Manchester City will face Real Madrid, Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United in the three weeks following Saturday's fixture with Aston Villa. So the 5-0 ("Book 'em, Danno") thrashing that City put on Villa at the Etihad came at a very fortuitous and convenient time.
Coupled with Manchester United's surprise defeat at Carrow Road to Norwich City, Manchester City's win put the Sky Blues back atop the Premier League table by a point. Additionally, City pushed its goal differential to plus-15, best in the Premiership. For a side that won the league on goal differential last season, the importance of that number is well-appreciated.
Normal service has resumed in the Prem.
Numerous details of the lopsided victory will please anyone aligned with the blue half of Manchester. City finally put an outmatched team away relatively early in the contest. Sergio Aguero's conversion of a penalty in the 54th minute doubled the lead City had claimed through David Silva shortly before the break.
Better still, Aguero's penalty resulted from a phantom handball call from assistant referee Adrian Holmes against Villa's Andreas Weimann. No apologies were necessary or forthcoming from a City side that has been victimized by quite a few shaky calls and non-calls in the early going of this season.
City gained command of the match by Aguero's penalty marker. Shortly thereafter, Villa came unraveled. Carlos Tevez converted a second (this time, properly awarded) penalty for City in the 65th minute. The rout was on, which perhaps made it acceptable in Roberto Mancini's eyes for Tevez to have some fun with his latest off-the-pitch controversy.
Apparently, Tevez was compelled to stand by and watch as police impounded his Porsche Panamera just days prior to the Villa match, according to the Huffington Post. So after his first goal, Tevez sat down and pantomimed driving a car.
When he later tacked on City's final tally in the 74th minute, Tevez preened along the touch line pretending to turn a steering wheel. Aguero's second goal of the match had made it 4-0 in the 67th minute.
The temptation is great to react to City's thorough dominance in this match with assertions that the defending league champions are fully back in top form. This was, however, merely Aston Villa and at home no less.
Still, given the gantlet City must run in the coming weeks, a 5-0 victory, where just about everything that could have gone right, did and showed up right on time.