David Moyes’s first derby as Manchester United manager turned into a nightmare on Sunday 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 second place in the table, two points behind 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. Van Persie had scored the winning goal in last season’s corresponding fixture and his unexpected absence from the United team-sheet was the first indication that it might be City’s day. Danny Welbeck was the beneficiary, with Ashley Young also coming into United’s team, while Pellegrini chose Alvaro Negredo over Edin Dzeko in attack but was unable to select David Silva in his squad due to injury.