They were on a completely different planet to West Brom.
City were magnificent at the Hawthorns, sweeping aside West Brom with embarrassing ease to regain top spot while playing their best football since the back-to-back title wins of 2018 and 2019.
This time it was Ilkay Gundogan, arguably enjoying his best season in a City shirt, who orchestrated the victory with two goals and it was so comfortable he was taken off early in the second half with his job done for the night.
Gundogan has now scored nine goals in all competitions this season, his previous best was seven which came last season and his form until now has almost gone under the radar.
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That is easily done when City have so much talent at their disposal that they almost take it in turns as to who will be the star of the show each week.
Phil Foden ran the show at Cheltenham in the FA Cup, Bernardo Silva was man of the match against Aston Villa last week and, even without a fully fit Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, they are scoring goals for fun and playing some super stuff.
Gundogan pressed and closed down, Joao Cancelo was superb from right-back, Bernardo Silva’s work rate was frightening and Riyad Mahrez contributed with a typical goal, jinking in from the wing.
City were exhilarating, tearing West Brom to shreds and, while Sam Allardyce was fuming over an offside controversy on the second goal, nothing should detract from Pep Guardiola’s masterclass.
Sian Massey-Ellis, widely regarded as the best assistant official in the Premier League, got it horribly wrong when she put her flag up which linesmen and women are no longer supposed to do.
But West Brom should still have played to the whistle, Big Sam fumed that a VAR review then ruled Bernardo was played onside by Darrell Furlong before playing the ball to Cancelo who scored.
Allardyce went on a foul-mouthed rant at the officials, claiming that his defenders had stopped and the flag should have not gone up.
But the truth is that West Brom stopped playing a long time ago. Sometime in the autumn probably. The decision to sack Slaven Bilic after a 1-1 draw at City in mid-December was made to look pretty stupid by this humiliation.
And this defeat will do nothing for their confidence because City just had them chasing shadows all night and they are back to painting beautiful pictures again, the sort of football we feared might be a thing of the past under Guardiola.
But Pep’s men are back. Their first sign of intent came after six minutes. Cancelo played a nice ball forward, Gundogan’s first touch was sublime, it made him the space to float a 20 yard shot past West Brom keeper Sam Johnstone and into the far corner.
The second goal followed with a touch of controversy but it was still a lovely finish by Cancelo. The third was about City’s pressing as Jake Livermore put Romaine Sawyers under pressure, Gundogan nicked the ball, went past Dara O’Shea before steering his shot home.
It was four in first half injury time, Mahrez cutting in from the right before unleashing a left foot shot into the far corner.
City made it five after 57 minutes with a goal straight out of the Guardiola text book. Rodri floated a ball over the top, Mahrez cut it back for Raheem Sterling to complete the win.
Manchester United can regain top spot on Wednesday night but it is little wonder City remain red-hot favourites.