Manchester City shook off the impression of a COVID-19 outbreak within their ranks to outclass Chelsea 3-1 in Stamford Bridge and put themselves firmly in the Premier League title mix on Sunday.
City supervisor Pep Guardiola had 6 players unavailable after great tests but his team responded in scintillating style with goals by Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne dismantling Chelsea found in 16 first-half minutes.
After that it sensed like damage limitation for a subdued Chelsea side whose season is unravelling alarmingly after a strong begin, although substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi did grab a stoppage-time consolation goal.
City's vintage screen lifted them to fifth found in the table with 29 points, four in back of joint leaders Liverpool and Manchester United having played a single game less.
A fourth defeat in six league video games leaves Chelsea in eighth place with 26 tips having played two video games more than City.
Great COVID tests robbed Guardiola of Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus, Ferran Torres and keeper Ederson for the 1st game of the brand new year.
There was as well the matter of Benjamin Mendy breaking COVID-19 protocols, although he was on the City bench.
Initially City looked vulnerable but when De Bruyne missed a sitter in the 15th minute it sparked them into life and Chelsea were swept aside with ease.
City are unbeaten found in seven league games and also have conceded only two goals in that run, scoring 14.
"After five or ten minutes we determined our rhythm," stated De Bruyne, who was simply instrumental in City's best moments. "From then on we played very well and took our chances at the proper time.
"We play a little differently this year but the team is locating the rhythm in the last month."
Chelsea supervisor Frank Lampard now faces the duty of trying to draw his area out of a good nosedive which has silenced all talk of a title challenge.
De Bruyne must have given City the lead when he was played on by a superb pass from Joao Cancelo but the Belgian dragged his shot agonisingly vast of the much post.
3 minutes later though City went in advance as Foden played the ball sideways to Gundogan who developed a silky turn before firing a right-footed shot earlier Edouard Mendy.
City doubled their lead found in the 21st minute when De Bruyne threaded a good pass directly into Foden who exactly finished clinically.
The wheels really fell of the Chelsea wagon in the 34th minute when De Bruyne headed a ball out and Raheem Sterling had half the distance of the pitch at his mercy with Chelsea's defence desperately trying to reel him in.
Sterling looked to possess over-elaborated seeing that he was forced vast but eventually turned to thud a shot against the post with the ball rebounding to De Bruyne who coolly slotted home.
Chelsea enjoyed even more possession in the next half with City content to take up on the break nonetheless they looked a good forlorn side and rarely tested City's American goalie Zack Steffen who was simply building his Premier League debut instead of Ederson.
The only blot on City's copybook was the later goal by Hudson-Odoi who turned in a cross from Kai Havertz.