Five-goal demolition job sets them up nicely for Barca visit
Two points gained on Chelsea, a goal difference disadvantage cut from eight to three, a first clean sheet since before Christmas, Edin Dzeko's first league goal since September, Wilfried Bony introduced and Yaya Touré returned - oh, and Manchester United losing - days do not get much better than this for the followers of Manchester City.
"That's why we're Champions," they sang as Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Samir Nasri orchestrated a stylish 5-0 demolition of a Newcastle United team devoid of personality or purpose.
As a club, Newcastle have been hollowed out under the ownership of Mike Ashley and this is what you get. Gifting City a penalty after less than 30 seconds, Newcastle rolled over as Aguero, Nasri and Dzeko made it 3-0 by the 26th minute.
Silva added a brace quickly after half-time, allowing Manuel Pellegrini to give Bony 30 minutes. But for Tim Krul, Bony would have had a debut goal. Bony's miss hardly dampened the mood as City prepare to host Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday. That might be a bit harder.
Even before kick-off City's day had been a good one. The final score from Stamford Bridge meant that Chelsea's lead could be eaten into with victory, while from farther afield, there was surprisingly promising news from Catalonia, where Barcelona - with Messi, Neymar and Suarez up front - lost 1-0 at home to Malaga.
Afterwards, Edin Dzeko hailed an "amazing game" . Dzeko called Silva the "best player in the Premier League" and then said: "We played an amazing game, knowing we are playing in three days against Barcelona. The fans enjoyed this game and I did too."
On Chelsea's surprising draw with Burnley, Dzeko added: "Just before when we were doing our preparation (we found out). It was positive because this is the first time Chelsea have dropped a point at home this season.
"It was good for us to come into the game knowing if we won we could reduce the points and we were fantastic."
Jose Mourinho, for his part, did a passable impersonation of a smouldering volcano and just about managed to stop short of a full-scale eruption .
Referee Martin Atkinson and Burnley striker Ashley Barnes were the principal objects of his wrath but, by the Chelsea manager's recent standards, his criticism was tempered.
The Premier League leaders seemed to be on course for victory following yet another goal by defender Branislav Ivanovic before Nemanja Matic's temporary loss of control after a dreadful studs-up challenge by Barnes earned him a red card in the 70th minute.
Mourinho blamed Atkinson for denying Chelsea two strong penalty claims and for not punishing Barnes with a red card for two bad first-half fouls.
"This game had four crucial moments, minutes 30, 33, 43 and 69," he said after his team's lead was cut to five points.
"Minute 69 had a big relation to minute 30. Normally the player (Barnes), if I can call him a player, who was involved in minute 69 and was also involved in minute 30, should be in the shower by minute 31.
"Then there would be no minute 69 if the person in charge dealt with minute 30."
Mourinho again spoke of the so-called "campaign" by the authorities that, in his opinion, was undermining Chelsea's title charge.
"A couple of weeks ago, after the Liverpool game in the Capital One Cup, I knew already what was going on with the television talking about 'Diego Costa's crimes'," he said of the stamping challenges which led to a three-match ban for his striker.
"Compare Diego's crimes with what happened today. If this story (campaign), that started a couple of months ago, finished today and we had 12 matches to play with an advantage of five points . . . we would be champions."
Sunday Indo Sport