Manchester City kept their push for the Premier League title on track by brushing aside local rivals Manchester United 4-1 at the Etihad today.
Pep Guardiola’s side came into the game looking to extend their lead at the top of the table to six points and the Citizens got off to the perfect start when the brilliant Kevin de Bruyne put them 1-0 after just five minutes. The Belgian playmaker was given all the space in the world inside the Man United area and he duly obliged by stroking home Bernardo’s Silva’s cut-back from the left flank.
Ralf Rangnick’s side had begun brightly despite going a goal down, the Red Devils looking confident in possession and pressing the hosts high up the pitch. On 22 minutes United would be rewarded for their positivity when summer signing – and City youth academy product – Jadon Sancho finished off a counter-attack by curling a quality strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Just six minutes later and City would regain superiority through that man de Bruyne, the 30-year-old calmly slotting home from close-range after a penalty box scramble that had been instigated by some wonderful skill by Phil Foden.
If the first-half had been a relatively even affair, the second was completely different, with City absolutely dominating after the second period began. Guardiola’s side began to outclass their local rivals and the only surprise was that it took until the 68th minute before they killed off the game by scoring a third.
When the crucial third goal came it was through a moment of real quality, with de Bruyne turning provider by flighting a corner to the edge of the area that the lively Riyad Mahrez stroked home on the half volley past David de Gea.
A performance that had started impressively soon began to descend into embarrassing territory for Man United. Guardiola’s men began to toy with their opponents with the home crowd Ole-ing as a dejected United were left chasing shadows.
Two goals and an assist. Kevin De Bruyne showed his class in the Manchester derby ✨ pic.twitter.com/ib8u9k0zI6
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 6, 2022
In the 90th minute, City would add a fourth goal that their performance and United’s capitulation fully merited, Mahrez registering his second by hammering past de Gea after being slipped through by Ilkay Gundogan.
Speaking afterwards City boss Guardiola was obviously pleased with his side’s dominant performance.
“It was excellent from the first minute. We played really well and had to be patient in the first step,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“Ralf [Rangnick] tried to change the mentality for Man Utd to be more aggressive but we made space, especially in the second half, to play behind [Scott] McTominay and Fred.
“Football is emotions. It’s tactics, definitely, but it’s also emotions. Without the ball, we are a team with desire and passion to regain the ball from the first minute to the 90th.
“We also want the ball as much as possible and, especially, second half we used it very well.”