When the January transfer window creaked shut with only two additions to Roberto Mancini's squad, it was commonly thought that a golden opportunity to crack the 'Big 4' had been squandered.
The failed attempt to sign Mariga at least hinted at Mancini's awareness of the midfield problems that had dogged the Sky Blues until then.
The capture of the aging Vieira on a free transfer didn't inspire confidence, and although warmly welcomed, the signing of Adam Johhnson was predicted to be one for future seasons and not this one.
How wrong that viewpoint now looks.
Vieira of course has failed to shine on the pitch, but has added a calming influence to the dressing room by all accounts.
Johnson has added invention and pace to the wings, and takes the pressure off Wright-Phillips, whose season isn't finishing on a high.
It seems then that the minimalist approach has worked wonders. Mancini has not done too much to upset the squad just as it seems to have gelled, and yet he has taken a step forward in terms of balance.
Many Manchester City fans are now warming to their new manager, and note with some pleasure the attacking style he now sets his teams up for. Could the same be said for a certain Jose Mourinho? I don't think so.
Mancini's side has managed 15 goals for and only 2 against in the last 3 games, and in doing so overhauled the goal difference and goals scored deficits to likely 4th place contenders Spurs.
The need to do so seemed certain, as before the recent uplift if form City and Spurs were heading for a tight finish, but perhaps that isnt the case now?
With a 4 point cushion and still having to play the stuttering Spurs at fortress COMS, it is City's to lose.
That wasn't how it seemed to be heading only a handful of games ago.