City stays unbeaten, goes top with win over Villa

Manchester City stayed unbeaten and moved top of the Premier

League with a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday.

Mario Balotelli opened the scoring in the 28th minute and Adam

Johnson, Vincent Kompany and James Milner added second-half goals

at Eastlands, where the hosts conceded for the first time this

season when Stephen Warnock scored in the 65th minute.

Manchester City moved two points clear of city rival and

defending champion Manchester United after the victory.

City again shrugged off the drama surrounding Carlos Tevez’s

future with the club and manager Roberto Mancini confined striker

Edin Dzeko to the bench for the second straight match.

Balotelli scored for the fourth successive game when the Italy

striker struck an overhead bicycle kick for an impressive opener as

the Italy striker led the attack with Argentina striker Sergio

Aguero also out with an injury.

”I hope that Mario will continue like this,” Mancini said.

”He’s an important player.”

Johnson beat goalkeeper Shay Given with a long-range shot two

minutes after the restart before Kompany made it 3-0 in the 52nd by

heading Johnson’s corner beyond the reach of the former City

goalkeeper.

Warnock pulled one back for Villa before Milner unleashed a

swerving drive from 20 meters (yards) out to beat Given.

Tevez faces a club disciplinary hearing after apparently

refusing to come off the substitutes bench in a loss at Bayern

Munich. Bosnia-Herzegovina striker Dzeko hasn’t featured since his

public display of dissatisfaction with being taken off during that

same Champions League game last month.

Mancini said the preceding international break forced him to

rotate the lineup, with France playmaker Samir Nasri never coming

off the bench.

”There are players that arrived two days before the game and

they were really tired so it was important that they rest,”

Mancini said.

Aston Villa has 11 points following its first loss of the

season.