These two sides may look very different the next time they are in Premier League action but this game enjoyed a familiar scenario and the usual happy ending for the home side.
With four new faces either on the bench or on their way to Manchester in the next ten days or so and seemingly half a bus load heading for Loftus Road, Roberto Mancini and Mark Hughes will both soon have selection decisions to make.
The big difference of course is that, after the international break, Mancini will be going through the gears in pursuit of a second successive domestic title and training his sites on Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid in the interim. His City predecessor Mark Hughes will have less lofty ambitions.
Mancini will be plotting with seven points from a possible nine – a perfectly acceptable haul from the opening three games of the season.
There was never any danger of this game being able to replicate the epic final day emotion of last season – no match could – City were comfortable from first whistle until the hour mark and once Yaya Toure had opened the scoring in the 16th minute the home side were almost in exhibition mode.
Yaya’s shot, after Carlos Tevez’ initial effort had been blocked, carried too much venom for Rob Green who could only help it into the net.
Green, much maligned for his early season performances, was one of the better Rangers performers in the opening half, saving well to his left from David Silva.
There has been much talk about City formations since pre-season and what Mancini may have in mind the future. That didn’t matter a jot here with the home side’s fluidity making the putting of numbers against their shape a complete waste of time and effort.
QPR certainly struggled to work out where the Blues were coming from next. They were frequently penned in and thankful that Boswinga cleared off the line from Edin Dzeko whilst the Blues were occupying a different galaxy in the first half.
The only nagging doubt at the break was that City – not for the first time – had not made the most of their possession and chances. One sensed Mancini would be saying just that in the interval.
City certainly came out with renewed intent in the second period.
Green again saved his side, this time from Tevez, but as feared by the faithful the surprisingly flaky home side conceded the second goal of the game when Zamora headed in from close range after Joe Hart had denied Andrew Johnson.
The tiger’s tail tweaked, City struck back like champions within two minutes when Dzeko nodded in a Tevez cross – he should have scored again later from an angle but guided the ball wide.
The Bosnian was involved again in the third goal deep into injury time. His shot was going well wide of the target when Tevez deflected it home.
The goal may have come a little too late for Mancini’s liking. The Blues ought to have sealed the win long before the 92nd minute.
Still that’s 26 Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium without defeat and no one said a title defence would be a cake walk. Mourinho might well have been contemplating just that from his seat high in the stands.