Leroy Sane's star quality offered a timely weekend boost to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as Alexis Sanchez prepares to take up residence on the other side of town.
Back in action for the first time since their first top-flight defeat of the season at Liverpool, the Premier League leaders were 2-1 up but enduring a nervy spell in Saturday's home match against Newcastle United.
It fell to Sane to offer a demonstration of his game-breaking qualities. The Germany international took possession and embarked upon a dizzying dribble past a succession of challenges before squaring for Sergio Aguero to complete his hat-trick and seal the points.
The 22-year-old has racked up 10 goals and 13 assists from the left-hand side of City's attack this season – a position from which Sanchez likes to operate. It's a return that suggests the Chile star's decision to join Manchester United despite Guardiola's lengthy courtship might well grant him a less troublesome route to the first XI.
"He suffered in the first six months of last season but in the last six months and this season he is playing at a high, high level," Guardiola told reporters when discussing Sane's development since joining City from Schalke for a reported £37million in September 2017.
"I don't want to tell him very nice, nice words because I have a feeling he has a lot of things to improve.
"But, of course, the most important thing against the teams who defend so well [like Newcastle] are the guys who can take a risk, to be aggressive against them. The guys who have the ability to dribble and a chance to shoot. And he did it.
"At 2-1, the game is always open. He decided, "I go, I go" and made an amazing action. Sergio's control and finishing was good.
"[Raheem] Sterling did the same, three or four times attacking central defenders. It is so complicated to attack 11 players when they defend so deep.
"But my feeling is we are learning how to attack in that way. The counter-attack is a natural way but we are able to do two faces. It is so important."
Sane might be removed from the starting line-up for the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final against Bristol City on Tuesday, with Aguero's goalscoring expertise having secured a slender 2-1 first-leg advantage over the Championship side.
However, Guardiola will settle down with a glass of his favourite tipple before making any rash decisions.
"Normally I don’t think about what we are going to do next until after my glass of red wine," he added, with regards to his selection for the game at Ashton Gate, with opposite number Lee Johnson having spent £450 on a bottle to woo United boss Jose Mourinho in the previous round.
"After red wine, a little bit of alcohol in my body, my focus is much better.
"Of course we are going to try to say 'the best team possible'. But to say Bernardo Silva, [Ilkay] Gundogan and [Eliaquim] Mangala are not able to play, that will not be fair.
"What I want to say is will we go there to try to win the game and go to the final. That is true."
|Earnhardt says short-track speed skating is ´NASCAR on ice´|
|My knee flared up – Wawrinka reveals reason for retirement|
|Stoger: Dortmund were lucky to survive Atalanta scare|
|Gattuso hopes to continue as AC Milan boss|
|Europa League Review: Arsenal survive scare, Dortmund battle past Atalanta|
|Noren, Simpson share Honda Classic lead after Tiger shoots 70|
|´Complacent´ Arsenal had no ideas, Wenger admits|
|Wilshere pulls no punches after Arsenal´s Ostersunds defeat|
|Batshuayi accuses Atalanta fans of racism|
|Mercedes not responsible for spoiling F1 spectacle, Wolff claims|
|Veteran kicker Vinatieri signs with Colts for further year|
|More injury woe as Wawrinka retires from Open 13 Marseille|
|Villarreal defender Semedo charged with attempted murder|
|West Indies taking nothing for granted in World Cup qualifying|
|Police officer dies after clashes between Athletic Bilbao and Spartak Moscow fans|
|Atalanta 1 Borussia Dortmund 1 (3-4 agg): Returning Schmelzer strikes late|
|AC Milan 1 Ludogorets 0 (4-0 agg): Borini strike secures victory at San Siro|
|Arsenal 1 Ostersunds 2 (4-2 agg): Gunners through despite Emirates shock|
|Kerber back in the top 10 where she belongs, Schuttler proclaims|
|Simeone open to Carrasco, Torres exits amid CSL reports|
|Mancini: Zenit not Europa League contenders|
|Confident Kerber enjoying ´fresh start´ after downing Pliskova|
|Honda Classic grind ´like playing a British Open´, says Woods|
|Europa League Review: Napoli´s comeback in vain, Immobile sends Lazio through|
|Ferdinand has doubts over Kane´s Tottenham future|
|Zenit 3 Celtic 0 (3-1 agg): Ivanovic inspires second-leg turnaround|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Copenhagen 0 (5-1 agg): Gameiro ensures Simeone´s men cruise through|
|Six Nations 2018: Owen Farrell ´jumping out of his skin´ to face Scotland, Eddie Jones says|
|Why De Gea really is untouchable as the Premier League´s best goalkeeper|
|Woods, Thomas start strong at Honda Classic|
|Farrell ´jumping out of his skin´ to face Scotland, says Jones|
|I wouldn´t sell him - Arbeloa wants Bale to remain at Real Madrid|
|Two Grand Slams and 2,253 points scored - Gatland´s 100 Wales matches in Opta numbers|
|Leeds United delay reveal of new club crest|
|Guti urges Neymar to leave PSG for Real Madrid|
|Bottas: I can beat Hamilton to F1 title|
|Vettel and Ferrari ´fired up´ for 2018 after unveiling SF71H|
|Azpilicueta: Chelsea must be perfect to beat Barcelona|
|Rai´s big finish ensures three-way tie in Qatar|
|Roma star Under tipped to win Ballon d´Or before 2023|
|WATCH: Snedeker splashes around for a soggy six at Honda Classic|
|Hamilton says Vettel rivalry ´could be worse´ in 2018|
|Zola denies he will join Sarri at Chelsea next season|
|Barcelona is my club - Sergi Roberto rejects other interest to sign new deal|
|Lewandowski employs Zahavi as agent as Real Madrid rumours continue|
|If you gave me a chainsaw I´d take it off - Wolff not keen on halo|
|Farrell and Porter among five Ireland changes|
|Pardew confirms Evans remains West Brom captain|
|Muntari joins Seedorf at Deportivo La Coruna|
|F1 champs Mercedes launch new W09|
|Wigan coach Wane ponders Hardaker lifeline|
|Hamilton hopes for pre-season contract resolution|
|Winter Olympics 2018: Joy for Gisin, Hirscher´s woe and record-breaking win for Wu|
|Rooney: Moving to China for the money would have been easy|
|Carrasco left out of Atletico squad amid China move reports|
|Arthur: Move to Barcelona still on track|
|Blatter backs Morocco 2026 World Cup bid|
|Moeen backs Rashid, Hales white-ball decisions|
|Wenger sees Welbeck emerging from torrid struggles|
|Zidane stands by selfless Benzema|
|Sodhi earns New Zealand ODI recall|
|´Important names´ keen on Inter star Icardi|
|Hughes returns in only England change|
|Manchester United v Chelsea: Mourinho and Conte´s feud in their own words|
|Manchester United v Chelsea: Grant´s disastrous debut, Drogba´s ´offside´ goal and other Old Traffor|
|Walker motivated by EFL Cup final showdown with Arsenal|
|Manchester United v Chelsea: ´Specialist in failure´, eye-pokes and Mourinho´s other best rows|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: America close in on quarters with huge win|
|Keane defends Pogba as former United captain demands more from Lukaku and Sanchez|
|Stoger labels Reus ´indispensable´ amid Milan links|