Quickfire goals from Yaya Toure and Kelechi Iheanacho helped inspire Manchester City to a hard-fought 3-0 Premier League success over a spirited Hull City on Boxing Day.
With Chelsea racking up a club-record 12th consecutive league victory courtesy of a 3-0 success over Bournemouth earlier on Monday, Pep Guardiola’s side came into this meeting at the KCOM Stadium 10 points behind the leaders.
Guardiola, unfamiliar with football over the festive period during his spells with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, had his players in for training on Christmas Day and they were presented with the chance for the opening goal in the 72nd minute when Andrew Robertson recklessly felled Raheem Sterling in the area and Toure duly converted the penalty.
That indiscretion undid all the good work Hull had put in up until that stage and the lead was doubled six minutes later as Iheanacho tapped in following good work from Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva.
Harshly, it was 3-0 in stoppage time when Sterling jinked his way into the area before seeing his cross diverted home by Hull defender Curtis Davies.
Hull - now with one win in 16 league games - can take heart from a largely spirited display that included Michael Dawson seeing a header cleared off the line at 0-0, but Mike Phelan’s men remain rooted to the foot of the table.
Victory means Guardiola’s side go second, two points ahead of Liverpool and Arsenal - the former of whom they visit on New Year's Eve - while Hull’s next assignment is a home clash with Everton on Friday.
The visitors dominated possession in the early stages and Toure saw a free-kick tipped behind by David Marshall, before John Stones suffered a knee injury, later announced as not serious, and had to be replaced by Aleksandar Kolarov.
Silva brought a comfortable save from Marshall with a low shot while, at the other end, Jake Livermore's powerful effort was straight at Claudio Bravo.
Harry Maguire hooked Tom Huddlestone's free-kick over the crossbar with Bravo stranded as Hull began the second period in encouraging fashion.
That positivity was almost punctured, though, as De Bruyne's disguised effort from 20 yards crashed into the base of Marshall's right-hand post.
Hull continued to pose a threat from set-pieces with Robert Snodgrass' dangerous free-kick bundled behind and, from the resulting corner, Bacary Sagna had to clear off the line from Dawson's header with Bravo caught in no-man's land.
And Sagna's intervention was given added significance as the game entered its final 20 minutes, Robertson clumsily bringing down Sterling which allowed Toure to calmly score his third of the season.
With Hull deflated, De Bruyne slipped in Silva, whose square ball laid the second on a plate for Iheanacho to tap home and to compound Hull's misery Davies diverted Sterling's low cross into his own net with the final act as Guardiola's men secured a third straight win.