It seemed inevitable that one day City would march their way to the top as soon as Sheikh Mansour began throwing his money around back in 2008, but few could have imagined the change in the team's style over one single summer.
As if the full blossoming of David Silva, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli were not enough on their own, the additions of Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri helped turn last season's stultifying grinders into a relentless scoring machine.
Landmark results such as the 5-1 win at Tottenham and the iconic 6-1 drubbing of United at Old Trafford were both only worth the same number of points as drab wins by the odd goal, but it confirmed the status of Roberto Mancini's side as the team to beat.
City were fortunate in as much as their mid-season wobble happened at around the same time as United's, but right now they look better equipped for the title run-in than the defending champions, even with the impending loss of key midfielder Yaya Toure and his brother Kolo for the African Cup of Nations.
There is still a long way to go as City continue to navigate uncharted waters for them in the Premier League era, but there is a depth of both quality and belief in Roberto Mancini's well-rotated squad that has an aura of champions.