Spurs headed into the game with the best defensive record in the top flight, but conceded almost from the kick-off before seeing Sergio Aguero score a goal in each half, while Jesus Navas also notched a brace.
City were in front after just 15 seconds when Navas curled a loose ball over the fit-again Hugo Lloris after the Tottenham keeper’s woeful clearance was seized upon by Aguero.
Another poor kick from Lloris led to the second goal on 34 minutes and the Tottenham keeper could again only parry an initial shot from Aguero. This time the ball bounced to Alvaro Negredo, whose acrobatic volley was blocked by Younes Kaboul, but deflected into the net off Sandro.
Spurs were being opened by City nearly every time the hosts ventured forward and the third goal arrived before half-time as Navas ran clear down the right and played in a low cross for Aguero to side-foot beyond an exposed Lloris.
Former City striker Emmanuel Adebayor came on for his first appearance of the season at half-time, but within five minutes, Spurs conceded a fourth goal when Aguero finished first time following Yaya Toure’s burst forward.
The fifth goal arrived on 55 minutes when Negredo’s sharp turn left Michael Dawson scrambling and he thumped his shot beyond Lloris before Navas scored in added time to cap a miserable afternoon for Spurs.
The scale of this damaging loss sent Spurs tumbling down to ninth in the table, the position in which City had begun the afternoon.
City inflicted damage early, with Navas floating home a superb effort from the right side of the area after Aguero’s initial shot had been saved.
The timing of the effort equalled that of Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic’s startling clearance against Southampton earlier in the campaign, although it was short of the Premier League-record 9.9 seconds it took Ledley King to score for Spurs against Bradford in December 2000.
Negredo had a claim on City’s second, again after Aguero had been denied. However, his effort ricocheted off target after striking Kaboul before hitting Sandro and ending up in the back of the net.
It was part of an eventful opening period for Sandro, who was also booked in addition to being sick by the side of the pitch, a condition most Tottenham fans must have felt by half-time.
Given City’s opening two goals had come as a result of misdirected clearances from returning goalkeeper Lloris, at least City’s third was all their own work.
Navas attacked the space Jan Vertonghen was supposed to be dominating after Erik Lamela failed to track his run, then sent a low cross to the edge of the six-yard area where Aguero superbly flicked it into the far corner.
Villas-Boas resisted the temptation to start hauling players off before the break, as West Ham manager Sam Allardyce did at Upton Park against Chelsea on Saturday.
He did, however, introduce Adebayor during the interval. Not that it did much good.
The striker barely touched the ball as City scored twice more within 10 minutes of the restart.
Aguero finished off the first. The credit went to Toure after he collected Negredo’s pass and rampaged through the Tottenham defence before squaring unselfishly for the Argentina international.
Negredo was soon on the scoresheet too, turning Dawson brilliantly after Fernandinho had supplied the pass before drilling past Lloris.
Nasri’s chip flicked the bar, and Toure fired over as the visitors’ defence opened up again.
At the other end, Costel Pantilimon had little to do, which does not bode well for Joe Hart getting his place back any time soon.
The match ended as it had started, Navas on target again to condemn Tottenham to their worst defeat since a 7-1 hammering at Newcastle almost 17 years ago.