Manchester City remained within a point of Premier League leaders Manchester United with a good performance and a 2-0 victory at Wigan Athletic.
Second half goals from Mario Balotelli and James Milner were enough to earn the requisite three points for the champions and their unbeaten start to the season goes on.
An evenly contested first half ended goalless with Ali Al-Habsi in the Wigan goal and his City counterpart Joe Hart relatively untroubled. Both sides had their fair share of set piece opportunities but the goalkeepers were not put under significant pressure, with David Silva failing to pick out his team-mates on numerous occasions, to Roberto Mancini’s frustration on the touchline.
But after the break City’s attacking persistence eventually paid off against an under-strength Wigan side as Balotelli gave them the lead in the 69th minute, finishing off at the second attempt from close range - as Al-Habsi first kept out a Gareth Barry effort and then another shot from the Italian striker who finally finished the second rebound.
City's second goal came within three minutes as Silva fed Barry and the England midfielder found his international colleague Milner, who rifled home a wicked right foot shot from the edge of the box.
Sadly for Milner he soon went off with a hamstring injury, to be replaced by Kolo Toure, on a chilly night at the DW Stadium and the former Leeds and Aston Villa man will require a scan to assess the damage. City had struggled in midfield before Milner’s introduction on the hour mark, the Englishman replacing the ineffective Javi Garcia who looked well off the pace.
Wigan posed a threat in attack, especially before they went behind with Arouna Kone and Jordi Gomez creating space and finding themselves with several half chances, as City captain Vincent Kompany and his young central defensive colleague Matija Nastasic were kept on their toes throughout.
Ultimately the Premier League title holders overpowered their neighbours from Lancashire and it was a sixth successive victory for City against Wigan without conceding a goal. That statistic will please Mancini, who celebrated his 48th birthday on Tuesday, as will the fact that they have kept a clean sheet in four of their last five league games.
City face Everton at home in their next fixture on Saturday, before a mouthwatering Manchester derby at home to United on Sunday 9th December, which even at this early stage could have a big impact on the title race, especially given that Chelsea fell further behind the Manchester clubs with a 0-0 draw at home to Fulham earlier in the evening.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Gareth Barry: Manchester City – The England midfielder is back to his best form of last season and his commanding performance at the heart of the Blues’ team helped them to three more points.
WIGAN: Al Habsi 7, Kone 7, McCarthy 7, Jones 7, Di Santo 6, Gomez 6, Boyce 6, Beausejour 6, Stam 7, Lopez 6, Figueroa 6. Subs: McManaman 6, McArthur 6.
MANCHESTER CITY: Hart 7, Maicon 7, Komapny 7, Zabaleta 7, Garcia 5, Aguero 6, Barry 8, Silva 7, Nastasic 7, Y. Toure 7, Balotelli 7. Subs: Milner 7, Kolarov 6, K. Toure 6