Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus were on target as Manchester City underpinned their status as Premier League title favourites with a dominant 3-1 beating of an outclassed Arsenal.
Belgium international De Bruyne continued a sublime season by beating Petr Cech with a well-placed shot during a first half completely controlled by the home side at the Etihad Stadium.
Aguero, who became City’s all-time club-record goalscorer in the 4-2 Champions League beating of Napoli, then completed a memorable week with City’s second from the penalty spot early in the second half.
Substitute Alexandre Lacazette briefly restored hope for Arsenal, but Jesus – who also came off the bench – ended hope of what would have been an unfair comeback.
It was a more-than-deserved three points for City, whose mesmeric play, lightning speed and swift movement left Arsenal with no reply, and in truth the scoreline could have been worse had Aguero not missed an early chance and Sterling showed more composure in a two-on-one.
City, who had beaten Arsenal just once in nine competitive matches prior to this fixture, have now stretched their unbeaten run to 23 matches and lead the Premier League by eight points from Manchester United, albeit that gap will be cut back down if the Red Devils beat champions Chelsea.
From Arsenal’s perspective, the season may only be in November but a 12-point deficit to City appears insurmountable on this evidence for Arsene Wenger’s men.
Aguero nearly stretched his new club record in just the second minute when he fired wide of the right post at the end of a frightening counter-attack started by a mislaid pass from Alexis Sanchez, who but for some failed last-minute deadline-day deals may have been lining up for City in this fixture.
The visiting goal was living a charmed life as another lightning break saw Aguero slip in Leroy Sane, whose ball across the face of goal needed just a touch from Sterling.
It was with a certain sense of inevitability that City opened the scoring in the 19th minute.
Cech had just saved a De Bruyne snapshot, but possession was quickly regained and the Belgian played a neat one-two with Fernandinho before stroking a left-foot shot into the bottom-right corner for City’s 50th goal in all competitions this season.