Never mind City putting daylight between themselves and Tottenham, Roberto Mancini’s men are now breathing down the necks of second-placed Arsenal after a stunning 5-0 victory over Sunderland.
Goals from Adam Johnson, Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Patrick Vieira and Yaya Toure gave the Blues their biggest league win of the season as well as leap-frogging Chelsea back into third spot.
If City had seemed to be running on empty before the international break, they returned with a full tank of gas and their best 90 minutes of the season so far as they dismantled the Wearsiders who, let's not forget, trounced Chelsea 3-0 on their own patch not that long ago..
With Spurs, Chelsea and the Gunners all dropping points 24 hours earlier, City knew three points would take them back into third spot and six points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham as the race for Champions League football gathers pace.
The Blues’ right-back curse meant Mancini was without Micah Richards, Jerome Boateng and Pablo Zabaleta, so Dedryck Boyata was recalled to fill the void – his first Premier League start since October.
Adam Johnson was also back in the starting line-up for the first time since the 4-2 win over Leicester last January.
The Black Cats won the first clash between the clubs back in August with a last-minute Darren Bent penalty after the Blues had bossed the majority of the game, but while the ball just wouldn’t go in for City that day, the return fixture saw Mancini’s men race out of the blocks and into a 2-0 lead with the first 15 minutes.
With much of the Blues’ early probing coming through the talented feet of Johnson, it was fitting that the Sunderland-born winger should open the scoring on nine minutes as he began and finished a delightful one-two with Yaya Toure before burying the ball past Mackems keeper Simon Mignolet.
With a stadium-rocking Poznan celebration barely finished, City quickly doubled their lead. Silva picked up the ball on the left and spotted Tevez darting through the middle and his lofted pass split the two Sunderland defenders chasing him.
As he the skipper was about to pull the trigger, David Bardsley appeared to foul him just inside the box – Howard Webb immediately pointed to the spot and Tevez duly dispatched his 22nd goal of the season. Cue an even rowdier Poznan!
City were on top in just about every department in a hugely impressive first-half - the passing was crisper, the tackles stronger and Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott were winning everything at the back – it couldn’t have gone much better, in fact.
But if the opening 45 minutes had been impressive, the second period was even better as the rampant Blues put Steve Bruce’s side to the sword in superb ten-minute spell, beginning just after the hour-mark
...Blues on fire!
First Silva pounced on a rebound in the box to make it 3-0 on 63 minutes, then Vieira managed to get on the end of Aleks Kolarov’s fizzing low cross to score number four – his first touch having been on the pitch less than a minute!
The fifth was the result of the excellent Toure’s brute strength as he chased after a poor Lee Cattermole pass, powered between John Mensah and Michael Turner before delicately lofting the ball over Mignolet.
There was time for Mancini to give Ryan McGivern his debut as well as bringing on crowd favourite Shaun Wright-Phillips for late cameo appearances.
If City are only now running into peak form, they couldn’t be timing it better. A fantastic display with everyone contributing, particularly the rock solid central pairing of Kompany and Lescott who have rarely played better. A great day to be a Blue!