Not so much the Ballet on Ice, more the Fandango in the snow.

Manchester City defied the conditions, and a dangerous, well-organised West Ham side, to carve out their title credentials at the blizzard-hit Etihad.

Back in 1968, Joe Mercer’s talented team put in a performance of sureness and style on an icy Maine Road pitch to hammer Tottenham 4-1 at Maine Road, and give an indicator that they had the mental toughness to see it through.

And this time, with another set of Londoners facing them through a snow storm that briefly had referee Michael Oliver considering his options, the Blues produced another show of character to make it five wins on the bounce in all competitions.

Indeed, the harder the snow fell, the better City got.

You fear for a team like the Blues, who are all about slick, quick, on-the-ground passing, when that ground is being progressively covered in a blanket of the white stuff.

The Hammers knew it, too - they were happy to play a waiting game, and bide their time for the moment when one of those passes held up on the surface, or a defender performed a Bambi-on-ice impression.

Aymeric Laporte looked to be the man most likely to fulfil that function, looking vulnerable and hesitant whenever Michail Antonio and Said Benrahma ran at him - and he earned a first half booking for cynically taking down Antonio as he skipped past him, just outside the box.

That left him walking a tightrope for the rest of the game - and when that tightrope is iced up with snow and slush, the jeopardy becomes that little bit stronger.

As always, the best form of defence for the Blues was attack, and they set about turning the screw on the Hammers, penning them into the final third.

And with the skiddy, uncertain conditions underfoot, they were happy to take pot-shots from distance.

Older City fans will remember the 1968 Ballet on Ice. When City entertained an excellent Tottenham team at Maine Road in wintry conditions - and proved their title mettle by skating to a 4-1 victory, en route to holding off United and finishing top.

But even today’s supporters will remember last April, when an unseasonable snowfall threatened to make a lottery of their Champions League semi-final second leg against Paris St Germain - only for the Blues to negotiate the difficulty like Winter Olympians.

Ilkay Gundogan scores for Manchester Ciy

Kyle Walker was the first to see the possibilities in letting fly, his daisy-cutter - or maybe a snow-skimmer in these circumstances - careering past the post with keeper Lukasz Fabianski scrambling to make it.

With Joao Cancelo revelling in the conditions, as if snow was his natural habitat as he grew up near Lisbon, City gradually stepped up the pressure.

Laporte flashed a header against the post, then Mahrez had a goal disallowed for offside, a pity as it was a splendid left-foot finish from the Algeria star.

He had begun the game in the false nine role, in another surprise move from Pep Guardiola, flanked by Gabriel Jesus on the right and Raheem Sterling on the left.

It sometimes feels that the players draw lots before the game, and the loser gets given the thankless central role.

But we perhaps saw the real reason Mahrez was picked when he finished with such accuracy.

And then we proceeded to see why it was not a great idea, as he was flagged offside, and repeatedly looked uncomfortable in holding his runs.

It is so much easier to stay onside when you are looking right across the line from a wide position.

Sure enough, Guardiola recognised the problem and switched Mahrez with Jesus - and City instantly looked better balanced.

Cancelo took another pot-shot at Fabianski’s goal and when the keeper punched it out, Mahrez fired the rebound against the post from a narrow angle.

But Cancelo was in the mood, pinging those passes with the outside of his right boot, encouraged by the fact that one of them opened up Everton for Sterling’s opening goal last week.

When he swung another panoramic pass out to Mahrez, exploiting the wide spaces, City were finally in.

He carved inside onto his left foot and when his driven cross was given extra venom by skimming a defender’s studs and skidding towards the far post, Gundogan was in the right spot to turn it home.

Mahrez was at it again moments later, volleying a smart pass to free Jesus. The Brazil star fired his shot goalwards and when Fabianski managed to take some of the sting from it, Ben Johnson raced back to block on the line.

With the snow continuing to tumble down, the City ground staff were out in force to clear the pitch at half time, with ref Michael Oliver concerned enough to take a look at conditions during the interval.

By the time the teams emerged for the second half, the blizzard had stopped and the re-start was briefly held up wile the last remnants of snow were removed.

With the Hammers forced to come out of their shell a little more in the second half, the Blues still bossed the ball, but were always looking for counter-attacking possibilities.

They nearly made full use of one, when Gundogan freed Sterling on the left, and his measured ball was agonisingly an inch too close to Fabianski, who, together with Aaron Cresswell, managed to smuggle the ball behind, the defender injuring himself in the process.

City remained on top, but as long as the lead remained one goal, there was doubt against a dangerous Hammers side that beat Liverpool recently.

They made sure with a second goal of intricate beauty, Rodri pushing a pass to Bernardo, who helped it on to Jesus in the box - and when he drove at the defence and squared, Fernandinho - on as a sub - tucked it neatly into the corner.

Manuel Lanzini struck a beauty into the top corner in added time, but it was the last kick of the match, City moving back onto the shoulders of leaders Chelsea.