A NEW chapter in the story of the globalisation of English football began at Man City's Eastlands Stadium on Saturday - but it was some tried and trusted Englishmen who won the day as the Blues swept to a 3-1 win.
Frank Lampard and the two Coles dazzled for Chelsea, who returned to the top of the table they had briefly ceded to Liverpool at lunchtime.
Hours before the match, the city of Manchester was abuzz with tangible excitement and for Manchester City fans, their afternoon started well with the news that their nemesis in the red half of the city had been despatched by Liverpool.
Many congregated in the centre of the city clad in their team's shirts hastiliy redesigned in the colour of Brazil with the name of their new hero Robinho emblazoned on their backs.
Others paid tribute to the new Middle East owners of their club by dressing in home-made robes and head-scarfs. This new era of joy and the embracement of global harmony was, of course, not extended to the United fans who trudged away from the city-centre bars with jeers and
cat-calls ringing in their ears.
Manchester city fans may, indeed, rejoice at becoming the richest team on the planet but, this in the short-term cannot compensate for their shortcomings on the pitch.
Before kick-off, the Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari and his compatriot Robinho had a quick hug by the touchline to suggest that the Brazlilian's decision to head for the riches of Manchester city rather than those of Chelsea had not spoilt their friendship.
Both men had good days but, the Chelsea boss certainly had the better one.
Robinho marked his debut with a 13th minute goal from a free-kick 20 yards out. He struck it well but was fortunate that a deflection from Jon Obi Mikel directed it past the hapless Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
The home-team's Brazilian fire burnt brightly but briefly and from that moment Chelsea were superior in almost every way and powered their way to a well-deserved victory.
Almost immediately after the home-side took the lead, Chelsea hit back - the peerless Ricardo Carvallho smashing a tremendous shot past City keeper Joe Hart within three minutes.
For the remainder of the first half Manchester City's goal took a pounding. Florent Malouda headed a Joe Cole cross against the bar whilst Nicolas Anelka saw an attempt well saved.
In the second half, the superb Frank Lampard took charge. In the 53rd minute he initiated a wonderful move down the length of the pitch and finished it with a left foot strike into the corner of Hart's goal.
In the 69th minute Joe Cole played a beautiful ball into the path of Anelka who scored with more than a little joy against his former team.
Chelsea were bouyed with the introduction of Didier Drogba after 70 minutes for his first taste of first-team football since his sending off in the final stages of Chelsea's Champions League final defeat.
The gloss on this comprehensive victory was rather dulled when a silly, clumsy and cynical foul from Chelsea captain John Terry led to the first straight red card of his career and a three-match ban.
It was still a contentious decision by referee Mark Halsey to produce the red card as the tackle wasn't dangerous and didn't prevent a certain goal. It was also long way out and Carvalho was in position to intercept and it looks likely that Chelsea will appeal.
Afterwards, Scolari had some kind (but pointed) words for Robinho. "I am pleased he scored - he is my friend," said the Blues boss. "I am happy, he got one goal and we got three!"
He also set out a ominous warning for Chelsea's rivals "We have improved because we have had many problems from when we started until now," Scolari said.
"I have had to put player A, B or C in the team and they try to do their best. For the coach that is important. We will keep getting better.
"You have to congratulate my players because they fought and tried to win the game until the last minute. We had five or six chances to score and got three goals.
"It was important to score soon after going behind because it recovered our confidence. When we conceded I saw discussions between my players but it was different as soon as we scored."
For Manchester City, it is the beginning of a new high-spending adventure but, if they learnt anything on Saturday it is that unlimited money cannot buy immediate success. Chelsea learnt this the hard way and demonstrated that fundamental to a successful team is passion, grit and determination and that is built from within.