David Moyes’ first derby as Manchester United manager turned into a nightmare yesterday as Manchester City inflicted a humiliating 4-1 defeat at a triumphant Etihad Stadium.
With Robin van Persie absent due to a groin strain, a limp and lacklustre United were dominated from kick-off on a sunny afternoon in northwest England.
They saw City take control through first-half goals from Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure, and quick-fire strikes from Aguero and Samir Nasri in the second period meant the game was over after only 50 minutes.
Wayne Rooney scored a fine late free-kick to become the outright leading scorer in the fixture, but it could not stop City’s fans revelling in a victory almost as seismic as their 6-1 win at Old Trafford in October 2011.
That victory paved the way for City’s subsequent title triumph, and after a dream first derby as manager, Manuel Pellegrini saw his side climb to third place in the Premier League table, two points behind leaders Arsenal.
Defending champions United, meanwhile, find themselves five points off the pace after two defeats in their first five games.
Moyes can console himself that his storied predecessor Alex Ferguson once lost 5-1 at City, but from three games against title rivals City, Chelsea and Liverpool, his side have picked up just a single point.
Gunners on top
Meanwhile, Arsenal went to the top of the English Premier League table after a 3-1 victory at home to Stoke. Victory left the Gunners two points in front of both Chelsea and Liverpool.
Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who suffered a potentially career-threatening leg injury following a poor tackle by Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross three years ago, made it seven goals in eight games when he gave Arsenal a fifth-minute lead at the Emirates Stadium with a close-range strike after Potters goalkeeper Asmir Begovic had palmed away a Mesut Ozil free-kick.
Stoke, however, were back on level terms when United States international Geoff Cameron scored his first goal for the club in the 26th minute with a controlled shot from the edge of the box after Marko Arnautovic’s volley had come back off the post.Arsenal though were 2-1 up before half-time through centre-back Per Mertesacker’s looping header.
Bacary Sagna then scored his first goal in 19 months as Arsenal again made Stoke pay for failing to defend a set-piece when he headed home in the 72nd minute from another free-kick by 42.4 million pounds club record signing Ozil, the Germany international producing a sparkling display on his Gunners’ home debut.