A deadly double from David Silva saw Manchester City to a 2-0 victory over Fulham and to within four points of table-topping Manchester United.
City's Spanish playmaker opened the scoring with just 95 seconds on the clock at the Etihad Stadium, with an Edin Dzeko effort from the edge of the box parried into his path by Mark Schwarzer.
Silva's second of the afternoon arrived on 69 minutes, with a flowing move involving Gael Clichy and Carlos Tevez expertly finished off with a composed finish which glanced in off the post.
City looked to be in confident mood from the off and made a blistering start as Dzeko took up an early attack and was allowed to shoot from 25 yards. Schwarzer parried his fierce effort but Fulham had been caught short and Silva followed up to rifle in the rebound.
Fulham were unable to get anything going in response and Gareth Barry took command in midfield.
James Milner started to come into the game on the City right and linked well with Pablo Zabaleta before floating an inviting cross into the box but it dropped inches over Tevez's head.
The game went quiet as Fulham tried to take the pace out of City but the hosts still looked the most likely side and Tevez raced across the area before having a shot blocked by Brede Hangeland.
Fulham played a patient game and tried to build slowly but it yielded little until just after the half hour when Damien Duff found room on the right. Steve Sidwell got free at the back post and was picked out by a good cross from Duff but his glancing header struck the outside of the post.
Fulham made a positive start to the second half as they created a chance for Sidwell outside the area but he sliced well wide and City upped the tempo.
City saw Zabaleta, their only fit right-back, forced off shortly after the hour mark, but were able to cope without him for the rest of the afternoon and doubled their lead soon after his exit following some brilliant play by Tevez and Silva.
The Spaniard started the move, finding Clichy out wide and the left-back's pass inside was cleverly flicked back into Silva's path by Tevez. Silva then did the rest, running into the area and hitting a delicate left-foot lob over Schwarzer to score off the post.
The crowd were still celebrating the goal when Silva went close to claiming a hat-trick, running through in almost identical fashion but this time rolling a low shot inches wide of the far post.
Thereafter City were never in any danger and played plenty of possession football and almost carved out chances at will. Dzeko should have scored a third in injury time but somehow scooped over from six yards with the goal at his mercy.