Manchester City left supporters with their hearts in their mouths with an incredibly risky passage of passing inside their own area, only for it to almost lead to a brilliant goal from Riyad Mahrez.
City went into the lead after just 10 minutes at St Mary’s thanks to David Silva’s opener, but were pegged back as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg equalised for the hosts.
But parity once again did not last long as a James Ward-Prowse own goal restored City’s one-goal advantage in the 45th minute.
And the visitors found the time to give themselves a two-goal cushion before the break as Sergio Aguero added a third in first-half injury-time.
City have been under pressure to return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats allowed Liverpool to open up a seven-point gap in the title race, with the Reds extending that to 10 with a dominant win against Arsenal.
But, judging by their confidence in playing out from the back, there were few nerves among Pep Guardiola’s men on the south coast.