Manchester City vs. Aston Villa: Winners and Losers from Premier League
City started the day in a difficult situation in the title race, but a big win for them, coupled with a 2-2 draw in the game between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal earlier in the day, means the table now looks somewhat healthier.
If the Blues win their game in hand at Newcastle United, they will be ahead of Arsenal and two points behind Spurs.
They still have a mountain to climb, but this was just what they needed. They dominated the game, and their four goals sees them return to the top of the scoring charts in the Premier League. They now have 52 this season, more than Leicester, who play on Saturday evening.
Here are the winners and losers from the game at the Etihad Stadium.
Winner: Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero was the clear man of the match after he gave a superb display to down Villa, scoring two and frightening the life out of the Villa defenders every time he picked up the ball.
Aguero scored City's second after Micah Richards' attempted challenge bounced in off him. It was hardly a classic goal, but he deserved it for his all-round performance.
He ran tirelessly, used his pace to scare the back four and was a constant menace.
He got his second, City's third, around the hour mark, scoring with an emphatic finish after a neat one-two with David Silva.
A missed penalty later in the game couldn't overshadow what was a fine display.
There is no better striker in the Premier League. He now has 20 in all competitions, which is remarkable given his injury problems.
Loser: Wilfried Bony
Wilfried Bony hasn't had an easy time at City. His form has been patchy, at best, and there's a feeling his lack of mobility simply isn't suited to the side.
Today's performance, his first start for the club since Boxing Day won't have filled anyone with confidence he can reverse his fortunes. His touch was hit and miss, he struggled to hold it up and missed an absolute sitter after 14 minutes when he failed to convert Gael Clichy's superb cross from the left.
And the missed opportunities continued. He miscued a header from a corner when he had time to bring the ball down and looked generally sloppy in front of goal. He was replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho soon after.
Would Iheanacho have been the better option from the start? His impressive performances this season, as well as his lively cameo here, suggest he would.
Winner: Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure has his critics, but he produced a wonderful display against Villa to roll back the years and remind those who question him of his undoubted quality.
He scored the opener with a first-time finish after great work from David Silva and then proceeded to control the game with his strength and passing accuracy.
Some have suggested that, at 32, he's finished. That's nonsense. He may need using wisely, but he has a lot to offer.
Loser: Remi Garde
Villa are headed one way: to the Championship.
Remi Garde's side weren't necessarily expected to win this game, but they surely expected to muster something close to a challenge against a side who had lost their last three league games on the bounce.
They were camped inside their own half for much of the match and mustered a single shot on target. It was pitiful stuff.
Winner: Gael Clichy
Gael Clichy's improved form in recent weeks has seen him establish himself as the first-choice left-back at the club.
He's a far better all-round footballer than Aleksandar Kolarov, and he showed again in this game how effective he can be going forward.
He effectively played as a left-winger and supplied some great deliveries into the box, including an absolute beauty for Bony who missed horribly. Even in the final moments, he whipped in a superb ball that should have been tapped home, but there was no one there to connect with it.
His homegrown status means he is unlikely to leave in the summer. Clichy may be 30, but you're never too old to develop. Pep Guardiola has something to work with.