City Leaves United Floored With Utterly Dominant Manchester Derby Display

Manchester City maintained control of the Premier League title race with a hugely impressive 4-1 victory over Manchester United at the Etihad on Sunday. 

Kevin De Bruyne was the match's standout performer with two goals and one assist from his position in City's midfield three, and although United posed a threat going forward in the first half — highlighted by Jadon Sancho's expertly taken goal — the Red Devils defense was frequently left chasing shadows when attempting to contain the Belgian and the mesmerizing skills of Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez, who also scored a brace.  

With Arsenal beating Watford earlier in the day, United knew a win was probably required to keep pace with the Gunners in the race for Champions League football. But the visitors would have to do as much without Cristiano Ronaldo (hip flexor), Luke Shaw and Raphaël Varane (both Covid). 

On Sky Sports, Roy Keane said the absence of Ronaldo probably had more to do with his recent return of just one goal in 10 games across all competitions rather than the injury. Ralf Rangnick said he wanted the "formation to be as compact as possible," but it's one thing to crowd City's wealth of twinkle-toed geniuses, it's another to actually stop them.  

In the fifth minute, Scott McTominay, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelöf all got close to Silva without ever really getting close to Silva. The Portuguese maestro left Lindelöf for dead before pulling back for De Bruyne to finish.

United's setup frequently had No. 6 Paul Pogba playing like a False 9. In the 22nd minute, giving his best Harry Kane impression, the Frenchman drove forward up top before releasing Sancho out wide.

Sancho lined up his defender, went through the mental arithmetic and identified the correct angle to rattle one off the inside of the far post and in. 

United's efficiency on the break, however, always looked like it was going to be undone at the back. In the 28th minute, a comedy of slapstick defending (Foden flicking the ball over Lindelöf and Harry Maguire dummying the initial rebound) eventually led to De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Alex Telles and Maguire all on the floor while De Bruyne stood imperiously above them and finished. 

The Foden-Grealish-Silva trifecta was giving hell to United's right-hand side, and City's influence and control grew immensely in the second half. The Red Devils failed to attempt a shot after the restart, whereas City racked up 70% possession and finished with 24 shots.

Mahrez made it 3-1 in the 68th when meeting De Bruyne's corner with a sublime volley. That was game over.

The Algerian added his second and City's fourth in the 90th minute after a VAR review showed that he'd been onside to receive İlkay Gündoğan's pass before finishing. 

City was on another level in the second half, and the club's superiority over its hated rival is evident in a league double this season. It's the fourth time City has accomplished the feat in the Premier League era, and first since 2018-19. The Citizens are on track for the title; the Red Devils are looking at the Europa League. 

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