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 win over FA Cup final opponents Stoke City on Tuesday.
The unsettled Argentine, who coach Roberto Mancini said had told him he wanted to stay at the club, showed his importance with emphatic finishes either side of a Joleon Lescott header.
The win saw City leapfrog Arsenal and boost their chances of avoiding a playoff to reach Europe's elite competition.
The win moves Mancini's in-form side into a coveted automatic Champions League place with 68 points while Arsenal are fourth with 67 also from 37 games with one remaining.
Tevez, who is now joint top scorer in the Premier League with 20 goals, has been dogged by rumours about his future since he submitted a transfer request in December.
A pedestrian first half 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.
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 metres.
Tevez to stay at City
Carlos Tevez is set to stay at Manchester City according to manager Roberto Mancini.
The Argentinian striker's future has been in doubt since he handed in a transfer request earlier in the season.
But Mancini said the forward was happy to stay put. "He has a five-year contract and has told us he wants to stay," said Mancini. "He said that before. He never had any problem."
Fifa in Malaysia to probe match-fixing
Kuala Lumpur: Three officials from football's ruling body FIFA will arrive in Malaysia on Thursday as part of a global investigation into match-fixing and illegal gambling.
The anti-corruption unit will be led by FIFA's head of security Chris Eaton, Azzuddin Ahmad, general secretary of the Football Federation of Malaysia (FAM) said Wednesday.
"I believe FIFA's visit is about match-fixing. We never condone any form of match-fixing. Hopefully the FIFA team can help shed some light over the allegations of corruption."
Thai consortium takes over Leicester
London: The Thai-based consortium in control of Championship side Leicester has taken sole ownership of the club, it was announced on Wednesday.
Asia Football Investments had owned an 80 percent stake in the club but have now purchased the remaining 20% from fellow shareholders Cronus Sports Management.