Manchester City ended a stellar year on a high note by beating a battling Sheffield United side to move within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Rodri gave the defending champions an early breakthrough when he latched on to Phil Foden’s neat pass and fired into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the area.
The Blades’ packed defence meant City had to wait to add a second but Foden was the provider again when it arrived midway through the second half, with his low cross despatched by Julian Alvarez.
City, who were crowned Fifa Club World Cup winners before Christmas, displayed all five of the major trophies they have won in 2023 on the pitch before kick-off.
It was a reminder to their rivals that they remain the team to beat this season, and so was the sight of Kevin de Bruyne in their squad after more than four months out with a hamstring injury.
The Belgium midfielder did not make it on to the pitch this time, but the sight of him warming up on the touchline in the second half brought huge cheers from the home fans.
In contrast, the Sheffield United fans had little to get excited about, as their side offered little in attack other than a flurry of chances just before the break.
Defeat felt inevitable as soon as City scored their second goal, and Chris Wilder’s side remain bottom of the table, and without an away win this season.