Third place in the Premier League is one win away after Stoke were sent packing for the second time in four days.
Such was the importance of this contest that the FA Cup winners did not have their treasured piece of silverware on show.
Instead it was full on concentration with the aim to make Arsenal pay for their slip against Villa at the weekend and so take command of the third automatic place in next season’s Champions League.
Roberto Mancini’s men won in emphatic style.
It was a match that could have gone either in terms of a spectacle. It was pure guess work whether or not Stoke would come seeking revenge for their Wembley final defeat or be so deflated as to offer little resistance.
In the end it was much the same as North London with the Blues dominating the contest but not having to wait so long for the breakthrough
It came in the 14th minute and what a beauty it was by Carlos Tevez. A slick one-two with James Milner on the edge of the box allowed the skipper to show off his skiing technique when he slalomed this way and that before unleashing a shot that Thomas Sorensen didn’t sniff.
That was brilliant but his second goal and City’s third was stupendous. A sensational free kick that had Sorensen flying for his top corner but beaten for sheer pace. Even Joe Hart was moved to Poznan!
In between that brace of collector’s items a second home goal had offered some insurance against the highly unlikely.
Even though Mancini had declared the match ‘business as usual’ for his men there was an air of the party in the stands as City fans celebrated their new entente cordiale with those from the Potteries. Delilah even blared from the PA system to ease the visitors’ weekend pains.
There was not much bite on the pitch either after Tevez’ wonderful effort. Stoke seemed to accept their fate and City kept some powder dry for the trip to Bolton on Sunday when a win will oust Arsenal from the top three.
Stoke made five alterations and missing from the starting team were big names Jones, Pennant and Etherington and big throw merchant Delap.
City have now not lost at home in 16 home games in all competitions and were determined that is contest would not end that proud record covering the whole of this calendar year so far.
Lescott’s second allowed them to cruise to the finish line and Tevez lashing home his wondrous free-kick was an icing on an increasingly scrumptious cake.