City deservedly snatch late win
What happened… City started the game with the zip and creativity that are hallmarks of a Pep Guardiola side but it was Sunderland who almost drew first blood when Patrick van Aanholt fired in a free-kick after two minutes, but Willy Caballero beat the ball away. Two minutes after that, City were ahead as Raheem Sterling drove into the box ands he neatly cut inside, Van Aanholt took his legs and the referee pointed the spot.
Sergio Aguero dispatched the penalty to give the Blues the perfect start.Nolito and Kevin De Bruyne fired long-range efforts just wide and moments before the break, Caballero made an excellent reflex save from Jermaine Defoe.
Sterling was causing problems down either flank and almost created a second for David Silva but the shot was blocked. Sunderland, pinned back for the majority of the game as they defended in numbers, cut through the City defence on 71 minutes and Defoe's low shot gave the visitors an equaliser that few saw coming.
In the dying stages, the Blues got the break they deserved as Jesus Navas' cross was turned in to his own goal by former United defender Paddy McNair to ensure Pep's first home game ended in victory.
Initially, it looked as though Defoe's equaliser was the moment that changed everything - the former England striker fed on scraps throughout the game but was a threat throughout.However,
Navas' dangerous cross left McNair with little alternative but to make some form of contact with Fabian Delph - who claims the ball brushed his shoulder - lurking behind.
Man of the Match
Sterling was excellent throughout, making one goal and creating a host of other chances. Full of confidence and invention, he looks like he will enjoy playing under Guardiola. Honourable mentons must go to Aleks Kolarov - superb in the latter stages in particular - and John Stones who was coolness personified on his City debut.
How they lined up…
Willy Caballero got the nod over Joe Hart for the opening game of the season. John Stones made his City debut with Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero joining our other debutant Nolito up front - though the formation changed constantly.
Fernandinho slipped in alongside Stones, though Aleks Kolarov regularly moved across when the Blues were in possession. With David Silva named skipper and Kevin De Bruyne playing behind Aguero, the movement was fluid and difficult for Sunderland to track.
What it Means…
The win points City joint top - for now! Guardiola will have learned more about his team and what works and what doesn't, but overall, the movement and invention was impressive, as was the belief which was vital in the closing stages.
Stats and Milestones…
Fernandinho made his 100th Premier League appearance against Sunderland. Jesus Navas also celebrated a centenary of Premier League games for the Blues when he came on as a second-half sub.
David Silva captained City for the first time since December 2015 when he led the team out against Hull City in the Capital One Cup.
Man City (2): Caballero, Sagna, Stones, Kolarov, Clichy (Iheanacho, 80'), Fernandinho, Silva (Delph, 64'), Nolito (Navas, 59'), De Bruyne, Sterling y Agüero.
Sunderland (1): Mannone, Love, Van Aanholt, Kaboul, Kone, O¿Shea, Rodwell, Gooch (Khazri, 65'), Watmore (Januzaj, 65'), Borini y Defoe (McNair, 83').
Goals: Aguero 4 min (penalty), Defoe 70; Mc Nair 41
Referee: Robert Madley. Bookings: Kolarov/Gooch y Love.