Erling Haaland and Phil Foden scored hat-tricks as Manchester City thrashed Manchester United 6-3 to move to within a point of Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
United needed Antony’s strike and a late Anthony Martial double to save them from a record defeat in the Manchester derby as they remain in sixth, nine points off the top.
Haaland has now scored hat-tricks in each of his last three Premier League home games to take his tally as a City player to 17 in 10 competitive games for the English champions.
“You can see the passes we give each other. We always want to go forward and to attack,” Haaland told Sky Sports.
“It’s what I love about the team. In the end, it’s amazing. There is nothing more to say.”
Since also conceding four times inside the first 45 minutes at Brentford in August, United had bounced back with four consecutive Premier League wins to offer hope they are heading in the right direction under Erik ten Hag.
But the Red Devils were given a rude awakening of the gulf that still exists between the Manchester giants.
“For me it was a surprise. We were not on the front foot, we were not brave on the ball and there were spaces to play but we were not brave enough,” said Ten Hag.
“All the credit to City, but it’s nothing to do with City. Our performance was not good. It had to do with the belief as individuals and as team.”
City could have scored many more than the four they managed in a blistering first half performance that swept away any doubts caused by an inconsistent start to the season from Pep Guardiola’s men.
Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva had all seen efforts blocked before Foden opened the floodgates on eight minutes with the Manchester native’s first derby goal.
Ilkay Gundogan’s free-kick hit the post and Foden blasted another big chance wide before Haaland inevitably made his mark on 34 minutes.
United were left to bemoan the absence of Raphael Varane to defend a De Bruyne corner as he received treatment on an ankle injury that forced him off at half-time.
Without the Frenchman, there was no match for Haaland’s presence in the penalty box as his header crossed the line before Tyrell Malacia’s attempted clearance.
Moments later, Haaland finished off a slick City counter-attack as Jack Grealish fed De Bruyne, who perfectly picked out the Norwegian to convert on the stretch at the back post.
Haaland then turned provider with a low cross that Foden converted to leave United trailing 4-0 at half-time for the third time in a year.
Unlike, in a 5-0 defeat at Old Trafford to Liverpool last season and at Brentford, there was some semblance of a United response after the break.—AFP