Manchester City too hot to handle for Man United as they race to a 4-0 lead at half time with United fans leaving stadium in first half.
United restore some sort of pride by ‘winning second half’ but are thrashed 6-3.
Unplayable Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both score hat-tricks in rout.
This was men against boys and Manchester United were completely schooled. By half-time a large number of United fans streamed out of the stadium, not to return. Long before the end only a few remained in the Etihad.
It reflected United’s emptiness and lack of fight as they were utterly humiliated by Manchester City with Erling Haaland collecting another hat-trick to become the first player to do so in three successive Premier League home games.
There was also a hat-trick for Phil Foden. With no City player having scored one since Francis Lee in 1970, here was two in one game with Haaland taking his goals tally to a phenomenal 17 in just 10 games. So having waited 52 years City had two hat-tricks against United, just nine minutes apart.
The home fans chanted “we want 10” and mocked their opponent’s efforts to try and get back into the games with “oohs” as they strung passes together or even had a shot. When Anthony Martial scored a late consolation some City fans even mockingly cheered. What an indictment. Somehow United scored three which, on the balance of play, was a huge anomaly.
All the optimism of four league wins was banished for United. This was Brentford all over again – and then some – and while City are clearly a stronger side it will have hurt even more given the supposed rivalry. Rivalry? Even to use the word is a joke given the gulf between City and United.
Sir Alex Ferguson sat in the stands and his face betrayed his feelings. A mix of anger and discomfort which was felt, surely, by Erik ten Hag in the dug-out as he sat forlornly watching on and surely wondering what had happened to the cussedness United have shown of late.
Their lack of fight was shown with Raphael Varane suffering a first-half injury, turning his ankle, and looked like he could not get off the pitch quick enough as he was substituted.
Everything that City do is in combination. Everything that United do is in isolation.
It was 4-0 at the break and it should have been 7-0. And that is no exaggeration. City were stunningly dominant. United were abject. Utterly, indisputably abject. Disorganised and missing in action as Haaland just nonchalantly raised an arm in celebration with a broad smile as the players walked off.
Each of the goals summed up City’s superiority. Jack Grealish, Foden, De Bruyne and Haaland all ran riot. United were over-run and out-fought and their formation – 4-2-3-1 – was exposed as City attacked remorselessly down both flanks.
Both United full-backs were booked early on and Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay simply could not cope in midfield. McTominay’s woes were summed up when he collected possession, turned and passed the ball straight to Grealish. Just how he is in the United team ahead of Casemiro who eventually did replace him? On the bench Cristiano Ronaldo sat with his head in his hands.
And so the goals came. City had already been denied by David De Gea and some desperate blocks before Joao Cancelo was allowed to dribble towards the edge of the penalty area and slip the ball wide to Bernardo Silva who crossed low. Foden, who had already been involved in the move, held his run to evade Varane and swept a first-time shot high into the net.
It set the template. Rinse and repeat. City camer forward again and again with Grealish dribbling infield before being brought down in desperation by Lisandro Martinez. Gundogan stepped up and took the free kick with the ball striking the outside of the post.
The onslaught continued. Foden fired narrowly wide, two other goal-bound shots were blocked before De Gea tipped over from De Bruyne.
Varane was injured as he stopped Foden and stayed down. After he received treatment it meant he was off the pitch when the corner was taken with Haaland meeting it and
Despite Tyrell Malacia’s efforts his header crossed the line. Somehow Haaland was being marked by Christian Eriksen – who is almost five inches smaller than him and two stone lighter.
United were falling apart. And so, again, Grealish ran forward, with no United player near him, and found De Bruyne who arced a wonderful cross in behind the struggling Varane for Haaland to stretch and poke it past De Gea
Their fourth goal was similar. This time De Bruyne ran through, picking out Haaland who crossed low with Foden too quick and strong for Malacia as he fired home. By this time Varane was off and so were huge numbers of United fans. They had seen enough.
It meant they missed a fine strike by Antony who collected a cross-field pass from substitute Luke Shaw and cut inside to curl the ball powerfully around Ederson from 25 yards to reduce City’s advantage. Understandably there was no celebration from Ten Hag and it was out of keeping with everything United had done to this point.
City put them back in their place. Haaland struck the side-netting and then had his third goal as he was picked out by substitute Sergio Gomez with a precise cut-back which Haaland slammed powerfully past De Gea before dropping to the turf with his ‘zen’ celebration. Even more United fans turned and left.
Haaland then turned provider and Foden claimed his third goal when Grealish picked out the striker who was allowed to swivel and thread a pass. Foden took it and hammered the ball past De Gea.
Pep Guardiola used the goal a cue to make no fewer than four substitutions, resting players ahead of the midweek Champions League game against Copenhagen.
But it was a United replacement, Martial, who claimed the next goal as he reacted quickly after Ederson had parried a shot from another replacement, Fred. Martial dived to head in the rebound.
He claimed another. After being caught by Cancelo, as he executed a smart drag-back from Bruno Fernandes’s pass, Martial struck the ensuing penalty high beyond Ederson to make it 6-3. It was no reflection at all of the game.