To cruise past Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and increase the pressure on manager Frank Lampard, Manchester City created a ruthless attacking display.
The visitors, who were missing several first-team players following a club coronavirus outbreak, shocked Chelsea in 16 first-half minutes with three goals.
The crisp low finish of Ilkay Gundogan broke the deadlock and three minutes later, Phil Foden doubled City’s lead, tucking a superb first-time strike beyond Edouard Mendy after Kevin de Bruyne’s fine work.
After the curling shot of Raheem Sterling had rebounded off the woodwork, De Bruyne deservedly got his name on the scoresheet with a close-range finish.
In second-half stoppage time for Chelsea, Callum Hudson-Odoi scored, firing Kai Havertz’s cross beyond Premier League debutant Zack Steffen.
The result pushed City to fifth in the table, with a game in hand on both, four points from Liverpool and Manchester United.
Chelsea, who would have gone to the top if Everton were beaten on December 12, fell to eighth.
This was the first game for City in eight days following the postponement of their league match with Everton on 28 December by Covid-enforced.
This week, they were given the go-ahead to open their training ground again, but against Chelsea, they were without Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson, Ferran Torres, Eric Garcia, and Tommy Doyle.
Benjamin Mendy, who violated coronavirus laws by holding a New Year’s Eve dinner party, was one of only eight City substitutes.
The visitors soon stamped their influence on the game after a time of early Chelsea pressure and raced into a commanding lead with two superbly achieved goals.
After turning Thiago Silva on the edge of the area, Gundogan finished low into the far corner, before Foden created a magnificent finish from De Bruyne’s pass.
Operating in a ‘false nine’ spot, De Bruyne made it 3-0 before Gundogan almost added a fourth with a deft flick from the low ball of Foden.
In the second half, the chances started to flow as Rodri’s firm header moved Mendy into an outstanding one-handed save over the bar.