Mario Balotelli smashed a hat-trick as Manchester City thumped out-of-form Aston Villa 4-0 at Eastlands.
The controversial Italian striker - condemned by manager Roberto Mancini for his poor attitude and supposedly struggling to cope with life in Manchester - was recalled to the starting XI because of concerns over the fitness of Carlos Tevez, and set City on their way in the eighth minute with a penalty after he was tripped by Eric Lichaj.
Before Villa - who have slumped down the table after four defeats in five games - could recover, they were trailing 2-0 on 13 minutes when Joleon Lescott's header from a corner was deemed to have crossed the line, despite the efforts of midfielder Barry Bannan.
Roberto Mancini's men all but secured three points when Balotelli struck again from close range on 27 minutes after Brad Friedel had saved from David Silva.
Balotelli (55) completed his hat-trick from the spot at the start of the second half after Adam Johnson had been fouled by Marc Albrighton.