After a record-breaking more than 12 minutes of added time in a Premier League match, Manchester City emerged from a European hangover to maintain their unbeaten top-flight record with a 1-0 victory over Swansea City.
Second-best for 45 minutes as a subdued home support took stock of the midweek UEFA Champions League troubles against Ajax, City improved after half-time and took the points thanks to Carlos Tevez's 61st minute goal. They might not be playing well but they are collecting points.
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini made three changes as he looked to put his midweek Champions League misery behind him. One key change came in defence, where Matija Nastasic replaced England centre-back Joleon Lescott while Aleksandar Kolarov came in for the suspended James Milner in midfield. Tevez returned up front for Edin Dzeko.
Swansea went into the game unchanged from last weekend's win over Wigan Athletic. Michu started as a lone attacker. Pablo Hernandez and in-form Wayne Routledge kept Nathan Dyer on the bench.
Mancini sent his players out in a 4-4-2 formation, with Sergio Aguero and Tevez rotating as the most advanced striker. Kolarov played on the left wing, with Samir Nasri on the right and they swapped flanks late in the first half. But it proved ineffective and it was only after half-time, when Mario Balotelli came on as an extra striker, that the home team proved a threat. They are missing David Silva.
Swansea were set out to frustrate their hosts and tried to hit on the counter-attack. In the first half, they were the better team and played a high line to put Mancini's men under pressure. But, when Mancini switched to a three-man strikeforce after half-time, they were forced back and Michu became isolated.
Micah Richards had to be stretchered off with what looks like a serious knee injury and he was replaced by a rare appearance from Kolo Toure. The introduction of Balotelli at half-time changed the game and gave Manchester City some impetus. Joleon Lescott was brought on in the lengthy injury time to replace Aguero and help defend the lead.
Swansea lost goalkeeper Michel Vorm for up to six weeks after he pulled his groin when attempting to save Tevez's goal. The Dutchman had to be replaced by Gerhard Tremmel. Danny Graham was sent on when Laudrup was chasing the game and defensive midfielder Leon Britton was sacrificed. The move did not really have an impact. Hernandez's ineffective match came to an end in the 77th minute for the arrival of Dyer, who did little but get booked.
Martin Atkinson and his assistant officials added a Premier League record amount of injury time before the final whistle as a consequence of the injuries to Richards, Vorm and an earlier bang to the head for Michu. He otherwise allowed the game to run and played two excellent advantages, particularly one for Swansea before going back to book Richards for the foul.
Mancini has made it clear he is looking forward to allowing his players to rest after three games in a week. Manchester City are out of the Capital One Cup and so do not have any games until next Saturday evening's trip to West Ham United. That will give the club some vital time to try and welcome back a few of their injured players, particularly Silva.
Former boss Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool are next on the horizon for Swansea. But they will travel to Anfield without Vorm, which is a massive loss, while Angel Rangel will be suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season at the Etihad Stadium. It does not get any easier for Swansea after that, as they host league leaders Chelsea next weekend.