Awesome Aguero hitting form at right time
Pellegrini's City have players back on form at important stage of the season
MAN CITY 4
(Fabian Delph 22, Sergio Aguero 41, 69, David Silva 84)
CRYSTAL PALACE 0
Timing is everything for Manchester City, just ask Sergio Aguero.
Not content with playing a starring role in Roberto Mancini's side that delivered a first English Premier League title to the Etihad Stadium, the Argentinian again has history in his sights.
The current signs suggest that the blue half of Manchester could be celebrating a third league crown in the space of five seasons by the close of play on May 15.
Aguero remains English football's box office attraction, even at a time when he has struggled to string together a run of match-winning performances.
Eight goals all season - five of them coming against Newcastle United - belied the quality of last year's Golden Boot winner.
He had failed to find the target more than once in his previous five EPL outings for Manuel Pellegrini's side. That all changed last night when City put Crystal Palace to the sword in a 4-0 mauling.
Aguero struck twice, and he is hitting the right notes at an opportune time, as City step up their assault on the Premiership summit.
Goals, assists and perennial menace; he has returned with a vengeance.
Against Palace, City showed the hallmarks of a side capable of holding their own at the business end of the season.
Aguero was not alone in finding form at the right time.
He was aided by Kelechi Iheanacho; another player who has rediscovered his swagger in an already burgeoning career.
Few would have envisaged such a partnership even after Iheanacho his injury-time heroics, after replacing Aguero, in the corresponding fixture back in September.
Simplicity is a trait virtually unbecoming of the modern City.
Virtually every facet of life at the Etihad is defined by sparkle; it has become a prerequisite in an era bankrolled by Abu Dhabi's petrodollar fortune.
It was a fact typified by the combination of Aguero, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Kevin de Bruyne, which saw their third goal arrive at a cumulative cost of £141 million ($291m).
But the EPL's most lavishly assembled squad are also discovering that those boasting substance, rather than style, can also play key roles.
Pellegrini's decision in electing for Fabian Delph to anchor his midfield over Toure was akin to replacing a Range Rover with a Mini Cooper, but the England international offered a compelling case to retain the role ahead of the Ivorian powerhouse.
A long-range strike, though slightly fortuitous, appeared to have been ripped from Toure's playbook in both its execution and marauding prelude.
Though the defensive stability afforded by the dethroned African Player of the Year was somewhat lacking, Pellegrini no longer has to agonise as he maps out City's route to the top.
He knows the race for the title remains far from decided.
His stellar side has made sure of that by failing to translate its quality in depth into a tangible level of dominance.
The contenders are all bounced together, with Tottenham Hotspur threatening to join Arsenal and Leicester in pushing them to the wire.
Aided by a hungry Aguero, a fellow South American, Pellegrini has a renewed licence to dream again.
Bournemouth 3 Norwich 0
Chelsea 3 Everton 3
Newcastle 2 West Ham 1
Southampton 3 West Brom 0
Tottenham 4 Sunderland 1
BY THE NUMBERS
Sergio Aguero has now scored against 25 of the 28 teams he has faced in the Premier League.