Kevin De Bruyne scored the winner, firing a brilliant left-footed strike past Thibaut Courtois with just over 20 minutes remaining, and City have now gone 15 Premier League matches unbeaten.
Chelsea had the first real chance of the game when Alvaro Morata headed over the bar in a good position – but City quickly became the dominant force, with their high-pressing game causing Chelsea all sorts of problems.
Pep Guardiola’s side moved the ball with pace and purpose, playing at a much higher tempo than the hosts, and Chelsea were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure, hoping to hit City on the counter.
Fabian Delph’s powerful effort was blocked by Antonio Rudiger en route to goal, and a swift counter-attack that started with Ederson’s throw out to Raheem Sterling saw Kevin De Bruyne split the Chelsea backline open and put Sterling in down the right, but his delivery was too far in front of Gabriel Jesus and David Silva and a good opening went awry.
City were in total control as the first half came to an end, and Fernandinho forced a good save from Courtois with seconds remaining before the break. De Bruyne’s corner was delivered with pinpoint accuracy and the Brazilian produced a diving header that Courtous, backpedalling, pushed away to safety.
City started the second half in much the same vein, on the front foot, quicker and sharper than their opponents and looking the most likely to break the deadlock. They were pressing and harrying Chelsea out of their stride, and the home side were struggling to get hold of the ball for any length of time. City were delivering a footballing masterclass at home of the champions.
Sterling’s volley was from inside the area went over the bar when perhaps he should have hit the target, and Jesus was inches away from connecting with De Bruyne’s dangerous ball into the area. City were in the ascendancy and Chelsea were struggling badly.
When Chelsea did get through City’s back four, they found Ederson in inspired form, the Brazilian making a fine save to deny Eden Hazard from a tight angle.
City deservedly went ahead when De Bruyne played a one-two with Jesus before producing a beautiful left-footed strike that flew past Courtois. The former Chelsea man has been in inspired form in recent weeks, revelling in a deeper midfield role, with his goal here the latest example of his match-winning capabilities.
Aantonio Conte, to his credit, made two changes, bringing Pedro and Michy Batshuayi on, moves that saw them improve - but City were still the more potent side.
Sterling’s cross found Jesus inside the area, and the Brazilian produced a superb controlled volley that was heading for the back of the net before Rudiger’s intervention on the line denied City a second.
City, who enjoyed 62 per cent of the possession, saw the game out comfortably to register their eighth consecutive win in all competitions.
De Bruyne’s opener. City were on top but just couldn’t find a way through until the brilliant Belgian produced yet another moment of magic.
City Matchday App star man: De Bruyne
A superb winner and quality all over the pitch - another sublime performance
What it means
City move back to the top of the table on goal difference, having momentarily been usurped by Manchester United who beat Crystal Palace earlier in the day.
Chelsea sit fourth, a point behind Tottenham.
This was City’s final game before the international break.
Their next assignment sees them host Stoke City in the Premier League on October 14, followed by Napoli’s visit to the Etihad in the Champions League three days later.