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.