If anybody had doubted Manchester City's Premier League pedigree this season, such critics were greeted with a resounding 3-0 result at the Etihad, as the Blues blew away a lacklustre Sunderland side.
It truly was the first game of the current campaign where Roberto Mancini's men have given the type of cold, ruthless performance that saw them win Premier League glory last campaign.
An early free kick from Aleksandar Kolarov put them on their way to victory after only five minutes, before second half strikes from Sergio Aguero and James Milner disposed of Martin O'Neill's rather limp team.
Here are the full player ratings for the men in blue.
Joe Hart: 6
One couldn't really fault the English keeper Saturday, as Sunderland failed to put him under any real pressure. He did make one good stop to palm the ball away from a lurking Stephane Sessegnon at one point, though.
Micah Richards: 7
The young English defender gave a much improved performance in the 3-0 win, marauding forward with great confidence numerous times in the game. Both Maicon and Matija Nastasic will have reason to worry for their places on the team if Richards continues to play like he did Saturday.
Pablo Zabaleta: 6
Another solid, if unspectacular game from the reliable full-back Pablo Zabaleta. He should have scored when fed through on goal in the first half, but the Argentine's shot was straight at Mignolet.
Joleon Lescott: 6
Like Hart, Joleon Lescott had very little to do in his own half for much of the game. He struggled at times with the lively Steven Fletcher, but was ultimately rewarded with a well-deserved clean sheet.
Aleksandar Kolarov: 9
Man of the match by a country mile, Aleksandar Kolarov proved the X-factor for City on numerous occasions. He scored a cracking free kick early in the first half, before setting up Aguero for the Citizens' second. Kolarov also made a goal-saving tackle on Adam Johnson that would have tied things up for Sunderland in the second half.
James Milner: 8
Also terrific, the under-appreciated James Milner played his role in attacking midfield to perfection, often dancing around Sunderland players with the greatest of ease. Milner was perhaps lucky to score from his set-piece, but deserved the deflected goal based on his overall performance over the course of the game.
Gareth Barry: 7
Playing the unfashionable holding-midfield role, Gareth Barry couldn't really be faulted for the way he kept the always dangerous Sessegnon under wraps.
David Silva: 7
The Spaniard David Silva has yet to hit top form this season, but nevertheless showed signs of improvement Saturday. He linked up with Carlos Tevez well, making some terrific passes around the opposition box.
Yaya Toure: 8
Commanding and dominant, midfield powerhouse Yaya Toure continues to stake a claim as one of the best all-around players in the game today. Against Sunderland he knew exactly when to sit back, and exactly when to attack his trembling opposite number. A force to be reckoned with.
Carlos Tevez: 7
Tevez will walk away from the Etihad Saturday perhaps disappointed not to have scored, but should still feel pleased with his effort in a one-sided game. Forget Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell, ensuring Tevez's stay in England will go down as Roberto Mancini's best offseason move.
Mario Balotelli: 5
Oh Mario, why must you frustrate more than you delight? In truth, the Italian striker was poor for much of the game, never looking capable of scoring, and never looking interested unless he was engaging in some verbal jousting with the referee. Very poor decision to walk down the tunnel in a sulk when substituted.
(Sub) Sergio Aguero: 8
Back for City, back firing, the Etihad was delighted to see its hero score the clinching second goal Saturday—just rewards for an enterprising display. His near-telepathic understanding with Carlos Tevez is sure to pay dividends for City down the line.
What did you think of City's win over Sunderland? Who was your man of the match?
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