Manchester City produced a ruthless attacking display to ease past Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and increase the pressure on Blues manager Frank Lampard.
The visitors, who were without a number of first-team players following an outbreak of coronavirus at the club, stunned Lampard’s side with three goals in the space of 16 first-half minutes.
Ilkay Gundogan’s crisp low finish broke the deadlock before Phil Foden doubled City’s lead three minutes later, tucking a superb first-time strike beyond Edouard Mendy after fine work from Kevin de Bruyne.
The Belgian then deservedly got his name on the scoresheet with a close-range finish after Raheem Sterling’s curling strike had rebounded off the woodwork.
Callum Hudson-Odoi scored in second-half stoppage time for Chelsea, firing Kai Havertz’s cross beyond Premier League debutant Zack Steffen.
The result lifts City up to fifth in the table, four points off Liverpool and Manchester United, and with a game in hand on both their rivals.
This was City’s first game in eight days following the Covid-enforced postponement of their Premier League match with Everton on 28 December.
They were given the go-ahead to reopen their training ground this week but were without Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson, Ferran Torres, Eric Garcia and Tommy Doyle for the trip to Stamford Bridge.
Benjamin Mendy, who breached coronavirus regulations by hosting a New Year’s Eve dinner party, was one of only eight City substitutes in west London.
After a period of early Chelsea pressure, the visitors soon stamped their authority on the game and raced into a comfortable lead with two superbly taken goals.
Gundogan finished low into the far corner after turning Thiago Silva on the edge of the area, before Foden produced a magnificent finish from De Bruyne’s pass.
De Bruyne, who had earlier fired wide when a one-on-one with Mendy, made it 3-0 before Gundogan nearly added a fourth with a deft flick from Foden’s low ball.
The chances continued to flow in the second half as Rodri’s firm header forced Mendy into an excellent one-handed save, tipping the Spanish midfielder’s firm header over the crossbar.
At the other end, USA international goalkeeper Steffen was barely troubled until Hudson-Odoi’s late consolation.
No side has conceded fewer Premier League goals this season than City’s 13, but this scintillating display proves Guardiola’s side have not lost any of their attacking prowess.