Last season this game provided a point that helped with the Premier League title, this time around it proved a point.
The naysayers who spent the previous 48 hours picking over a disappointing performance and result against an excellent German side Borussia Dortmund may have to re-assess again.
Reports of the Blues’ fall from grace are greatly exaggerated.
Roberto Mancini’s champions came into this match still unbeaten in the EPL and with their sights set on a top four place going into the latest international break.
Goals from Aleks Kolarov, Sergio Aguero and James Milner ensured that the Blues now have two more points in the bag than they did from last season’s identical seven fixtures – and a first clean sheet of the campaign.
And they won despite the absence through a calf injury of influential skipper Vincent Kompany. Both he and Matija Nastasic were absent leaving another new look defensive back line containing fit again Micah Richards. How the Blues have missed his effervescence and forward drive – not to mention defending.
Having been a bit of jinx to City last season, the Black Cats left with tails firmly between their legs this time around.
Even the presence of Adam Johnson in the visiting side – he was afforded a warm welcome from the stands – failed to spark the visitors who fell behind in only the fourth minute.
Carlos Cuellar was the culprit dragging down Carlos Tevez in full flight on the edge of the box and he was then punished in the best way possible as Aleks Kolarov hammered home a trademark free kick. Cuellar was also booked.
It might have been 2-0 half way through the opening forty-five minutes but keeper Simon Mignolet, left grasping fresh when Kolarov produced his party trick, saved superbly from point blank range when Pablo Zabaleta threatened.
Joe Hart, meanwhile, must have wondered what was going on. Having never been out of the action in the midweek Champions League game, he was hardly in it at all in the autumnal sunshine. One of the reasons being the form of Lescott and Richards at the back.
Richards second half block when Steven Fletcher looked set to score exemplified his performance. He almost scored too but Rose cleared off the line and Mignolet made a fine diving save from a powerful 57th minute header.
The rhythm of the second half was much the same as the first with the home side largely dominant but the Black Cats always carrying a nagging threat of an equaliser.
The second goal was always going to be important and it fell City’s way. Sergio Aguero had been on the pitch only four minutes in place of Mario Balotelli when he made the perfect run and met the perfect cross from Kolarov to score from close range.
It might have been three in the 60th minute but David Silva chipped against the bar after he’d been set up by the tireless Tevez but by then Sunderland were demoralised and beaten and the impressive Richards was even pulling off over head kicks and step overs close to their box.
More goals seemed inevitable and a third duly arrived shortly before the final whistle courtesy of James Milner who spotted a gap and fired home a free kick.
A great way to head into a break.