From those Noisy Neighbours the silence was deafening, the defence of their title finally disintegrating with a lack of class on the field and off it. Roberto Mancini, normally so vocal, had nothing to say after a deserved defeat to 10-man Everton left his expensive Manchester City team 15 points behind their Mancunian rivals and under pressure to hang on to second place in the Premier League. Mancini ducked his post-match media obligations, leaving it to his assistant, David Platt, to talk about the need to "win football matches". Not for nothing is he known to the press corps as David Platitude.
The contrast between City and Everton was immense. The previous week David Moyes's team had humiliated him in losing 3-0 at home to Wigan in the FA Cup, yet he never considered swerving the media and answered every question frankly, no matter how embarrassing. After eight days of recriminations and downright unpopularity, here was resounding proof that his renowned powers of motivation remained undiminished as he celebrated his 11th anniversary in the job with an outstanding victory that was cheered to Goodison's old rafters.
It will take Mancini rather longer to regain lost respect, and he may not have the time. City are hardly known for their patience – ask Mark Hughes or Sven-Goran Eriksson – and are entitled to expect sustained success, rather than a flash in the pan, in return for their colossal investment.
City looked anything but defending champions, outplayed when Everton had a full complement and outfought when the home side were depleted by the 61st-minute dismissal of Steven Pienaar for the second of two yellow-card challenges. It spoke volumes that the man of the match against Mancini's overpriced millionaires was Seamus Coleman, a full-back who cost £60,000 from Sligo Rovers. The Irishman was everything Carlo Tevez, Edin Dzeko and David Silva were not – willing, determined and full of purposeful, incisive running.
In mitigation, City were without three important players in Vincent Kompany, Yaya Touré and Sergio Agüero, but Everton were missing Tim Howard, Tony Hibbert and Phil Jagielka, and lack their wealthy opponents' strength in depth.
Back to their combative best after the previous week's aberration, Moyes's team should have had an early lead when Kevin Mirallas had a goal disallowed for an incorrect offside call. When they did score, in the 32nd minute, it was with a 20-yard beauty from Leon Osman, whose left-foot shot curled away from Joe Hart to nestle inside his right-hand post.
Pienaar's red card, for a raking lunge at Javi García, changed the complexion of the game but not the outcome. Everton were left in backs-to-the-wall mode but their defence bordered on the heroic, with the reserve goalkeeper, Jan Mucha, distinguishing himself with a stunning double save to deny Tevez and James Milner and then another intervention from the top drawer to thwart Pablo Zabaleta close in.
Defiance had handsome reward in stoppage time when a breakaway orchestrated by Marouane Fellaini ended with Nikica Jelavic, on as a substitute, thumping home the second goal from just outside the penalty area. "It was a really big game for us‚" Moyes said. "I sensed people were questioning a lot of things and were ready to turn on us so we needed that win. Everything seemed to come to a head last week.
"For some reason they thought my [contractual] position was the reason for that result. So is my position now the reason for this result? I feel as good about it as I did 11 years ago, when I won my first game here, against Fulham. We have beaten the champions to try to get into the Champions League."
Man of the match Seamus Coleman (Everton)