For the first 20 minutes of this encounter, any onlooker would be hard-pressed deciding who the Premiership side was.
Buoyant from their deserved draw in the earlier fixture at Meadow Lane, Notts County were bright, exciting and harried a slow-starting City side. With the woodwork denying Karl Hawley and some last ditch defending combined with poor finishing, County were unfortunate not to take a shock lead.
However, after these sloppy 20 minutes were over, the guessing over the Premier League side became apparent with City`s clinical nature and the added experience of FA Cup legend Patrick Vieira proving the difference in a rather flattering 5-0 victory.
Vieira`s performance was hardly inspiring, in fact at times he was a liability as we struggled. Nevertheless, as was the case in last week`s Manchester derby the goal-scorer and resulting winner of the fixture wasn`t the most inspirational figure, but I wonder if he`ll be named man of the match and receiving ridiculous plaudits over his performance.
If Vieira did struggle to match the tenacity and pace of County`s midfielders, he contributed to the match and result in the way the other 19 outfield players were struggling to do.
As is the case, David Silva dictated and danced through the midfield and it was the Spaniard`s delightfully whipped in corner that began the downfall of the League 1 side.
Feeling a slight injustice for the failure to award a penalty, Silva stepped up and delivered superbly for Vieira to bundle the ball home.
Despite failing to excite the lowly home crowd, City`s dominance began to show with chances falling for the blues.
Similar to the opening goal, City doubled their lead with the same provider and unlikely goal-scorer. Another corner led to the visitor`s downfall with Vieira powering through and heading home.
Balotelli might have felt slightly unfortunate to be on the wrong end of powering through, but after a clash of heads the wounded and lackadaisical Italian was withdrawn for the imperious Carlos Tevez.
After disappointing and frustrating for the majority of the game, City- with the notable inclusion of Tevez- were resurgent and in the end to clever for the brave away side.
A crazy and action-packed last five minutes- where the differences between County`s and City`s fitness levels were highlighted- ensured a close encounter turned into a rout.
It came as no surprise that Tevez was the architect of everything sublime and the striker netted an unbelievable 50th goal for the club when he rounded County keeper Nelson and slotted home.
The Argentine again rampaged forward five minutes later and with Edin Dzeko slightly lacking in confidence, Tevez gladly found the Bosnian to head home.
City`s scoring wasn`t quite finished as the full-time whistle approached, Micah Richards after performing excellently recently, finished emphatically to score City`s fifth and confirm Villa`s arrival in the 5th round.
When called upon he was on hand.
Is fast becoming the permanent right back. Hopefully his injuries die down and he continues to perform at this high standard.
Often looks the liability in defence.
Always energetic and gives 100%.
His performance at times was below par, but he scored the opening two goals to kick-start City.
Didn’t add too much.
Always performs admirably.
Wasn’t his greatest performance, but he tried to test the full back with his dangerous crossing.
Didn’t look too impressed or interested playing against League 1 opposition.
Is getting in to the game more and more.
Completely changed City for the last 30 minutes. His 50 goals have transformed the club full stop.
Had very little to do, but as is the case with Barry he does things un-noticed. Is it a co-incidence three goals were scored after he came on?