Manchester City completed a 3-0 win over Hull on Boxing Day – a result that moved them up to second in the Premier League table.
It was the first of four matches in the space of 11 days, with City heading to Liverpool next on New Year’s Eve. They then host Burnley on January 2, before travelling to West Ham in the third round of the FA Cup four days later.
It’s a difficult schedule but with City on a run of three straight wins with just one goal conceded, they will be confident of emerging from it with some positive results.
Club journalist Rob Pollard has taken a look back over the win at the KCOM Stadium and picked out a few talking points.
1Yaya Toure the star of the show
There were a number of man-of-the-match candidates by the end of the game – but Yaya Toure stood out above the rest and deserves the praise coming his way.
He controlled the game, with his passing quality too much for Hull to deal with.
Strength, drive, creativity and significant defensive contribution – this was a superb display from a player who was on the fringes of the first team earlier in the season.
It’s great to have Yaya back to his dominant best and he looks set to have a key role in the second half of the campaign.
From his last 19 shots on target in the Premier League, Kelechi Iheanacho has scored 12 goals. That, by anyone’s standards, is hugely impressive.
The Nigerian is lethal. He now boasts the best goals-per-minute ratio in Premier League history, with his goal at Hull moving Sergio Aguero off top spot.
With City set to welcome Aguero back for the game with Liverpool and with Gabriel Jesus’ January arrival, Pep Guardiola certainly won’t be lacking firepower in the new year.
3 Unlucky Stones
John Stones started having being out of the side for City’s previous two games – but he was soon carried off after taking a blow to the knee.
But Guardiola confirmed afterwards it wasn’t a serious setback. "He had a huge kick in his knee,” he said. “He could not run and that’s why we changed. Now when you see his knee it is swollen – but it is just a kick, not ligaments or anything."
Let’s hope we see him back sooner rather than later.
4Tough at the top
City’s win means they are second – but Liverpool could go back above them if they win their game in hand and Chelsea remain seven points clear.
There’s no doubt this season will end up being one of the tightest title races in years. City just need to keep doing what they have been doing: winning their games and putting as much pressure on their rivals as possible.