Manchester City maintained the city bragging as the blues crushed United at the Etihad Stadium. Erling Haaland and Phil Foden helped themselves to a treble as the blues made light work of the red neighbours to remain unbeaten and move to within one point of leaders Arsenal.
City have been in sparking form so far this season and have only dropped points at Newcastle and Aston Villa, whilst comfortably winning all their home games. United had been on a bit of a revival after two shocking defeats at the start of the season at home to Brighton and away at Brentford had their supporters getting ready to protest against the club owners once more.
Home victories of Liverpool and Arsenal had raised hopes of getting into the Champions League next season, but their visit to City didn’t bring them back to earth with a bump - they were mercilessly shot down in flames, whilst what was left of the visiting supporters at the final whistle could only look on in disbelief and despair as City once again put six past their hapless side.
The reds were hoping that their record at City, which had seen their team win five out of their last eight visits to City, would carry them over the line and further enhance their chances of making the top four this season.
How wrong they would be.
Even before Phil Foden had given City an 8th-minute lead United could have been behind. Haaland’s header was blocked on the line, while Kevin de Bruyne’s follow-up was parried by the keeper, with Bernardo Silva also seeing his shot blocked. That should have sounded the warning bells for United and it was one they didn’t heed.
Silva collected the ball on the left and found Foden in plenty of space in the United penalty area. Not one challenge came in before Foden lashed home the opening goal. City were swarming all over the Stretford Rangers and Ilkay Gundogan hit the post with a free kick, Foden flashed another shot wide and only some desperate defending from the visitors prevented the blues from going further in front.
De Bruyne hit a shot that David de Gea, who was in goal when City last put six past the reds in 2011, tipped over the bar and from the resulting corner, there was only one person getting on the end of it. Haaland rose highest to thump his header towards goal. Despite a desperate clearance, the ball had crossed the line and City were two clear.
With the faithful still celebrating, the Norwegian beast made it 3-0, and he and de Bruyne were now showing signs that they are beginning to click. The Belgian star charged forward and, with no United player prepared to make a challenge, he had time and space to curl a pass to the far post where Haaland was waiting.
Sliding in, Haaland watched the ball all the way and tapped home to send City 3-0 up as United fans looked longingly at the exits, wondering if anyone would notice if they snook out.
Seven minutes later, they simply didn’t care who saw as Foden made it 4-0. Haaland was played in down the left and spotted the run of the boyhood blue. His pass across goal was perfect for the Stockport Iniesta to fire home first time. That was the cue for the mass exodus of United fans from the stadium as the blues went in 4-0 up at the break.
Those that did stay must have thought a comeback was on the cards on 56 minutes. New signing Antony was first to the ball and he curled a consolation goal past Ederson to minimal cheers from the die-hards/gluttons for punishments who had stayed. And those that had even the slightest hope that United might make a fight of it saw them crushed by the lethal left foot of Haaland, who became the first player in Premier League history to score hat-tricks in successive home matches.
The Nordic meat shield met a Sergio Gomez cross and swept home to claim another match ball, just eight games into the season. With 30 games to go, Sergio Aguero’s record number of Premier League hat-tricks is already under threat. To think that City signed Haaland for just over £50m, Haaland is proving to be an absolute steal.
For those with long memories, it was the first hat-trick scored by a City player in a derby since Francis Lee bagged a treble in a 4-1 win at Old Trafford in December 1970. Haaland’s treble not only ended that 52-year wait but also another unwanted record. The last player to score a derby day hat-trick was United’s Andrei Kanchelskis in November 1994 as City were hammered 5-0 at Old Trafford.
And, just like buses, you wait 52 years for them and two come along at once. Haaland again turned provider and was given time by the United defence to turn and run at them. The Norwegian found Foden and, with United appealing for an offside that was never going to arrive, Foden had time to pick his spot and rifle the ball past de Gea as City once again went 6-1 up.
The Etihad was bouncing and more reds took the opportunity to sneak away and get a head start back to the M1 south. They would have missed a couple of goals that, in fairness, United didn’t deserve and only came about as City dropped the gears so low that even Darwin Nunez might have scored.
Antony Martial knocked in a header after Ederson had been woken up with a United shot on target, before Joao Cancelo gave away a penalty that Martial buried into the top corner. By this point, there were more blue seats than fans visible in the United end and Martial’s goal was met with near silence.
Manager Pep Guardiola will no doubt have been disappointed with the blues conceding three second-half goals, but that will have been cancelled out by two boyhood City fans combining to completely destroy United and send them back to Stretford with a good thrashing.
Final score: Manchester City 6-3 Manchester United