Sergio Aguero’s brace ended Pep Guardiola’s worst run as a manager as Manchester City turned on the style with a 4-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Aguero has been linked with a move away from City after being dropped for a Champions League tie at Barcelona recently, but he underlined his value with clinical first-half goals at the Hawthorns.
The Argentine forward, who had gone six games without a goal, then turned provider for Ilkay Gundogan on 79 minutes before the latter sealed it in the closing moments.
Victory ended City’s six-match winless run in all competitions and was the perfect preparation for their Champions League clash with Guardiola’s former side Barcelona on Tuesday.
City, who made eight changes from Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in the League Cup, rarely looked in danger and controlled much of the game as they matched their biggest Premier League win of the season.
West Brom forced the first opening when Nacer Chadli’s first-time effort swerved away from goal after Craig Dawson won the ball on the byline and Salomon Rondon teed him up.
City responded with a floated effort from Raheem Sterling that forced a save from Ben Foster and the visitors had the ball in the net in the ninth minute when Aguero squared for Nolito to tap home, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
City began to exert control and forced two chances in quick succession.
First Sterling tested Foster with a fierce volley that was palmed away, then John Stones produced a glaring miss after being left free from Nolito’s cross, firing wide from five yards out.
Given the pressure from the visitors, it was no surprise when City took the lead.
Gundogan split the Baggies defence as Aguero peeled off his man and slotted home across Foster from an acute angle.