Manchester City stretched their lead at the top to an impregnable looking 10 points – and set a new Premier League record in the process.
But they were made to work hard by Everton for a 17th straight victory which surely puts them beyond reach of their nearest rivals and gives them another milestone on their remarkable run.
The win means they have become the first team to win their opening 10 Premier League matches in a calendar year, breaking the record of nine set by bitter rivals Manchester United in 2009.
And it was delivered by a fine goal fitting for such an occasion, with Riyad Mahrez – making a compelling claim to a more regular start – providing a wondrous finish just after the hour, as he danced on to a pass from Bernardo Silva and curled miraculously into the far corner.
Bernardo himself produced a passable imitation of his team-mate 13 minutes from time as he too skipped in from the right to unleash a curling left foot shot that confirmed the victory, and perhaps their status as Champions elect.
But Everton can feel hard done by, as they held the league leaders for so long to a fortunate goal from Phil Foden, and even threatened themselves with a leveller from Richarlison before the break.
It was another relentless victory for Pep Guardiola though, who was even afford the luxury of bringing Kevin de Bruyne on as a late sub on his return from injury.
Yet it was Foden, the player identified, perhaps, as the Belgian’s long term successor who made the early impact, on what was a surprisingly subdued evening for City.
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He took up some similar positions, too. Yet his goal, when it came, had little to do with any sublime movement, or real creativity from the visiting side, who had struggled to break down a resolute Everton rearguard.
With Michael Keane providing a magnificent marshalling job, even after the disruption of Yerry Mina limping off just 18 minutes into the game, the leaders were forced to shuffle too often sideways.
One of many City corners was only partly cleared to Mahrez on the right, and a clearing header fell to Foden. The shot was mistimed, but struck sub Seamus Coleman, and cruelly bounced up and over the diving Jordan Pickford.
Given Everton’s record against this opponent in recent years – coming into the game they had won just one in their last 14 in the Premier League, and lost their last five straight – it seemed a desperate blow.
Yet this Carlo Ancelotti team is nothing if not surprising, and they had shown flickers of threat, even before the leveller, with Luca Digne and Alex Iwobi providing outlets wide.
On 38 minutes, they forged a neat move down the right, and Coleman stood up a fine cross to the far post, with City’s defence surprisingly open.
Digne’s cultured left foot crashed a shot against the post, and went in off Richarlison’s thigh, with the Brazilian knowing little about it.
For their tenacity, it was what Everton deserved. Yet it roused City, who knew victory here would make a powerful, compelling statement at the top of the table.
Mahrez produced that one moment of class, and Bernardo added his deserved goal leaving City to contemplate a procession towards the return of their crown, with De Bruyne back to lead it.
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