Virtually relegated Villa managed something of a spirited first-half performance, keeping the game at a stalemate until the break, before four City goals in 25 minutes put it well and truly out of their reach, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Yaya Toure amongst the goals.
Guzan repays Garde's faith during the first half
Garde kept faith with Brad Guzan in goal despite the midweek defeat against Everton, offering the idea that the American shot-stopper has now won back his place as Villa's number one. He was called into action after just 12 minutes, tipping the ball over after Aguero danced away from two defenders in the area.
Numerous chances followed in the half, with Wilfried Bony missing a golden one, spurning wide from Gael Clichy's inviting ball in. Aguero again found room in the area soon after, but could only shoot straight at Guzan.
Villa did have half a chance to take a shock lead towards the end of the first half, with it falling to Jordan Ayew, back in the team following a three match ban. Latching onto a loose ball in the area, Ayew swivelled well, but had his curling effort pushed wide by Joe Hart.
Aguero key as City break Villa's resistance
Whilst the visitors had put up the barriers for the first 45 minutes, the floodgates well and truly opened in the second half, Toure making it 1-0 within three minutes of the restart. Good work from Aguero down the right hand side gave Silva room to lay it on a plate for Toure, and the Ivorian neatly tucked the ball into the corner of the net.
Aguero got one for himself two minutes later, in fortuitous fashion. Bony looked to slide a pass through the defence, which Micah Richards went to intercept, only for the Villa skipper to knock the ball straight into Aguero's shin, then into the net.
The Argentine doubled his tally with a much better finish on the hour mark. Exchanging looped passes with Silva, Aguero let the ball bounce in the area, before crashing it into Brad Guzan's near post on the half-volley.
Sterling adds a fourth before Aguero's missed spot-kick
He should have had a hat-trick, hitting the post from the penalty spot after substitute Kelechi Iheanacho was brought down by Ciaran Clark, but not before Raheem Sterling made it four. It was one of the easiest finishes the youngster will get all season, tapping in at the back post after some slick interplay around the penalty area.
Whilst it was a much needed win for City, Villa are left to pick up the pieces after a fourth straight league defeat. They've conceded 15 goals in those four games, and now play host to title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur next Sunday.