Courtesy of a performance completely contrasted with the efforts we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in recent weeks, Manchester City demolished an on-song Bournemouth to reassert themselves in the race for fourth place.
The 4-0 Vitality Stadium victory placed a three-point buffer between themselves and fifth, though that will be eradicated should arch rivals Manchester United beat Everton on Sunday.
Nevertheless, the emphatic win on the south coast will have done enough to re-inflate the spirits of any supporters who thought they might miss out on Champions League football next term, but it promises much more.
The decimation of the Cherries also served as a throwback to 12 months ago, when the Citizens snapped a sour streak of form just before the campaign petered out to finish with a flourish.
In the spring of 2015, with the Premier League title lost, City spiraled to six losses from eight matches, culminating in a 4-2 mid-April defeat to Man Utd that prompted questions over whether they could claim a top-four finish.
Following that loss, Manuel Pellegrini’s men went on the rampage, winning six successive games, conceding in just two of them, to salvage a Premier League silver medal.
A year on, it appears the United-defeat defibrillator has once again jumpstarted their season – the free-scoring showing at Bournemouth represented a return to normalcy from a team that hadn’t found the net in three successive matches and, as a result, had drifted out to odds-against pre-match.
Sergio Aguero’s return to the scoresheet was also a warning shot for those chasing fourth – the Argentine rediscovered his best form at this stage last season, with seven goals in his final half-dozen games.
The only difference between this campaign and the previous one, however, is City remain in the hunt for club football’s greatest prize – the Champions League.
Last term, there was nothing to play for when they embarked on their surge to second. This time around, the biggest pot in the business is up for grabs.
With a trip to Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter finals of said competition on the horizon, another City trail of destruction akin to the one shown last season may well see them claim the continental crown and they have Manchester United to thank for it.