David Silva opened the scoring for the Premier League champions, before two goals apiece from Argentine strike duo Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez put a rather lop-sided slant on the final scoreline.
A comprehensive victory was enough to take City back to the top of the table, for a few hours at least, while out-of-sorts Villa tumbled into the drop zone as a result of Reading’s victory over Everton.
Roberto Mancini’s men dominated possession throughout, but struggled to break a stubborn Villa defence down during a scrappy first half and left themselves open to counter.
Vincent Kompany almost put through his own net at one stage, but Joe Hart came to his rescue, but City’s pressure finally paid off two minutes before half-time when Villa failed to deal with a Samir Nasri corner and, after seeing the ball ricochet around the box, Silva was in the right place to bundle home.
Paul Lambert likely told his troops at the interval that there was still all to play for, but within nine minutes of the re-start City had doubled their lead in contentious circumstances.
Aguero calmly stroked home from the spot, but the awarding of a penalty for an apparent handball by Andreas Weimann left Villa incensed – with it their opinion that the forward did not make contact with the ball as it fizzed past him.
Villa’s mood went from bad to worse as the afternoon wore on, with seemingly everything going against them right now.
City, though, were now in complete control of the tie and netted twice in the space of as many minutes to wrap up the points.
Tevez rolled home the Blues’ second penalty of the game following a handball by Barry Bannan and Aguero made it four on 67 minutes as he led a swift counter and fired past Brad Guzan at his near post via the aid of a deflection.
The final act of a game bossed by City saw Tevez convert a low cross from Nasri, with the goal left gaping in front of him.
It has been suggested at times this season that City have been performing below their best, but such accusations could not be levelled at them on Saturday and they will be hoping to have ignited their title defence in front of their own supporters.