Game recap: City 5 Sunderland 0

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Patrick Viera of Manchester City is congratulated by his team mates after scoring his team's fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Sunderland at the City of Manchester Stadium on April 3, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

At this stage of the season, it is not necessarily the performances that are important. With only eight games remaining in the Premier League it is points, not plaudits, that count and with Saturday's results going in City's favour it was imperative that nothing less than all three were picked up.

That said, the manner in which the side gained victory against Sunderland can only serve to provide much-needed confidence and momentum as the side head towards the final stretch of the season, a period that could see them land not only a top four finish but also get their hands on silverware.

In truth it was comfortable victory. Once Carlos Tevez slotted home (again, rather unconvincing) from the spot to put City 2-0 up the game was as good as over. Put simply, City do not lose once they have manouevered themselves into a position of strength such as the one they managed barely fifteen minutes in.

Roberto Mancini may have expected a tough game, but his selection hinted at the need to attack, to start fast and strike early. Here was an opportunity to not only put real distance between his side and Tottenham, but also to regain lost ground on Chelsea (and to a lesser extent) Arsenal.

The second half, once David Silva neatly poked a rebound home, was effectively a canter. Further goals from Vieira and Yaya Toure followed as the game wore on, City taking not only the points but the platitudes from all and sundry as they mirrored the margin of victory that managed exactly a year previously at Burnley.

There were a number of excellent performances on show: The Lescott/Kompany parternship is growing), particularly after Gyan gave Lescott the runaround in midweek and now possesses five clean sheets in the past eight games (compared to one in five prior to Lescott's recall in the derby at Old Trafford. The colossal presence of Nigel de Jong was again on display and the attacking quartet was in complete harmony.

The formation suited the side well, freeing both Yaya Toure and David Silva into more comfortable roles. We will not see this happen every week (and nor should we, and this will change at Liverpool where a point would be considered a good return) but particularly at home in games where City have struggled to penetrate doughty opposition, Mancini may have struck upon the best option.

But what most in evidence was the impact Adam Johnson had on the side. For all of the riches and talent Mancini can call upon, Johnson does offer something that no other player can - being the ‘difference maker' as Mancini has referred to him as. Possessing the ability to play as a ‘traditional' winger, he can also attack the goal in direct fashion and has a real eye for the net (as shown with the opener).

Overcoming injury sooner than expected, his return to the side at this vital stage of the season could well provide the extra impetus the side needs to go on and achieve success.

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