City suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Stoke after a frustrating afternoon at the Etihad Stadium.
The visitors repelled constant pressure from the champions and stole the points with a goal on the break after 57 minutes with Mame Diouf racing more than 60 yards to stun the home support and give the Potters their first top-flight win at City since 1980.
On the back of tricky encounters with Newcastle and Liverpool, City were looking to continue their fine start to the season against a Stoke side who had lost their last six games at the Etihad Stadium.
In fact, the Potters arrived having never managed to score a goal in this fixture since the move from Maine Road in 2003, so with recent history in mind, this would probably have been a fixture Manuel Pellegrini would have chosen if he could.
As expected, the Chilean made a few changes to the side that beat Liverpool 3-1 with Bacary Sagna making his debut at the expense of Pablo Zabaleta, Aleks Kolarov replacing Gael Clichy and Sergio Aguero given the nod ahead of Edin Dzeko
...City 0 Stoke 1...
While Stoke were never going to approach this game with a gung-ho attitude, their smothering defensive tactics contributed largely to a first-half that was as dull as dishwater.
The champions toiled away with fluid movement and passing, but there was no way through the wall of red and white striped shirts who dutifully parked in and around the box each time the hosts probed forward.
In fact, it wasn’t until first-half injury time that City almost breached the Potters’ defence with Yaya Toure striking the crossbar from six yards out after fine work from Sergio Aguero and Kolarov – but other than that the excitement had been virtually nil.
Pellegrini’s men needed a break – a quick counterattack or a flash of inspiration from any of the stellar talents in sky blue to lift the game and the crowd who were in danger of drifting into an afternoon snooze
...City 0 Stoke 1...
City attempted to up the ante with Yaya Toure again going close with a rasping shot ten minutes into the second period, only to be denied by a fine Asmir Begovic save and then, a couple of minutes later the visitors stunned the Etihad with a breakaway goal that had neither been on the cards or, at that stage, deserved.
There seemed little danger when Diouf collected the ball deep in his own half, but as he powered forward with Kolarov unable to catch him, he continued unchallenged into the City box before hitting a low drive through Hart’s legs for a historic first for the visitors.
It had been almost 35 years since the champions had suffered a top-flight defeat to the Potters, but suddenly it looked as though that’s exactly what was on the cards as a frustrated City appeared to run out of ideas – maybe it was just going to be one of those days.
The hosts laboured on - with loud appeals for a penalty waved away when Yaya Toure appeared to be fouled in the box in the dying minutes - but ultimately just couldn’t find a way back into the game with the Stoke defence resolute and buoyed by the goal.
The champions' approach play had been too predictable on the day and the Potters held on for a victory they probably just about deserved in the end, while City were left to mull over a very bad day at the office.