Sergio Aguero's 23rd goal of the season helped Manchester City reclaim third place in the Premier League thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win at struggling Sunderland on Sunday.
A fifth goal in three games from the in-form Argentina international, whose future at the club has been clouded by the recent impact of the now injured Gabriel Jesus, paved the way for City's seventh victory in eight unbeaten games.
The win left Pep Guardiola's side a point behind second-placed Tottenham Hotspur and eight adrift of leaders Chelsea.
Not for the first time, Aguero's finishing instincts in front of goal embellished what was never more than a workmanlike display.
City's top scorer was denied a late second goal by keeper Jordan Pickford after Leroy Sane put the result beyond doubt by doubling his side's advantage just before the hour when the German midfielder rounded-off a counter-attack to score for the third consecutive game.
Sunderland's problems continued as they stretched their unwanted league run to just one victory in 10, a sequence which has seen them take just five points from the last possible 30 to leave them six points adrift of safety going into the final 10 games of the season.
Aguero struck at the end of a first half where the hosts carved out the better openings, but were made to pay for not taking their chances.
Three minutes of the opening period remained when Yaya Toure broke from the Sunderland half to feed David Silva, whose ball found Raheem Sterling wide on the right. The winger's deflected low cross should have been cleared, but Aguero beat his marker, Lamine Kone, to the ball to send a deft first-time touch into the net at Pickford's near post.
Harry Kane extended his hot streak with a blistering brace as Tottenham beat Everton 3-2 to close the gap on leaders Chelsea to seven points on Sunday.
Earlier, Kane opened the scoring with a thunderous first-half strike at White Hart Lane and netted again after the break to take his goal tally to 24 in 28 games this season.