A confident start from Hull should have been graced by a goal as Sone Aluko exploited some awful defending to burst through one-on-one after seven minutes, but after drawing Joe Hart he poked the ball wide for what was a horrible miss.
While Allan McGregor tipped efforts from Aleksandar Kolarov and Edin Dzeko over the bar, Manchester City were exposed once again when Danny Graham snuck in between Matija Nastasic and Joleon Lescott to poke the ball home – only to be denied, rightly, by an offside flag.
Manuel Pellegrini’s response was to introduce Negredo from the bench at half-time. Within two minutes he headed a golden chance wide, but on 65 minutes did nod home when getting free to meet a gorgeous cross from Pablo Zabaleta.
Then, for the second time in two home games, and in the final minute of normal time, Toure curled home a magnificent free-kick to settle the contest.
Having lost to another promoted side in Cardiff last week this represented improvement, but while Negredo’s 17th goal in his last 16 league games suggests City have recruited a striker of some repute, their defence is in rather less convincing form at present.
PRE-MATCH: Nastasic returns for City – With Vincent Kompany still sidelined due to injury, City’s defensive problems were eased considerably by the return of the young Serb, who had a remarkably assured debut season in the Premier League. Aleksandar Kolarov also replaced Gael Clichy in a second change from the defeat to Cardiff last weekend, while Hull restored their big names after a League Cup win over Leyton Orient.
7’ – HUGE CHANCE FOR HULL: Aluko breaks away from City’s high line, and the guilty Lescott, to race through on goal. As Hart advances he rolls the ball wide when he absolutely had to score.
11’ – GOAL DISALLOWED: Graham has the ball in the back of the net when turning home a Brady cross at full stretch but the striker was offside when nipping in between the two inattentive centre-backs.
15’ – KOREN GOES CLOSE: A Huddlestone free-kick is headed away by the home side but the ball drops for Koren on the edge of the box and he squirts a volley inches wide. What a fantastic effort.
47’ - BIG MISS: Negredo has a golden chance early on as he gets in behind to meet a gorgeous ball over the top from Silva, only to let his eye leave the ball and head so, so wide. Pellegrini is not amused.
65’ – GOAL - Man City 1-0 Hull City: Negredo makes the breakthrough as he gets free at the back post to head in from Zabaleta’s fantastic cross, following some neat link-up play on the right for City.
90’ – GOAL - Man City 2-0 Hull City: Toure steps up to curl a lovely free-kick into the top corner, just out of the reach of McGregor and Elmohamady on the line.
TALKING POINT: Narrow wins carved out despite poor performances might be the hallmark of title-winning teams but this slim victory generated plenty of concern for Manchester City, who defended horribly. The absence of Vincent Kompany is being felt badly and rumours of an imminent deal for Martin Demichelis are hardly encouraging. Pellegrini still has plenty of work to do with his defence if City are to mount a convincing title challenge.
Infostrada: Manchester City have scored two goals from direct free kicks this season – equalling the number they scored in the whole of last season.
Infostrada: Joe Hart played in his 121st Premier League match in a row, the longest running current streak.
@OptaJoe: Only Stefan Kiessling (9) has scored more headed goals than Alvaro Negredo (7) in the top five European leagues since Aug 2012.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Tom Huddlestone (Hull City): Was desperately unlucky to be on the losing side as he helped dominate midfield in the first half and showed some neat touches throughout.
Manchester City: Hart 6, Zabaleta 7, Lescott 5, Nastasic 5, Kolarov 6, Fernandinho 7, Toure 7, Navas 6, Aguero 6, Silva 6, Dzeko 5. Subs: Negredo 7, Nasri 6, Milner 6.
Hull City: McGregor 7, Figueroa 6, Chester 7, Davies 7, Elmohamady 7, Huddlestone 7, Koren 6, Livermore 6, Brady 7, Aluko 5, Graham 6. Subs: Quinn 6, Boyd 6.
MATCH IN A TWEET