Carlos Tevez scored for the first time in 11 months as Manchester City sparked back into life to keep their faint title hopes alive tonight.
Sergio Aguero struck twice and David Silva was on target in a routine defeat of West Brom as City, perhaps belatedly, showed why they were once firm favourites for the Barclays Premier League crown.
Manchester United's failure to beat Wigan meant the gap at the top was cut to five points, and with a derby to come the game may not yet be up, but it could still be too little too late.
City suffered an apparently fatal blow to their title chances as they slumped to defeat at Arsenal on Sunday but they lived up to promises to go down fighting as they returned to the Etihad Stadium.
For much of the game they were a side far removed from the tension-ridden one of recent weeks and played much more like the carefree team they were in the autumn.
City were without injured lynchpin Yaya Toure while the suspended Mario Balotelli was present only in an executive box.
Tevez's first start since his much-publicised dispute with the club gave the side a different look while West Brom, making five changes after manager Roy Hodgson claimed they were virtually safe, offered little.
They was a further change in the middle as referee Lee Mason, involved in controversy in United's weekend win over QPR, was replaced by Kevin Friend.
City began well with Aguero breaking into the box in the opening minutes and cutting back, only to have his shot blocked.
The opener came after just six minutes as Aguero collected the ball midway inside the West Brom half and ran diagonally towards goal before lashing in a low shot past Ben Foster from 25 yards.
City looked back to their best as Aguero and Samir Nasri combined to set up Tevez, but he blasted over.
The fit-again Silva, whose outstanding early season form has tailed off in recent months, then skipped into the area and beat Foster only to get in a tangle with Tevez.
Silva linked better with Tevez moments later but Foster parried his close-range shot.