It took a while, but City finally broke down a stubborn Aston Villa to record a thumping 4-0 win.
The visitors repelled everything the Blues could throw at them for 48 minutes before the floodgates finally opened and goals from Yaya Toure, a brace from Sergio Aguero and another from Raheem Sterling wrapped up a much-needed three points.
After three successive Premier League defeats, this was exactly what the doctor ordered.
With news Spurs and Arsenal had drawn earlier in the day, City started against Villa knowing they could gain two points on two of the sides immediately above.
If Liverpool were perhaps the worst possible opponents to face in midweek given last Sunday’s result at Wembley, bottom of the table Villa were perhaps the ideal opposition.
Low on points, confidence and with fan protests aplenty, this was a game the Blues simply had to win.
Yaya Toure, Bacary Sagna and Wilfried Bony were the three changes made from the Anfield reverse with Villa opting – understandably – for a defensive looking line-up which included former City favourites Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott.
The Blues began brightly and could have been two goals to the good before 15 minutes had been played.
With 11 minutes gone, Fernandinho spotted Aguero’s clever run as the Villa defence cleared their lines, but after bringing the ball down, nudging in past one sliding challenge and then curling the ball towards the top left-hand corner keeper Brad Guzan somehow pushed the shot over the bar.
Three minutes later and Gael Clichy’s clever low cross picked out the surging run of Bony but the Ivorian’s touch was too light and he slid the ball wide from six yards.
Aguero went close again after a smart one-two with Bony but his shot was a foot wide of the post with Guzan beaten
..City 4 Villa 0...
Virtually the first 25 minutes or so were spent in Villa’s half. So when they did have a rare foray forward, it resulted in Joe Hart having to make a smart save low to his left after Jordan Ayew found space to shoot inside the box.
But the longer the half wore on, so Villa’s defence grew in confidence and they reached half-time with their rear-guard action paying off, as well as frustrating the majority of the Etihad crowd.
Then, within five minutes of the restart, City were well on their way to three points.
The goal that finally unlocked the Villa massed ranks was a well-worked team goal that started with Aguero’s dart towards the goal-line and his clever pull-back enable David Silva to sweep a low ball across to Yaya Toure who made no mistake from eight yards.
It had been coming, but in games like this, you wonder if it might just be one of those days. Two minutes later, Aguero made sure it wasn’t with a goal that had more than a shade of good fortune about it.
Bony’s through pass saw Aguero and Micah Richards sprinting towards the Villa goal and as Richards slid to clear, the ball hit the City striker and bounced into the empty net.
It now seemed a matter of how many City would score against their beleaguered opponents who had little to offer going forward and with their brittle confidence shattered, large gaps began to open up in their defence
...City 4 Villa 0...
On the hour, Aguero added a third when he traded passes with Silva before ramming home goal No.21 of the season and six minutes later substitute Raheem Sterling was in on the act as he turned in a Jesus Navas cross from close range.
Kelechi Iheanacho’s name had been sung by the home support and he appeared in the 70th-minute – and his first act was to win a penalty after he was felled in the box – Aguero stepped up to take the spot-kick, but perhaps paying the price of the luck he’d had with his first goal, his shot smacked the foot of the post.
City could have had one or two more, but nobody was complaining as the Blues returned to winning ways with a bang.