City set off on the Wembley trail in style as they thrashed Wigan Athletic 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
Edin Dzeko set the Blues on the way with a goal on 33 minutes and the floodgates opened after the break with further strikes from Stevan Jovetic (2), Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas to put City into the last 16 of the Capital One Cup.
What a difference five months make!
Last May City and Wigan stepped out at Wembley for the 2013 FA Cup final in front of a watching global audience of millions - tonight it was a cosier affair between the two Lancashire clubs – but so much has changed in-between.
Only five players that were in the starting line-ups at Wembley began this match and since then the Latics have been relegated and the managers of each team have moved on.
In fact, only three players from either side remained from the teams that began the league games against United and Ipswich respectively, so change was definitely the order of the day!
For City, only Fernandinho survived the expected cull from the derby but there was a welcome return for skipper for the night Micah Richards and 17-year-old prospect Marcos Lopes was handed his first-team debut.
Following Sunday’s breathless 4-1 win over United was always going to be tough, but a decent crowd of 25,519 had turned out on a balmy late September evening hoping for a goals and a small modicum of revenge for the FA Cup final defeat.
And they were rewarded with an entertaining first-half which suggested Manuel Pellegrini’s side are looking for a good run in the competition with the Blues having a nice fluidity and balance to their play.
The opening five minutes saw Lee Nicholls in the Wigan goal make two fine saves from Micah Richards and Dedryck Boyata headers and Lopes rattled the bar on 28 minutes as the bulk of the opening period was spent in the Latics half.
It took a piece of Brazilian brilliance to finally unlock the stubborn visitors’ defence as Fernandinho spotted Dzeko’s movement and dinked a delightfully chipped pass into his path. The Bosnian did the rest, volleying home from seven yards to put City ahead.
Wigan, who never remotely troubled Costel Pantilimon all evening, were effectively put out of their misery by Jovetic who doubled the Blues’ lead on the hour as he turned home Richards’ cross – via a fortunate deflection – for his first goal in City colours.
When Jovetic won a free-kick 25 yards out Yaya Toure collected the ball and took a few steps back - surely he couldn't do it again?
The crowd rose to their feet a few seconds later as the Ivorian duly dispatched his third stunning free-kick goal of the campaign – a carbon copy of his first two against Newcastle and Hull – on 77 minutes. Terrific stuff from the big man who is now the Blues' top scorer!
There was still time for an ecstatic Jovetic to add his second of the evening on 83 minutes with a smart finish at the near post and Navas completed the rout four minutes from time to make it 5-0 and send the fans home happy as well as completing a memorable few days for the Blues.