Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will settle for a 1-0 win every week if it brings him the Barclays Premiership title - but it may not come via the attractive, enthralling football craved by billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.
It is fair to say Mourinho and his expensively-assembled squad are still finding their feet this season, particularly after they were clearly roughed up by a Birmingham team who showed scant respect for their opponents.
But Chelsea, as they did in their opening win over Manchester United last week, are finding a way to emerge victorious - with City defender Martin Taylor's deflection to a Joe Cole drive all that separated the sides.
This game was effectively `illustrious against industrious', and for the opening 45 minutes there was only one winner as Steve Bruce's battlers made Mourinho's multi-millionaires look like strugglers.
When you have Robbie Savage and Muzzy Izzet marshalling the centre of midfield, then any opposing team will find it difficult to make their flair come to the fore, and that is why Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele were virtual spectators.
Such was City's hard work, energy and determination to hassle and harry the visitors, there were occasions when strikers Didier Drogba and Eidur Gudjohnsen were forced to go in search of the ball inside their own half.
It was not what the Chelsea supporters were hoping to see from Champions League winner Mourinho, especially after a further £90million has been lavished on one of the most expensive squads in world football.
There was no surprise then when the City fans lambasted Drogba in the 13th minute with a cry of 'what a waste of money' after the £24.2million signing from Marseille made a hash of a gilt-edged opportunity afforded him by one of Mourinho's cast-offs Mario Melchiot.
The right-back, signed by Birmingham boss Steve Bruce after his contract expired at Stamford Bridge, was found wanting as a speculative through ball was flicked on by Lampard.
Melchiot's mistake left goalkeeper Maik Taylor in no man's land and Drogba with a clear sight of goal to open his Premiership account, only for the Ivory Coast star to stab the ball wide of the right-hand post.
But from that moment Chelsea were made to look second best and far from a side ready to rule the Premiership roost - and they should have gone behind seven minutes later.
The errors continued as Wayne Bridge attempted a ludicrous pass back from 40 yards.
Emile Heskey - playing on his own up front as the terms of Mikael Forssell's loan deal with employers Chelsea precluded him from playing for City - managed to cut the ball out.
The England international, City's own high-profile summer signing of £6.25million from Liverpool, then strode into the area - but with Petr Cech to beat, his drive hit the inside of the Czech Republic international's left leg and drifted wide of the right-hand post.
Cech needed to be alert five minutes later to tip over a free-kick whipped in by Savage from wide on the left, and when the Wales international repeated the dose soon afterwards Heskey had another chance.
After an initial Heskey flick had ricocheted off the head of captain John Terry, Izzet picked up the loose ball and dinked in a cross for the target man - only for his powerful downward header to finish a yard wide of the left-hand upright.
City then proceeded to boss the game.
Chelsea had no answer to the bullying - and they almost paid the penalty for their apparent fragility in first-half injury time.
After Terry had bravely thrust his body in the way of a powerful 15-yard drive from Damien Johnson, Forssell's replacement Julian Gray hammered the rebound against the post - with his second attempt high and wide.
Mourinho, realising his side were being muscled out of the game, made a double change at the break and replaced Gudjohnsen and Alexei Smertin with two more of his expensive summer recruits in Mateja Kezman and Tiago.
Although City continued to show greater mettle after the interval, they were given a wake-up call that Chelsea are still a quality outfit.
A raking crossfield ball from Bridge was coolly controlled by Geremi in the box, before he unleashed a right-foot drive which Taylor superbly tipped away.
But it was not until the introduction of Cole in the 63rd minute, with Geremi making way, that Chelsea were given added impetus from the midfield area where they had been severely lacking.
Six minutes after his arrival, Cole's turn and shot took a ricochet off the unlucky Taylor - leaving the England man and his team-mates to celebrate what proved to be the winner.
City then ran out of options as Chelsea ran down the clock.
While it is maximum points for Mourinho, supporters are still waiting for the entertainment to begin.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes Birmingham midfielder Robbie Savage
should be in trouble with the Football Association after he appeared to elbow
striker Mateja Kezman.
Mourinho was incensed by the incident late in his side's 1-0 victory at St
Savage has been in hot water with the footballing authorities in the past and
Mourinho believes this latest escapade should be viewed by the FA's video
'More than upset or angry...I was really surprised because in English
football I wasn't expecting such etiquette,' said Mourinho.
'If an elbow situation happens in my country (Portugal), Italy, Spain or
South America, then that is our culture.
'But you are, and you deserve to be, kings of fair play. That's why many
people in the world are in love with your football.
'That's why I was really surprised when this blond player (Savage) hit Kezman
like he did.
'But at the end of the game it's not my problem. I hope the disciplinary
committee can look at the video and decide.'
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce understandably defended the Wales international
whose reputation has often preceded him.
'The one thing I know about Sav is that he is certainly wholehearted, but he
wouldn't deliberately elbow anybody,' insisted Bruce.
'But I cannot comment properly on the incident until I have seen it.'
Savage is unlikely to face any disciplinary action as it is believed a
flailing arm, as he attempted to send off Kezman, was accidental.
What pained Bruce more was the fact his side came away from the game with
nothing after bullying their more illustrious opponents throughout the 90
Bruce's players harried and hustled Chelsea's stars to such an extent
Mourinho's side had little answer to City's hard work and endeavour.
But in the end Mourinho emerged triumphant with a 1-0 victory for the second
successive weekend after substitute Joe Cole's 69th-minute strike unluckily
deflected off Birmingham defender Martin Taylor.
Bruce said: 'Sometimes football gives you a kick in the teeth and we have had
that today. We certainly didn't deserve that - we deserved something out of this
'But it's all right saying that when you create four or five glorious chances
like we did against a top team like Chelsea and you don't take them.
'But I am pleased with the overall performance and we will win more than we
lose, that's for sure.'
Bruce, however, was critical of what he perceived as Mourinho's negative
tactics for Chelsea barely created a worthwhile chance throughout the 90
'You saw the way Porto played last year (in winning the Champions League) and
I don't think he (Mourinho) is going to change,' said Bruce.
'He is not going to change his believes. He is going to do what he has to do
to win a football match.
'I don't think he is remotely bothered about trying to entertain, but at the
end of the day he has two 1-0 wins under his belt and he has only been here a
As far as Mourinho is concerned his side sit top of the table with six points
from their opening two matches.
When asked whether he felt he was lucky against City he replied: 'That
depends on your point of view.
'If you think of the big chance they had in the last minute of the first half
(Julian Gray hitting a post) and they could have gone in at half-time 1-0 up
then from that point of view, yes, we were lucky.
'The other point of view, if you look at the biggest chance of the whole
match in the first half when Didier Drogba missed or when Geremi had a chance in
front of the keeper, then no, we were not lucky.
'I can understand why people would say we didn't play so well, but I would
prefer you to say that Birmingham played really well and we had to fight to get
'I am really pleased with the spirit my team played with. They played when
they had to play and they fought when they had to fight. We are adapting as a
team and I am pleased with them.'