Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez scored twice as Manchester City reopened a six-point lead at the top of the Premier League by knocking Manchester United 4-1 aside at the Etihad on Sunday.
A defeat means there is now a 22-point gap between the clubs and that is another blow to United’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
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The Red Devils now follow Arsenal with a point in fourth place, who also have three games in their hand.
At the top of the table, Liverpool also have a game on their hands to reduce City’s advantage to three points.
But Pep Guardiola’s men responded to the pressure of the Reds’ seven-game winning run in the league by rebounding from two excellent performances against Tottenham and Everton.
Similar to their encounter at Old Trafford earlier this season, there has been a divisional gap between the sides as City have only racked up a second division double over their local rivals since a 2008 Abu Dhabi takeover shook the balance of power in Manchester. falter.
United were without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani on the offensive, but it was defenders Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw, missing due to positive coronavirus cases, whose presence was most missed.
The visitors were passed by City’s first sustained attack when Bernardo Silva’s low cross found De Bruyne completely unmarked to sweep home from just inside the penalty area.
Despite their dominance over United when it comes to finishing higher in the league table in recent years, City had won just one of their last seven derbies at the Etihad.
United have consistently enjoyed the counter-attack in that run and the pace of Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga once again caused problems.
Sancho left City at the age of 17 to make a name for himself at Borussia Dortmund after he grew tired of waiting for his way into the first team.
The England international took time to make his way at United after returning to the Premier League for a massive £73 million ($97 million) fee.
But Sancho was one of the few successes of Ralf Rangnick’s interim lead, delivering a stunning far corner finish in 22 minutes.
United captain Harry Maguire had to deal with more reports this week of members of his own team questioning whether he was at the level required to lead the team.
There will certainly be more criticism from Maguire’s side as he was twice on the wrong foot for City’s second.
Phil Foden slid the ball over his England team-mate and when he was denied by a brilliant save from David de Gea, the loose ball finally found its way to De Bruyne to break home.
Rangnick’s men then had to endure a period of pressure to get the rest in the game.
Foden shot wide of a perfect pass from De Bruyne before more De Gea heroism prevented Riyad Mahrez from finding the bottom corner.
The one-way traffic continued after the break and just another day this season when De Gea was United’s best player prevented an even more embarrassing defeat.
The Spaniard held onto De Bruyne’s fierce free kick before Mahrez flew over from the edge of the penalty area.
But United didn’t learn their lesson, as the Algerian remained motionless on the edge of the penalty area when he was picked by De Bruyne’s corner and sweetly connected to find the far corner.
De Gea was forced into further saves by Mahrez and Joao Cancelo.
But even he couldn’t stop Mahrez’s vigorous attempt to rub salt in United’s wounds in stoppage time after VAR ruled the City winger was not offside.