Aston Villa remain in the Premier League relegation zone after Carlos Tevez scored the only goal of the game to give Manchester City a routine victory at Villa Park.
Apart from a spirited opening 20 minutes from Villa the defending champions dominated possession and chances and should have put the game out of sight long before the final whistle.
Villa were ultimately undone by a mistake from Ciaran Clark just before half-time when he was caught in possession by Edin Dzeko who set up Tevez.
With Darren Bent (foot) and Ron Vlaar (calf) still out injured Villa boss Paul Lambert named the same team which produced a gutsy performance in a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
The home side began with real purpose as they pressed City high up the pitch, and Joe Bennett delivered a teasing cross in the seventh minute but Andreas Weimann was unable to get the vital touch.
For all their high-tempo play, Villa’s best opening of the early stages came from a corner in the 21st minute when Charles N’Zogbia picked out Christian Benteke whose bullet header was booted off the line by Tevez.
The chance sparked a response from City on the counter attack shortly afterwards and Jack Rodwell forced Brad Guzan tip to an angled drive over the crossbar.
City were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position in the 31st minute which Villa old boy James Milner curled through a poorl- assembled wall of claret and blue shirts to the near post, but Guzan spotted the danger and got down to save.
The American international then produced two brilliant saves in the space of a few minutes as he made a diving one-handed save from Pablo Zabaleta and then Tevez.
City’s dominance eventually told on the stroke of half-time although the opening goal owed more to sloppy play than brilliance from Roberto Mancini’s side.
Clark received the ball from a throw-in 10 yards in front of his own box and, under pressure from Dzeko, attempted a ‘Cruyff turn’ only to be robbed in possession.
The Ireland centre-back looked for a free-kick but referee Mike Dean waved away the appeals and Dzeko teed up Tevez who produced a cool finish from close range after a drop of the shoulder fooled Guzan.
City almost capitalised on another defensive lapse 10 minutes into the second half when Matthew Lowton was caught by Tevez but subsequently recovered to clear the Argentine’s shot off the line.
Villa offered brief moments of imagination and Kolo Toure did well to outmuscle Gabby Agbonlahor as he battled to get on the end of Weimann’s cross just past the hour mark.
City had the ball in the net again in the 71st minute when Yaya Toure’s shot rebounded back off the post and was finished by Dzeko, but the assistant referee had already raised his flag for offside.
David Silva’s corner picked out Javi Garcia in the 83rd minute but only for the City midfielder to volley the ball wide from a good position.
Villa huffed and puffed in the final stages of the game in search of an equalising but they could not blow the City defence down despite a series of late corners.
By Timothy Abraham