FULL TIME: Manchester City 3-1 Everton
Nasri is denied by Howard from close range at the death, and that's that. So there goes that final unbeaten Premier League record. City deserved the victory, having turned on the burners just before half time and refusing to turn round for a glance back. But Everton will take heart from another decent, occasionally very pretty, performance. And may not be totally happy with the consistency of refereeing either, Lukaku unsuccessfully claiming for the sort of penalty gifted to Zabaleta later on. But them's the breaks. City rise to second, for a couple of hours at the very least, while Everton remain in fifth, the same early-kick-off conditions applying.
90 min +2: Kone sends a pearoller in the general direction of Hart, who gathers the confidence booster.
90 min: There will be four added minutes of this.
89 min: Fernandinho is booked for a light nudge on Coleman. Referee's pocket as toaster, to channel the spirit of Kevin Keegan circa 1994.
87 min: Naismith is booked for ensuring Toure's coupon meets the turf. "Are Everton contractually obliged to wear those lime green boots?" asks Dan Lucas. "It's like a Stone Roses gig out there."
85 min: Fernandinho embarks on a baroque ramble down the right. He reaches the byline, then checks back to open up Everton. Shooting's too base, it would seem, so he opts to jiggle around for a bit instead. Whoosh! There goes that chance!
84 min: Zabaleta whips a low ball through the six-yard area from the right. There's nobody on hand to convert the gimme. "Is today when Gooners get to celebrate Saint Invincible's Day?" wonders Fintan Beirne, who has perhaps understandably ruled out the chance of a two-goal Everton comeback.
82 min: Kone comes on for Lukaku, who has been extremely quiet since the interval.
81 min: Nasri slips Negredo clear down the left. The striker skelps a shot straight at Howard. City come again, Milner sliding a pass down the same channel for the same striker, who is offside this time.
80 min: Coleman is booked for a late flip on Silva.
79 min: One-and-a-half-goal-hero Aguero is replaced by Nasri.
78 min: Zabaleta is booked for a late slide on Baines, as the Everton full back looks to skip past along the left. Deulofeu's rolled pass into that space was perfectly weighted, inviting Baines to make the run. He looks a player. From the free kick, McCarthy's header from the edge of the box is helped on by Distin but claimed with ease by Hart.
75 min: Negredo takes down a long rake and bombs into the Everton area from the left. He cuts past Jagielka, but as he cocks back his leg to shoot, McCarthy slides in to block. Magnificent challenge. That would have put City out of range.
74 min: Silva is booked for his fifth or sixth light nudge of the afternoon.
73 min: The only unbeaten record in the Premier League looks in severe danger now. Deulofeu looks to get something going upfield for Everton, but his combination with Naismith doesn't come off down the inside right.
GOAL!!! Manchester City 3-1 Everton (Howard og 70)
... the ball then hits the back of Howard, who had guessed the correct way, and rebounds into the net! Shades of France-Brazil at the 1986 World Cup. So unfortunate for the keeper. Howard, along with Distin, has also been booked for arguing the toss about the initial decision, too, which adds insult to injury.
69 min: PENALTY TO CITY!!! Zabaleta is released into the area down the right. He's tugged back lightly by Coleman, and decides to go over instead of taking a shot. Aguero steps up and hits the right-hand post! But ...
68 min: Aguero chases a long punt down the middle, and forces Distin to pile the ball out for a corner on the right. Nothing comes from the set piece. Everton clear upfield. But City soon come back at Everton and ...
66 min: Clichy wins a corner down the left for City. It's a slightly disappointing reward, as he was in acres and allowed Coleman to close him down. Nothing comes of the set piece. Zabaleta trots back onto the field.
65 min: It's Zabaleta's turn to go off with blood spurting from his grid. This game has almost totally ground to a halt.
63 min: A double change by Everton. Osman and Mirallas are replaced by Gibson and Deulofeu.
62 min: Silva embarks on a curling run down the right. Cutting back upfield, he one-twos with Toure then nearly releases Zabaleta with an exquisite reverse pass. City were very close to opening Everton up again there.
60 min: The first lull of the match. Bah.
58 min: Clichy comes on for Kolarov. The talk is that Kolarov could have continued after the stitches, but City weren't prepared to take the risk by waiting for the repairs to be made.
55 min: Ooyah, oof. Naismith, chasing towards the City area just behind Kolarov, shoves the City player in the back. Kolarov clatters into his own man, Nastasic, taking an elbow to the eye socket. Out comes a spectacular spray of blood. He'll need to go off for stitches. He doesn't look too happy with Naismith, which is understandable enough, though there didn't seem to be much bad intent in Naismith's challenge, which was a common-or-garden foul.
54 min: Toure finds the top-left of the stand behind the Everton goal. That's about as bad as it gets.
52 min: Everton aren't taking it lying down, though. Barkley doesn't have much time or space in the middle of the City half, but he nevertheless manages to sliderule a pass down the right-hand channel to release Mirallas into the area. There's a joule too much of energy on the pass, and Mirallas can't control to get a shot away, but that was nearly brilliant from the young Barkley, who prised open a City defence that had done little wrong.
50 min: City are turning the screw. First Negredo nearly finds Aguero in the centre with a low cross - Jagielka hacks clear - then Milner's whipped ball from the same wing forces Distin to blooter out for a corner. Nothing comes from the set piece, but the home side have flown out of the traps since the restart.
47 min: And it looks like being more of the same by both teams, which is great news. First Lukaku pressurises Hart down the right, the keeper showing good feet to get himself out of trouble. Then Kolarov fires a low ball through the area from the left. Finally Silva goes on an elaborate dance down the right channel and into the area, his low cross toe-poked away from the free Aguero, preparing to strike, by Coleman at the last. Marvellous stuff by both sides.
And we're off again! City get the ball rolling. Meantime, the GPO sport channel has been showing Milner's lunge on McCarthy again. The City man can count himself lucky he wasn't sent off. He came in off the ground, and therefore out of control, inches away from scissoring the Everton midfielder around the ankle. McCarthy's very lucky not to be seriously injured there.
HALF-TIME ENTERTAINMENT: Such a shame City's training-ground free kick didn't end in a goal for the ages. In lieu of well-worked set piece action, here's Norman Whiteside circa 1986 (around 2min 20sec if the link doesn't take you there immediately) ...
... and a wee bit of Argentine brilliance from 1998. Everyone enjoys Argentina and Manchester United, we're really playing to the gallery here.
HALF TIME: Manchester City 2-1 Everton
The last action of the half sees Milner booked for a late lunge on McCarthy, who stays down awhile. And that's that for a magnificently entertaining first half. Everton were probably the better side for the opening 44 minutes, but could easily have been 3-1 down were it not for the excellence of their captain. City suddenly came to life at the end of that half, and will be in a great frame of mind when they come out. This could be a cracker. We're already halfway there.
45 min +2: A superlative last-ditch tackle by Jagielka stops Aguero as he prepares to pull the trigger, chasing after a long ball down the inside left. That stopped a certain goal, a wonderfully timed intervention, especially so as it was just inside the area.
GOAL!!! Manchester City 2-1 Everton (Aguero 45)
Coleman and Negredo go nose to nose, handbaggery which began when the two came together on the edge of the area. Howard is forced to come out and separate the pair. It all means Everton's defence is set very deep, so when City come back at them, there's trouble at mill. Silva strokes a pass down the right channel, Aguero tears into the area a step ahead of Distin, and the striker whacks a low shot across Howard and into the bottom left. What a finish! Expect the young full-back to be at the centre of a full and frank debate in the Everton dressing room during half time.
42 min: Lukaku chases a ball towards the byline to the left of the City goal. He's unceremoniously shoved in the back by Nastasic. That could quite easily have been a penalty, and a totally needless one at that. The referee, who was quite happy to make the big decisions at Old Trafford a couple of weeks ago to the detriment of Crystal Palace, keeps his whistle well away from his mouth today. Probably wisely in this instance, though you'll have seen them given by this referee for less.
40 min: Negredo flicks a ball towards Aguero, in space on the edge of the Everton D. Caught in between three or four minds, he attempts to flick the thing goalwards with the outside of his left boot, and falls over instead of making contact. Not sure whether he was trying a snap shot, or looking to round Jagiekla. It wasn't very good, whatever it was.
38 min: Naismith jinks into the area from the left, and clatters into Nastasic. He looks for a penalty, but behave. Soon after, Coleman whips the ball away from Kolarov down the right with embarrassing ease, then slides Barkley away on a dangerous run. He reaches the area but hesitates, and is robbed by Nastasic. Everton are giving as good as they're getting, here, in fact are arguably shading it.
36 min: Kolarov drops a shoulder down the left, then whips a stunning cross through the Everton six-yard box. Luckily for the away side, nobody from either side touches the thing, and it wheechs away to safety.
35 min: Nastasic replaces Kompany, who shuffles off shaking his head, laid low by what looks like hip knack but in all honesty could be anything writes Guardian quack Dr Murray.
32 min: Corner for City, from which Barkely streams upfield with great determination. City are all over the shop at the back, and very light on bodies to boot, so they breathe again as the young Evertonian fails to release his pass in time and Mirallas is caught offside down the left, just as he looks to break into the box. This Everton side are wonderful to watch, which is something we've not said for quite a few years.
29 min: Brilliant save by Hart. Barkley diddles down the inside right, then chips a reverse pass onto the head of Mirallas, on the edge of the box in the middle. Mirallas guides a header towards the bottom right, but the keeper is down quickly to parry clear. It only registers 2.3 on the Guardian's patented Gordonbanksometer - the flag was up for offside, for a start - but the keeper wasn't to know that, and that'll give Hart succour.
26 min: Kolarov approaches the Everton area down the left with extreme prejudice. He's bundled over by Mirallas. Free kick, in a very dangerous position. And what a stunning set piece! Fernandinho shapes to shoot, but springs a surprise by sliding the ball across to Silva, on the edge of the D. Silva slides an instant ball down the inside-left channel to release Aguero in the area. He's got time to open up his body and aim for the bottom right. He beats Howard, but beats the right-hand post, too. That has to go down as a miss, and such a shame, because that would have been some training-ground set-piece.
23 min: Kompany is booked for a cynical check on Lukaku, as the striker looks to make some ground down the right.
21 min: This is a brilliantly open game, with both defences an absolute shambles. Barkley shapes to shoot but slips over on the edge of the City area, and by flopping on the ball, stops any of his team-mates taking a snap shot themselves. City zip up the other end, and soon enough Milner is hitting the right-hand post from a tight angle, his dinked cross deflecting off McCarthy. Nothing occurs from the resulting corner. But this is good old-fashioned entertainment.
20 min: Everton win themselves a corner down the right. Baines whips it into the six-yard box, putting more pressure on Hart, who punches sideways but is rescued by the referee, who penalises the nearby Barkley for nix.
AN INSTANT REPLY!!! Manchester City 1-1 Everton (Negredo 17)
Everton are found asleep at the back again! Toure slips a ball down the inside left for Negredo, who hammers his shot right through and under Howard. That's not brilliant keeping either, but Howard hasn't been the one throwing them in this season, and it'll be the City keeper whose mistake is highlighted more. Way of modern society.
GOAL!!! Manchester City 0-1 Everton (Lukaku 16)
Coleman hoicks a long free kick down the right. Lukaku springs the offside trap, opens his body, and hammers a shot straight at Hart. The keeper lets the effort bend his hand back, and it flies into the net. A decent finish, but that's more dismal keeping from Hart.
14 min: Some lovely triangulation down the inside left by City, Kolarov, Toure and Aguero nearly working an opening in the box before over-elaborating. Zabaleta tries to power through down the right but is crowded out. Everton sweep up the other end, Naismith trundling a ball down the right channel for Lukaku. Hart appears to have it covered, but is caught rocking back on his heels and nearly lets the striker in. Lukaku shoots from a tight angle, but in fairness to the keeper, he saves well, sticking out a strong hand. The referee gives a goal kick, which robs Everton. Never mind, though, because...
12 min: Toure feeds Kolarov down the left. Coleman is across to block out the resulting cross for a corner. A near-post set piece is whipped onto the head of Kolarov, who sends a powerful header wide left and high. A let off for Everton, who fell asleep in defence there.
10 min: A fairly subdued atmosphere in the stadium, the fans possibly still stunned after seeing their side thoroughly worked over during the week by the European champions. Not a whole lot going on to lift their mood.
7 min: Aguero is sort-of upended by Distin to the right of the Everton D. Free kick, albeit quite a soft one. Kolarov whips the ball into the side netting. Howard had it covered. The crowd in the opposite stand momentarily celebrate a goal, perspective very much their enemy, before realising how things have actually panned out. At least they've had something to cheer, whatever happens.
5 min: Good work by Zabaleta down the right, bustling away in the 'Irritant' style. The ball's worked into the centre for Toure, who looks for the bottom right from the edge of the D. Howard pushes the ball round the post, although not in particularly convincing fashion. Nothing comes of the corner other than an Everton break upfield, with Mirallas in acres down the left. The winger looks for Lukaku in space on the edge of the City area, but his cross is woeful and easily cut out by Kompany.
3 min: This is a bright start by Everton, who probe down the right, albeit without causing any serious bother. City haven't touched the ball yet, not in any meaningful sense anyway. Here's Gary Naylor of Everton fame: "After this start, if we lose today I'm starting a petition to return to the previous crest. On a slightly more serious note, I enjoy the stars above a crest to show World Cup wins or European Cup wins, so, if a satellite dish is the obvious symbol for each Premier League win, what would work for a First Division title? An old casey ball perhaps?" City insist their stars are there for purely decorative purposes, don't they? Presumably to take one's mind off the dubious 1930s-style symbolism below. But if you're looking for something to represent old-school First Division championships, how about little packets of cigarettes, plates of steak and chips, or large tumblers of restorative half-time brandy?
Everton kick off!!! Sadly for fans of slapstick and sadism, they don't test out Hart with a first-time hoof upfield. But he is out off his line within the first 17 seconds as Lukaku scampers after a Barkley pass down the left channel. He smothers well, and that early touch will do him no harm whatsoever.
The teams are out, right here, right now. City in their beautiful powder blue, Everton in their gorgeous dark blue. It's an aesthetic pleasure, this match, albeit one that'll be a pain for those watching in black and white. They still exist, right? "I agree with you, on a humanistic level, about Joe Hart, but," begins notorious sadist Steven Hughes, "if Everton kick-off first, wouldn't they need a will of iron not to tap the ball for another player to then smash it towards Hart's goal straight away? Everton might get lucky; they might give Hart some early practice; they might trouble the corner flag but they would definitely send him an early we-think-you're-the-weak-spot message which would exacerbate the doubts that must be churning around in his dome." It'd also be the kind of outrageous insult that would get the dander up, and the red mist down, of a proud man like Hart. Carnage would surely be odds-on; whether it'd manifest itself in egregious netminding or a hot-faced 21-man brawl is another argument. Come on, referee, fix the pre-match coin toss and let Everton do their worst.
Cast and crew
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, Toure, Fernandinho, Milner, Aguero, Silva, Negredo.
Subs: Richards, Nasri, Dzeko, Jesus Navas, Clichy, Pantilimon, Nastasic.
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, McCarthy, Osman, Mirallas, Barkley, Naismith, Lukaku.
Subs: Robles, Gibson, Heitinga, Jelavic, Kone, Deulofeu, Stones.
Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)
It's looking like a good week for Everton. On Monday evening, it took them all of 37 minutes to beat Newcastle United. Yesterday, they unveiled a new "modern" crest which looks exactly the same as the one designed by club secretary Theo Kelly in 1938. Still, it's popular. And today, they face Manchester City, at the City of Manchester Stadium, where they've won on four of their last six visits, and as the only unbeaten team left in the Premier League, have a fair chance of getting a little something today.
It's not been such a good one for City, though. Joe Hart. Let's just leave it there, and not riff on the poor bugger's pain.
Kick off: 12.45pm.