the start Mancini was looking for as his side could leapfrog Chelsea into third in the Premier League.
And things went from bad to worse for the Wearsiders as Bardsley lunged in on Tevez in the box as he was about to unleash the trigger, referee Howard Webb pointed to the spot .
The Argentine ace dusted himself down and took the resulting penalty placing it nonchalantly to the keeper’s left – Tevez was perhaps a bit too relaxed as Mignolet was unlucky not to keep the ball out getting fingertips to the ball to deflect it in off the post nevertheless it was the striker’s 19th goal of the season.
Twenty-five minutes played and Sunderland were in a complete state of shock having found themselves 2-0 down with less than a quarter of the match gone.
Michael Turner displayed the kind of desperation that had been surging through their team handling the ball needlessly to prevent Balotelli from getting past him giving the hosts a free-kick.
Kolarov stepped up in his trademark way that City fans have become accustomed to and raked a 25 yard stinging left foot drive wide of Mignolet’s goal.
Wave upon wave of Blue continuously bombarded the visitor’s backline and it looked only a matter of time before a third would be added.
Balotelli tried to find the corner of the net from 25 yards out but his tame effort was easily dealt with by Mignolet.
His opposite number Joe Hart remained all but a spectator but 36 minutes in he was awoken up from his slumber as he had to be aware of Gyan’s audacious half volley from just outside the box which had the England No.1 scrambling away to his left.
But that was all that Hart would have to contend with in the first half and indeed in the match.
Man City looked comfortable without really straining themselves. Steve Bruce had a lot of sorting out to do to avoid the Black Cats making it one point in a possible twenty-four.
However in the second half, Silva certainly was not going to make life any easier for the Wearsiders boss as he dinked a lovely ball into Johnson and despite the offside flag going up, Mignolet still made a decent save.
The Blues had livened up again and Balotelli was in the mood to get his name on the score sheet he produced a powerful run to get past Mensah and then fired a shot from a tight angle but again the Sunderland keeper foiled the 20 year old.
Boudejwn Zenden replaced Jordan Henderson on the hour mark, he was ineffective for the most part and the Dutch winger was thrown on to inject a little bit of pace in the visitors midfield perhaps he might have wished to remain on the bench given what was about to unfold.
It was the Spanish magician Silva who put the Black Cats to the sword. Tevez played in Balotelli, his shot was blocked and the winger picked up the loose ball a few yards out to roll it past Mignolet with the outside of his foot.
Johnson was taken off on 65 minutes to a rapturous applause from the home fans and Vieira was introduced and would make an immediate impact sliding in to put the ball into the net despite the best efforts of Mignolet to keep it out.
Balotelli stung the palms of Mignolet moments later as City threatened to run riot.
But if Steve Bruce thought that City were finished there, he was sorely mistaken.
Yaya Toure added a fifth with still 16 minutes remaining taking advantage of a Lee Cattermole error and galloped in between the two Sunderland defenders before dinking it over Mignolet in goal.
Sunderland has a chance of a consolation as substitute Elmohamady rose unmarked in the Blues box but his header was directed wide of Hart’s goal.
Balotelli nearly made it six with a stunning free kick in the dying moments but perhaps Mignolet won this small battle as produced a brilliant save to keep it at five.