City where they’d left off before the international break with another blistering performance, this time against Stoke.
The goal-crazy Blues thrashed the Potters 7-2, inspired by a performance of pure genius by Kevin De Bruyne who had a hand in four of the goals and was inspirational throughout.
Gabriel Jesus (2), plus goals for Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Leroy Sane, Fernandinho and Bernardo Silva undid Stoke who had briefly threatened a comeback with strikes either side of the break.
There were no signs of rust from the two-week break since the victory over Chelsea.
Pep Guardiola named an unchanged starting XI from the win at Stamford Bridge, though there was the welcome return of Sergio Aguero on the bench.
The first opportunity of the afternoon came after eight minutes when De Bruyne found Sane free in the box but the German winger went for power and somehow blasted well over from six yards.
The Blues, knocking the ball around with supreme confidence, continued to dissect the Potters’ defence and it seemed inevitable the breakthrough would come sooner rather than later – and on 17 minutes it finally did.
Sterling intercepted a rare Stoke foray forward, played a pass to De Bruyne who waited until Kyle Walker had powered past him before playing the ball to him and Walker’s perfect cross found Gabriel Jesus who made no mistake from close range.
Two minutes later and the Blues had doubled the lead with a mesmerising move that sliced Stoke apart.
A series of incisive passes seemed to be about to end when De Bruyne collected the ball from Sane on the edge of the box, but as the Belgian shaped to shoot, he instead played a disguised return to Sane who squared it to Sterling who couldn’t miss from eight yards out.
In the blink of an eye City had breathing space and it was no more than the Premier League leaders deserved, though, as we are learning, there was no way the visitors were going to be let off the hook from a team revelling in the nickname ‘Shark Team’, as christened by Benjamin Mendy.
The Blues’ third goal in ten minutes came when a combination of Jesus and Sane created a chance for Sterling who instead of shooting, squared the ball to Silva who initially stumbled before poking the ball home.