David Silva and a late Sergio Aguero strike saw Manchester City begin their Premier League title defence with a 2-0 win at Newcastle United.
Silva broke the deadlock just before half-time to finish a flowing move, before substitute Aguero came off the bench to finish at the second attempt in injury time, as the visitors got their campaign up and running.
City, who are determined to learn the lessons this season of their ill-fated attempt to retain the crown two years ago, have been handed a difficult start with Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea awaiting in three of their next four games.
The onus, therefore, was on Manuel Pellegrini’s men to hit the ground running at St James’ Park – and they did just that thanks to an impressive display, highlighted by some wonderful attacking play.
Newcastle had their chances – the best of which fell to Yoan Gouffran in the second half – yet few could deny that City deserved the points.
And in particular the sight of Aguero finding the net on his return to action after his recent injury problems that restricted his participation for Argentina at the World Cup will have given Pellegrini an added spring in his step.
The champions began impressively, some crisp passing ending with Edin Dzeko’s poked volley being kept out by goalkeeper Tim Krul following a lovely chipped Stevan Jovetic pass.
That set the tone for a dominant start, Samir Nasri stinging the hands of Krul with a half-volley from range.
Liverpool 2 – 1 Southampton
Newcastle United 0 – 2 Manchester City