Manchester - Carlos Tevez struck a superb double as Manchester City rose to third in the Premier League and closer to a guaranteed Champions League spot with a 3-0 victory over their FA Cup final opponents Stoke City on Tuesday.
The Argentine showed his importance to City with emphatic finishes either side of a Joleon Lescott header that enabled the home side to leapfrog Arsenal and boost their chances of avoiding a playoff to reach Europe's elite competition.
The win moves Roberto Mancini's City side into a coveted automatic Champions League place with 68 points from 37 games while Arsenal are fourth with 67 from the same number of games.
A pedestrian first half at Eastlands was brought to life after 14 minutes when Tevez fired City in front against the team they beat to lift the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.
The striker played a one-two with James Milner before beating Stoke defenders Ryan Shawcross and Andy Wilkinson and hitting the ball into the top corner.
Lescott doubled City's advantage eight minutes into the second half when he rose above goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen and headed into an empty net. Tevez then wrapped up all three points with a ferocious curling freekick from 30 meters.