Kyle Walker's scored his first Manchester City goal in sensational fashion to hand the Premier League champions a hard-fought 2-1 win over Newcastle United.
Raheem Sterling's clinically taken opener in the eighth minute suggested a romp in line with City's 6-1 thumping of Huddersfield Town in their previous home game.
But Pep Guardiola's side switched off defensively and DeAndre Yedlin was rewarded for a lung-bursting run when Salomon Rondon picked him out to level with half an hour played.
It fell to England right-back Walker, who failed to find the net as City racked up points and goals records last season, to step forward with long-range stunner and ensure the 10th anniversary of Sheikh Mansour's takeover was celebrated with a victory.
Newcastle undermined their bid to stifle City during the opening stages by carelessly coughing up possession in dangerous areas.
Riyad Mahrez was unable to punish Salomon Rondon's slackness but, when returning Magpies captain Jamaal Lascelles passed straight to Benjamin Mendy, the full-back found Sterling to cut inside for an emphatic finish.
Gabriel Jesus passed up two clear chances to increase City's advantage and there was an air of complacency when their disorganised backline allowed Rondon to slide a fine cross into the path of the rampaging Yedlin to equalise.
The game resumed its pattern early in the second half until a darting dribble from Sterling created the opening for Walker to crash home his rasping 30 yarder eight minutes before the hour.
Both goalkeepers excelled in the 65th minute as City's Ederson picked out substitute Bernardo Silva with a clever underarm throw.
Bernardo Silva sent a delightful pass to Sergio Aguero and his cross saw Martin Dubravka make a remarkable point-blank saves from Fernandinho before twice denying David Silva on the rebound.
Dubravka excelled himself again in stoppage time, driving Sergio Aguero wide to deny City's all-time top score his 15th Premier League goal against Newcastle.
What it means: City stay in touch with pacesetters
These are very early days in City's title defence but falling four points behind Liverpool and Chelsea after four games was a mildly alarming prospect Guardiola's team were able to avert, following the 1-1 draw at Wolves last time out. Newcastle lie third bottom with a solitary point but encounters with Tottenham and Chelsea have also featured in a brutal opening
Pat on the back: Salomon on song
Venezuela international Rondon was handed a thankless task as Newcastle's attacking spearhead but went about his work with gusto. The physical battle with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte was one to relish and some wonderfully astute play created Yedlin's goal. He deserves a couple of easier and more rewarding outings against opponents that will draw more ambition out of Rafael Benitez.
Boot up the backside: Jesus passes over more chances
Like Sterling, Jesus endured a goal-less World Cup. Unlike his City team-mate the Brazil striker has not picked up the baton at club level so effortlessly. His tame finish after a clever turn inside two challenges and a misjudged free header during the first-half spoke of low confidence levels.
After the international break, City are back on home turf against Fulham, while Newcastle host Arsenal.
FULL TIME: Manchester City 2-1 Newcastle United
City get over the line. That was closer than it should have been.
90 min +2: Newcastle give up possession in the midfield. Fernandinho slips a pass down the centre. Aguero’s clear! He tries to round Dubravka on the left, but the keeper gets a brilliant hand to the ball. Aguero takes up possession again, and tries to curl one into the net from the edge of the box. He gets it all wrong, and he had men arriving in support. On the touchline, Pep goes ballistic.
90 min +1: City launch it long. Aguero rises on the edge of the Newcastle box and cushions a header down for Gundogan, who shanks a wild shot high and wide right.
90 min: There will be three added minutes.
89 min: Kompany comes on for David Silva.
88 min: City don’t look watertight at the back, it should be noted. They collectively make a nine-course tasting menu of clearing a simple loose ball, allowing Perez and Joselu to close them down. The ball pinballs around awhile, and falls to the feet of Joselu on the edge of the box. He tries to guide one into the bottom left, but doesn’t get much on his shot, Stones having closed him down well. Ederson gathers.
87 min: Aguero dinks a cute pass down the inside-right channel, and releases David Silva into the area. As Silva prepares to round Dubravka and make the result certain, the flag goes up for offside. It’s the correct decision.
86 min: City hog the ball some more. The clock is their friend. Newcastle are forced to do a lot of running. Sterling makes good down the left but his cross isn’t up to much and Diame clears.
84 min: Murphy slides a pass down the left for Atsu. He’s got men in the box, but his low cross is aimless and hooked clear by Stones. City hearts were in mouths there for a brief second. It’ll only take one Newcastle chance to scramble an unlikely draw.
83 min: Sterling cuts in from the left and crosses high. The ball flies along a strange arc, and for a second threatens to dip into the top right, a la Paul Konchesky in the 2006 FA Cup final for West Ham. Dubravka isn’t sure where it’s heading, and races back in a panic. But it’s always high and wide.
81 min: There’s just one goal in it, and not long left. It’d be very strange if Newcastle took another thrashing now, so they can have a bit of a go in the closing stages. Jacob Murphy comes on for Clark.
80 min: Sterling races down the middle of the park in acres. He’s got Newcastle back-pedalling furiously, and Aguero to his left. His pass to Aguero is weak and underhit, and allows Lascelles to win the ball with a fine block tackle. What a waste.
79 min: The corner’s swung in. It skims off Stones’ head and nearly lands at the feet of David Silva. Dubravka gathers.
78 min: Sterling is bowled over to the left of the Newcastle box. Another free kick in a position that will test the visitors. Gundogan loops it long, and Fernandinho prepares to stoop and head home by the right-hand post. Dummett does very well to head behind for a corner.
76 min: Gundogan replaces Mahrez.
75 min: Fernandinho floats a long ball down the inside-right channel, and isn’t far away from releasing Walker. A few moments earlier, Mendy had caressed a sensational crossfield pass from left to right, finding Mahrez on the wing. It’s just lovely to watch. City have gone into Widescreen Mode.
73 min: City continue to stroke it around, in complete control of this match. Newcastle replace Rondon, who has run himself into the ground chasing lost causes, and send on Joselu.
71 min: City ping it around patiently, then suddenly David Silva springs into action, combining with Aguero down the middle and laying off to Sterling, sashaying down the inside-left channel. His shot flies wide left. He wants a corner, insisting there’s been a deflection. But he’s not getting it.
70 min: City have enjoyed 81 percent possession in the last five minutes. After the Chelsea game, Newcastle will be getting used to this.
69 min: David Silva slips a pass down the inside-left channel to release his namesake Bernardo, who zips a low cross into the area. Aguero is lurking but Lascelles gets in the way.
67 min: But there’s a sense he’s only delaying the inevitable. Mahrez jigs down the right and loops to the far post. Dubravka can’t reach the ball. David Silva’s coming in from the left but can’t head home from a tight angle. City keep pushing for the third goal that will seal the deal.
65 min: Newcastle launch a throw into the City box. Ederson rolls out for Bernardo Silva, who shuttles it down the left for Aguero. Aguero dinks it into the middle. Fernandinho tries to volley home. Dubravka saves from point-blank range. Then Silva has two goes. Dubravka makes another two point-blank saves. That was heroic by the Newcastle keeper.
63 min: A bit of space for Mendy out on the left. He whips a sensational cross towards Bernardo Silva, six yards out; it’s about an inch too high. That was almost impossible to defend.
61 min: Walker and Mahrez cause Newcastle some more heartache down the right. Fernandez half clears, but only smacks the ball straight at Bernardo Silva. It balloons out for a goal kick. Newcastle are struggling to get out of their final third again. It’s now 432-93 in passes.
59 min: City have regained their swagger of the first half hour. They’re pressing Newcastle back, and causing quite a lot of panic in doing so.
58 min: That was Jesus’s last act tonight. He’s replaced by Bernardo Silva.
57 min: Walker, full of confidence, whips one straight at goal. Dubravka isn’t tricked and parries well. City recycle the ball and put it back in the mixer. Aguero tries a bicycle kick. It falls to Jesus, on the edge of the six-yard box. Jesus slams home, but he’s offside.
56 min: Yedlin brings down Sterling as the City winger beats him on the left. Free kick. Walker will take; City load the box.
55 min: Dummett has a larrup from distance. It’s not a million miles off target, but never worrying Ederson.
54 min: Newcastle respond by taking off Kenedy, who goes straight down the tunnel. Atsu comes on to replace him.
WHAT A GOAL! Manchester City 2-1 Newcastle United (Walker 52)
This is a stunning goal! Sterling dribbles in from the left. He lays off for Aguero, who rolls the ball back for Walker, bombing in from the right. Walker sends a low diagonal screamer into the bottom left. Dubravka had no chance! That was as sweet a strike as you’ll see!
51 min: Rondon strides down the left but can’t break free of Walker. City go up the other end through Aguero, but slowly, allowing the Newcastle players who had joined Rondon in attack to drop back. The move breaks down.
50 min: Mendy has been uncharacteristically quiet. Except for setting up Sterling for the City goal, of course, but it’s all in context. He goes powering down the left with a view to forcing something to happen, but only manages to force Kenedy to the floor. A look of frustration spreads across his face.
49 min: Silva batters it straight into the wall. The ball breaks to Mahrez, who tries to curl one into the top left from the edge of the area. Nope.
48 min: Mahrez whips the ball away from Dummett’s feet and races infield from the right wing. On the edge of the box, Clark sticks out an arm and brings Mahrez down. Yet another free kick in a dangerous position.
46 min: Within 30 seconds of the restart, Sterling has dribbled down the left and floated one into the centre. Clark and Ki combine to clear, with plenty of sky-blue shirts lurking. If Newcastle didn’t already realise this is going to be a long half for them, they do now.
And we’re off again! In that first half, Newcastle had just 24 percent of the possession. They also took just the one shot. It’s been enough to retain parity - football’s a wonderfully strange game sometimes - but it’ll be quite an achievement to do that again. Let’s see how this unfolds, then. City get the ball rolling for the second 45. No changes.
HALF TIME: Manchester City 1-1 Newcastle United
You can look at all the stats for this half of football, and they will tell you absolutely nothing. City battered Newcastle for half an hour, but the Toon struck back, and since then have looked much more comfortable. Frustration for City. Rafa’s plan is working. But his team need to do it all again. It’s going to be a very interesting second half.
45 min: City are desperate to regain the lead before the break. Silva dances down the left and gets in behind, but his low cross is deflected away from danger by Dubravka.
44 min: Mahrez curls a low cross into the Newcastle box from the right. Aguero sticks a toe out and nearly deflects it past Dubravka, but the keeper adjusts and gathers a ball bouncing along a strange arc.
43 min: Walker takes. He whips it into the mixer. Dubravka punches clear with confidence. City are still the dominant force, but their passing isn’t quite as crisp and their fans have fallen a little quiet since Newcastle equalised.
42 min: Sterling dribbles at pace down the left, taking on three men. He would have busted his way through, too, but was bundled over by Kenedy. A free kick, just to the left of the box.
40 min: Newcastle are gaining in confidence. Perhaps too much confidence, as they send a few men forward to join Perez in another attack, and when it breaks down City rat-a-tat-tat their way out of defence and suddenly pour forward! Newcastle are light at the back, but Aguero decides to have a crack from the edge of the box, attempting to replicate Sterling’s goal, and gets it all wrong.
38 min: Perez dribbles down the left and nearly gets the better of Stones. But not quite. There were black-and-white shirts in the box, too. Good defending by Stones.
37 min: On the City bench, Pep is slumped back in his chair, almost horizontal, in the style of Big Sam. Draped across the seat in elegant ruins, he threatens to hover. Big Sam never threatens to hover.
35 min: Another corner for City, this time out on the left. Fernandinho tries to meet it at the near post, but he doesn’t make it.
34 min: City are gifted a pretty generous free kick, 25 yards from goal in a central position, for Diame’s slight tug on Fernandinho’s shoulder. There didn’t look a whole lot in that. Aguero ensures justice is done by slapping the free kick straight into the wall. Uncharacteristically poor.
33 min: That will have knocked City off their equilibrium, too. A corner’s won down the right ... but Mahrez can only blooter the set piece into the first man.
32 min: That was a marvellous Newcastle goal, and one which will surely give a team sorely lacking in confidence succour. There’s a clear spring in their step now, while the Newcastle fans have found their voice.
GOAL! Manchester City 1-1 Newcastle United (Yedlin 30)
This is absurd! Newcastle, who have been played off the park so far, are level! The ball’s slipped to Rondon down the left. City’s defence is asleep, and there’s nobody on the other flank. Yedlin has romped down the pitch at high speed, arriving in the area, in acres of space. Rondon manages to thread a cross through all the City defenders that surround him ... and finds Yedlin, who slams past Ederson from close range!
28 min: Another free kick for Newcastle in the City half. Again it’s wasted. They load the box, but faff around with the delivery. Once Kenedy eventually sends it into the area, Ederson has had time to size up the situation. He ambles through the crowd, leaps and claims.
27 min: It really should be two now. Silva whips the free kick up and down and onto the head of Jesus, six yards out. He just needs to get his head on the ball, and it’s a certain goal. But instead he sort of faces it, the ball squishing his nose and falling harmlessly to Dubravka.
26 min: Sterling slips a pass down the left for Silva, who looks to turn Diame the second he receives the ball. Diame makes sure Silva goes over, just outside the box. But this is a free kick in a dangerous position.
24 min: Newcastle show in attack, sort of. Perez has a skitter down the left but is forced to turn back. Ki takes up possession deep and floats a diagonal cross into the City box. Ederson saunters off his line to pluck the ball from the sky. Rondon was in the vague environs, but the cross was always going to be the keeper’s.
23 min: City are coming at Newcastle from all angles. Fernandinho, out on the left, fizzes a crossfield ball towards Mahrez, who nearly reaches it just inside the Newcastle box. Dubravka comes out to intercept, catching spectacularly.
22 min: Newcastle are collectively betraying their frustration. Benitez comes off the bench to rant awhile from the technical area, then Ki sprays a pass wide left, off the field of play, and towards Guardiola, who traps elegantly.
20 min: Mendy, tight on the left, curls a pass down the wing and is very close to releasing Sterling into the area. Dubravka comes off his line and gathers well. The pass count is currently 135-26.
18 min: Aguero goes deep and turns playmaker, slipping a ball down the inside right for Jesus, who enters the area, drops a shoulder, and glides past Fernandez and Clark. He’s worked space to aim for the bottom left, but doesn’t quite catch the shot and it’s easily snaffled by Dubravka. It probably should have been two.
16 min: Aguero is fed the ball in a central position, 30 yards from goal. He glides a little to the right, and looks to power the ball into the bottom-right corner. It flashes inches wide of the post. Not sure Dubravka had that covered.
14 min: Jesus flicks the ball to Mahrez on the edge of the box. Mahrez very nearly dances his way through a gaggle of Newcastle defenders, but there’s one man too many to beat. City are full of confidence.
12 min: Fernandinho wedges a ball down the inside-left channel, but Aguero doesn’t read his intention. A shame for City, as Newcastle’s back line was pushing up recklessly at the time.
11 min: From the corner, Silva, Sterling and Laporte take turns in attempting to send an effort goalwards. Nothing quite comes off. Newcastle appear troubled.
10 min: Kenedy bursts down the right with some intent, but goes over too easily looking for a free kick. He doesn’t get it. City go up the other end, Aguero chasing down Yedlin and winning a corner on the left.
GOAL! Manchester City 1-0 Newcastle United (Sterling 8)
Well this didn’t take long. Lascelles plays a godawful pass out from the back. Mendy intercepts with ease, then slips the ball left for Sterling, who drops a shoulder to drift into the area then curls a measured shot around Dubravka and into the right-hand side of the net. What a delicious finish ... but what a mistake by Lascelles. It’s going to be a long evening for Newcastle at this rate.
6 min: Laporte steps on Ki’s toes by the centre circle. Free kick. Newcastle load the box ... then play the set piece back to keeper Dubravka! What an absurd waste of time, as Kenedy, Perez and Ki confuse each other into a panicked backpass.
4 min: Newcastle knock it long again. Rondon tries to hold it up on the halfway line, but there’s nobody around to help him. Fernandinho romps towards the Newcastle box and feeds Mahrez on his right. Mahrez cuts back inside, enters the area, and drags an effort wide right. He probably should have scored; he certainly should have got that on target.
2 min: City stroke it around in their trademark style. All very patient, in the middle of the park. Newcastle had possession trouble at St James’ last against Chelsea last week, and it’s already looking like more of the same.
And we’re off! A warm embrace between Pep and Rafa on the touchline, then the Toon get the party started. The ball’s lumped long, and for a second it looks as though Kenedy will bring it down and accelerate into the area from the right. But he hesitates, and that is that.
The teams are out! It’s a fine tail-end-of-afternoon-session atmosphere at the Etihad. City are in their storied sky blue shirts, while Newcastle wear their famous black-and-white stripes. We’ll be off in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
PLATITUDE CORNER. Pep talks to BT Sport ... “Everyone can do what they believe, and we will do our best to beat them. We will try to put people in the box, and try to score goals.” ... and then it’s Rafa’s turn. “It is always difficult to play against City, they have a very good team. They are the champions, so it’s never the best time to face them. We will try to get some chances and score goals. The spirit is very good, we have confidence that we can get a result.”
Manchester City make three changes to the starting XI named for the draw at Wolves last Saturday lunchtime. John Stones, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus replace Vincent Kompany, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva, all three of whom drop to the bench.
Newcastle United also make three changes to their last Premier League starting XI. Jamaal Lascelles, Kenedy and Ayoze Perez take the places of Fabian Schar, Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, Mahrez, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Aguero, Gabriel Jesus.
Subs: Kompany, Gundogan, Delph, Bernardo Silva, Otamendi, Foden, Muric.
Newcastle United: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Kenedy, Ki, Diame, Perez, Rondon.
Subs: Murphy, Muto, Joselu, Sterry, Darlow, Atsu, Longstaff.
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).