The Bosnia and Herzegovina international netted twice, while goals from Stevan Jovetic and Yaya Toure rounded off the rout at the Etihad - leaving City on the brink of glory
Having witnessed Liverpool draw 3-3 with Crystal Palace on Monday, City knew a win over Villa would leave their destiny in their own hands heading into the final day of the season.
|VIEW FROM THE ETIHAD STADIUM
|By Greg Stobart
Manchester City may have made hard work of it but this was the performance that all but clinched a second title in three seasons for this season.
The flag revealed by the City fans in the pouring rain before kick-off read ‘We’ll fight to the end’ and on the pitch they showed the spirit and mentality of champions.
It was tough going for 64 minutes but they never looked back after Edin Dzeko opened the scoring from close range before tapping in his fifth goal in his last three games eight minutes later.
Steven Jovetic and Yaya Toure sealed the victory with impressive strikes and the celebrations at the final whistle, both in the stands and on the pitch, were those of people who know the title is virtually assured.
Just a point is needed on Sunday to win the title. It’s almost inconceivable that Manuel Pellegrini’s side could mess it up.
Despite the comfortable scoreline, City were made to work hard in patches against a Villa side who held relegation fears for much of the campaign.
The opening goal only arrived midway through the second half as Dzeko finished off a well-worked team move.
The Bosnia-Herzegovina striker then added a second in the 72nd minute with his 16th Premier League goal of the season before City made it even more comfortable late on.
Stevan Jovetic came off the bench with half an hour to go and made his impact when he passed the ball into the corner for the third, before Yaya Toure - so often the talisman this season - added his own stamp to the scoreline with a fourth in injury time.
Bar a huge swing in goal difference, City now just need a point against West Ham to secure a second title in three years.
City unsurprisingly made the most of the early running, left-back Aleksandar Kolarov - in the side in place of Gael Clichy - forcing Brad Guzan into a near-post save after just five minutes.
Midfielder Toure was then denied by brilliant close-range stop from Guzan seven minutes later before David Silva, starting instead of the injured Sergio Aguero, narrowly missed connecting with a dangerous left-wing cross from Kolarov.
The hosts dominated possession throughout the first half, although Villa were dangerous on the break and could have taken the lead had Andreas Weimann supplied a better finish after racing clear on the counter-attack.
But the best chance of the opening period came in first-half injury time as Samir Nasri turned a James Milner cross wide at the near post from point-blank range.
City's onslaught continued in the second half, Guzan called into action twice in the early stages after the restart.
First, the American kept out Vincent Kompany's acrobatic overhead kick, and then produced an excellent save to prevent Kolarov's curling free-kick from finding the top corner.
However, Guzan was finally beaten in the 64th minute as Dzeko slotted home from Pablo Zabaleta's low ball into the box after Silva had fed the Argentinian with a superb pass down the right channel.
Pellegrini's side continued to flood forward in search of the second goal, and it duly arrived eight minutes later as Dzeko tapped in his second on the rebound after Guzan had saved from Nasri.
Weimann went close to setting up a tense finale with a header that cannoned off the underside of the crossbar late on, but City were out of sight soon after.
They added a third when substitute Jovetic converted from a pull back by Toure a minute from time.
The Ivory Coast international then added further gloss to the scoreline himself by surging clear from inside his own half and powering beyond a helpless Guzan to give City sight of the title.