It wasn’t quite a Ballet on Ice, but there was enough skill and grace on show to warm the sell-out crowd as City cruised to a 3-0 victory over Fulham.
If Roberto Mancini felt he hadn’t prepared his team correctly against Everton, perhaps he should allow himself a pat on the back following what was comprehensive demolition of Fulham at a snow-bound Etihad Stadium.
With the Blues chasing their seventeenth successive Premier League home win and Fulham having won just one of their 11 trips this season, on paper at least, this looked a home banker prior to kick-off.
The Cottagers, in fact, had the worst away record in the top flight going into this game following good results on the road for Wolves and Swansea earlier on in the day.
But of course, Fulham have had a habit of saving their best performance of the campaign away from Craven Cottage for the Etihad Stadium. For a team who habitually struggle on the road, their record at the Etihad Stadium defied belief.
Just one defeat in eight Premier League visits tells its own story and only the Blues could make a home jinx side out of Fulham! Though that statistic was about to get a lot better.
And there was more to unsettle the sell-out crowd before a ball was even kicked with City failing to beat a Martin Jol side in seven previous efforts
...City v Fulham.
City started as though they had a point to prove, closing down quickly and pinning the visitors in their own half. It was inviting trouble and after ten minutes, the Blues went deservedly ahead.
Aguero picked the ball up on the left, tormented Brede Hangeland before finding Johnson on the edge of the box and when the England winger wriggled through two tackles, Chris Baird brought him tumbling to the floor and Mike Dean pointed to the spot and Aguero planted the ball firmly past Mark Schwarzer for his 18th goal of the season.
Just 20 minutes later, Baird’s day went from bad to worse as he turned the impressive Johnson’s low cross past his own keeper to make it 2-0 and Dickson Etuhu was lucky not to concede another penalty 90 seconds later when he scythed down David Silva from behind. Dean, inexplicably, waved appeals away.
City continued to pour forward and Aguero, Silva and Dzeko could all have added to the score-line before the break as Jol’s team were systematically picked apart by the Premier League leaders.
Fulham could only get better after such an abject first 45, and they did, enjoying more possession without ever really threatening Joe Hart’s goal. In fact, the only real threat to the Blues’ victory was the weather, with heavy snow forcing groundsman Lee Jackson (below) and his team to clear the pitch markings on a couple of occasions as the playing surface turned steadily white.
City needed a third to effectively kill the game off and thanks to the industry and skill of Aguero, it came on 72 minutes with the Argentine weaving his way into the box before teeing up Dzeko for his 16th of the campaign.
That was the end of the scoring as City returned to somewhere near their best when they perhaps needed to most.