Manchester City closed the gap with Liverpool at the top of the table thanks to Raheem Sterling's stunning second-half performance against Aston Villa.
Gabriel Jesus missed the chance to open the scoring inside the opening five minutes, and that spurred Aston Villa on to take a foothold in the match.
Dean Smith's side caused a handful of problems on the counter-attack during the early stages of the match, while City and Villa both saw penalty appeals waved away by the match officials and then again by the Video Assistant Referee.
VAR checks for a penalty that they will never give. They haven't awarded one all season— 🅼🅹🅱 (@Lonegunnerr) October 26, 2019
Manchester City began to grow more frustrated as the first half went on, often being guilty of overplaying the ball in the final third or ending promising team moves with a disappointing final pass.
Pep Guardiola's side pushed for an opening goal before the break and created their best chance when David Silva had a chance from the edge of the area, but the Spaniard dragged his shot wide of the far post with the last chance of the half.
David Silva has to score that! Best chance of the half missed!— City Chief (@City_Chief) October 26, 2019
HUGE miss by David Silva then!— Fantasy Hub (@FantasyFootyHub) October 26, 2019
It was a first half of very few chances, but Raheem Sterling needed just 20 seconds after the restart to finally break the deadlock at the Etihad.
Gabriel Jesus got the better of Tyrone Mings in an aerial battle which released Sterling through on goal, and the England international slotted the ball underneath Tom Heaton to put City into the lead.
RAHEEM STERLING WORLD CLASS— Jake Ankers (@Jake_Ankers) October 26, 2019
The best player in English football strikes again.— Mase (@Utd_Mas) October 26, 2019
What a finish Raheem Sterling
Mings might have made an error which allowed Sterling to open the scoring, but the England defender then provided one of the best pieces of defending you'll see in the Premier League this season.
Jesus forced his way into the area and squeezed a shot past Heaton, but Mings raced back to the line and somehow deflected Jesus' effort over the crossbar with his thigh.
Having been at fault for the first goal, Tyrone Mings has just made an incredible clearance off the line to prevent a second goal.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) October 26, 2019
Tyrone Mings 👏🏽— Adam Brooks (@EssexPR) October 26, 2019
But Villa's joy was short-lived as Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva combined to double City's lead.
With the visitors struggling to keep Manchester City out, the Video Assistant Referee tried their luck with a lengthy review of the goal, but Silva's clever finish was eventually allowed to stand and the hosts earned some breathing space.
It was the right decision, although that didn't stop some of the usual suspects on Twitter kicking up a fuss.
Should be disallowed... Sterling is interfering in the keepers eyeline— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) October 26, 2019
Raheem Sterling offside, Heaton obviously has Sterling's movement in his mind before deciding if he dives or stays on his feet. That's horrendous from VAR.— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) October 26, 2019
That’s a joke. Silva touched that. Silva claimed that - which makes Sterling off-side - interfering. 🤷♂️— Richard Keys (@richardajkeys) October 26, 2019
Manchester City's two-goal lead soon became three when Aston Villa switched off.
An unmarked İlkay Gündoğan was given all the time in the world to volley the ball into the far corner of Heaton's net.
It was a deserved strike for one of City's unsung heroes, who worked tirelessly throughout the match and helped to keep things ticking over when some of his teammates were becoming frustrated in the first half.
Gündogan and Sterling brilliant today. Villa’s setup and personnel good, but the performance needs to be perfect away to Man City and it wasn’t. Not really a criticism, they’re just way too strong.— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) October 26, 2019
No one's saying it enough, Gundogan's been so so so so good today— R🐝 (@2SilvasYouKnow) October 26, 2019
Is that gundogan or Paulo di canio?— 🅚🅐🅘 (@ftbl_kai) October 26, 2019
There wasn't enough time for a fourth goal, but City's makeshift centre-back Fernandinho ended up going for an early bath when he picked up a second yellow card.
The Brazil international will now miss City's Carabao Cup match against Southampton, but Fernandinho will be back in action when Ralph Hasenhüttl visits the Etihad once again next weekend.
That Fernandinho red card has been coming for years. Always makes those little fouls to break play up. Never gets punished.— Tom Holland (@tomholland28) October 26, 2019
Tactical fouls don't work when you're on a booking, Fernandinho...— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) October 26, 2019
Fernandinho off. Silly second yellow card for a tactical foul when his side are 3-0 up— Andy Hampson (@andyhampson) October 26, 2019
Genuinely surprising to see Fernandinho get a second yellow there. For so long he's had that Mark van Bommel knack of not getting booked when others would. Feels like John Gotti finally ending up in prison.— Jack Pitt-Brooke (@JackPittBrooke) October 26, 2019