Title favourites Manchester City proved they will be a hard nut to crack with a professional 2-0 away win over Crystal Palace, says Niall Quinn.
City moved to within three points of leaders Liverpool - and have a game in hand and a superior goal difference - as first-half goals from Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure secured the points at Selhurst Park shortly after the Reds had suffered a deflating 2-0 defeat to Chelsea at Anfield.
Manuel Pellegrini's side travel to Everton - a match you can see on Saturday Night Football - before finishing the season with home games against Aston Villa and West Ham.
And Quinn, who scored 78 goals in 244 appearances for City between 1990-96, told Sky Sports that his former club can take a huge step towards the title with victory at Goodison Park.
"It's a vital game. The way the season is going there may be another twist. Aston Villa and West Ham at home look far easier - Everton is the difficult one there on paper. It's massive.
"City were never in any danger today - they were playing a team that was in good form and I think that they've proved that they are a hard nut to crack. They did enough and were professional; they even took Toure off and now can move onto the next one.
"City won the title two years ago and I think that will really stand them in good stead. Yes, they weren't as dynamic as they might have been but they if they maintain that professionalism and keep clean sheets now until the end of the season, they win the title.
"One player that we've been critical of in the past - Martin Demichelis - was outstanding. He showed that he's come on leaps and bounds and that they are maybe the team that won't give goals away easily.
"Pellegrini is a cool customer - he doesn't seem to get too excited. I've got a feeling this title race could go down to goal difference and City are in the driving seat. His team don't need to be carried away by what has happened - they just need to move onto the next game."
Palace went into the game on the back of a five-match winning run that included victories over Everton and Chelsea but City, aware of Chelsea's victory over Liverpool, grabbed the initiative after just four minutes when the fit-again Toure picked out Dzeko with a delicious cross. Toure then added the second, curling home after a strong run before being substituted on 66 minutes.
Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness felt City were over-reliant on the muscular midfielder but Quinn was impressed with the way Pellegrini's side approached the game.
"City knew Crystal Palace were going to be tricky opposition, that they would be hard to grind down," he reflected. "When they got the goal after four minutes I wondered if they would put a show on and they didn't - they just did enough.
"Despite Palace trying their very hardest to get at them and make life difficult, City just looked and felt like winners right from the moment that the kick off took place. That Chelsea result was a huge tonic to get before the game.
"Yaya Toure's cross for the first goal was superb. He might have been closed down a little bit better but he puts a wonderful ball in in between the centre-halves for Dzeko, who pointed where he wanted it. It's an amazing ball because the first man, Scott Dann, can't win it and the back man Adrian Mariappa, can't win it and it falls on the head of Dzeko.
"For long periods in the first half they did hang in there after going 1-0 down but they couldn't find the momentum on top to carve out any really good chances and so City were comfortable. But Palace kept chipping away at it and I think a lot of City fans were relieved to see the second goal come.
"That made things a little bit easier because, as we saw from the atmosphere before the game, the Palace fans were right up for it after their great run."
Watch Manchester City's trip to Everton on Saturday Night Football from 5pm on Sky Sports 1 HD and Sky 3D on Saturday. Chelsea take on Norwich at home from 4pm on Sky Sports 1 HD on Super Sunday before Liverpool travel to Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football, on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7pm.