Unbeaten start ends in Manchester.
Sunderland suffered their first league defeat of the season as they slipped to a 3-0 reverse against champions Manchester City.
An early goal from Aleksandar Kolarov gave Roberto Mancini's side a flying start at the Etihad Stadium before sub Sergio Aguero doubled City's money on the hour with a close-range finish from a Kolarov cross.
James Milner rounded off proceedings with a third goal two minutes from time, finding the net with a free-kick.
The hosts were good value for their win and never allowed Sunderland too much possession or momentum.
Meanwhile the visitors were grateful to keeper Simon Mignolet, who again impressed with a string of fine saves and regularly thwarted City's attacking raids.
Fresh from the win over Wigan, boss Martin O'Neill made only the one change – Carlos Cuellar replacing Titus Bramble.
Sunderland went into the game as the only Barclays Premier League team not to have been behind in any match so far, but that changed just five minutes in.
Cuellar's foul on Carlos Tevez gave City a free-kick on the left-hand edge of the box and Kolarov – a scorer in this fixture last season too – crashed a fine free-kick past Mignolet.
The Sunderland goalkeeper had no chance to save, such was the power on the effort from the left-back.
Stephane Sessegnon came close to an equaliser with 11 minutes on the clock, volleying narrowly over Joe Hart's crossbar after Cuellar beat a defender in the air to head the ball down.
However, City almost doubled their tally just after the 20-minute mark. Twisting and turning, Tevez was dispossessed on the edge of the box but the ball ran through to the lurking Pablo Zabaleta, who forced a good block from Mignolet at close quarters.
The rebound ran loose to Tevez who could only drill his shot across goal and wide, much to the visitors' relief.
The opportunity seemed to energise City who began to take charge, with Balotelli and Gareth Barry both blasting wide either side of a Steven Fletcher shot which was deflected straight at Hart.
Fletcher saw another effort blocked by Micah Richards in the early stages of the second period, while the menacing Balotelli forced a good save from Mignolet after latching on to David Silva's delightful back-heel.
Sunderland's Belgian keeper was then grateful to left-back Danny Rose as Richards stole in to force a corner goalwards only for the on-loan Spurs man to head the ball off the line.
City's head of steam continued to build with Balotelli inches away from sliding home a Kolarov cross while Richards was then denied again, this time by a superb full-length save from Mignolet.
But a second goal was in the offing and duly arrived through sub Aguero just four minutes after he had entered the field of play.
Silva and Kolarov combined well down the left and the latter's teasing cross was touched home by the Argentine striker at the near post.
Far from being satisfied with their two-goal lead, City turned the screw even further. Tevez blasted an angled shot just past the far post, while Silva rattled the crossbar with a cheeky lob after Tevez was forced wide by the advancing Mignolet.
Despite the home pressure, Sunderland almost pulled a goal back when a Seb Larsson corner was met by James McClean, whose header looked like it might loop in at the far post until Hart backpedalled quickly to punch clear.
But Milner rounded things off with a third goal in the final minutes, scoring with a free-kick which deflected off the head of the covering Craig Gardner on its way in.
And it would have been four late on but for more good work from Mignolet, who somehow stopped Aguero's effort with his trailing hand after the striker squeezed a shot through his legs.
- Silva (Rodwell)
- Tévez (Clichy)
- Balotelli (Agüero)
- Cuéllar Yellow
- Rose (Vaughan)
- Sessegnon (Campbell)
- Gardner Yellow
- Colback Yellow
- Johnson (Saha)