Manchester City dominated in the highest-scoring Manchester derby in history. Erling Haaland and Phil Foden netted hat-tricks to send a clear message to the rest of the Premier League.
Prior to team news, reports started to surface that Rodri was not a part of the squad. It caused many City fans to, understandably, be worried about losing the best defensive midfielder in the league for the first derby of the season.
With Rodri, Kalvin Phillips and John Stones out, and Aymeric Laporte not fully fit, Pep Guardiola was forced to play an adjusted side.
Ederson started in goal, with Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo taking their standard fullback positions. Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake filled in for the injured Stones and Laporte. Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva joined Kevin De Bruyne to form the midfield three. And once again, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden flanked Erling Haaland.
From the outside, it looked as though a slow, methodical, controlled style would be the game plan. However, it was a ruse. The reality was a much quicker and more aggressive style, similar to how City played the final games of last season.
Grealish started the match off as a consistent threat down the left wing. Diogo Dalot picked up a yellow card in the opening minute, which set the tone early.
Foden started the scoring spree in the sixth minute. The 22-year-old started the move on the right wing before following the play into the six-yard box. Moments later Bernardo rifled a low cross into the six-yard box for Foden to deliver his signature no-look goal.
City had an opportunity to double their lead in the 17th minute. Grealish drew another foul at the top of the box, and Gundogan’s free-kick hit the outside of the post.
Foden drew a yellow card after being tripped from behind by Tyrell Malacia to prevent a counterattack. Midway through the first half and both Manchester United fullbacks were already on a yellow card.
City finally got their second in the 34th minute when Haaland got his first of the match. The Norwegian was strangely being marked by Christian Eriksen off a corner kick, and the Premier League top scorer was easily able to brush the former Spurs midfielder aside for a clear effort at goal.
City were awarded the corner after David De Gea was forced to save a dipping De Bruyne long-range effort.
City weren’t done yet.
Just three minutes later, Grealish found De Bruyne in his favoured area on the right wing. The Belgian took one look at Haaland crashing in on the opposite side and perfectly lofted the ball to the left corner of the six-yard box.
At first, it looked as though the ball would be too far ahead for the former Dortmund striker. But Haaland continued his run and left his feet early to effortlessly slide into the path of the ball to volley it in.
Following the third goal, Kyle Walker went down with an injury and was replaced by Sergio Gomez.
In the closing moments of the first half, the Blues added one more for good measure. De Bruyne sent Haaland down the left side on a counter. Instead of looking for a shot, Haaland fired a low cross to the right side for an oncoming Foden, who beat his man to grab his second of the match.
At the end of the first half, the scoreline read: Manchester City 4 Manchester United 0.
City started off the second half slow, which was understandable following a dominating first-half display.
United were able to take advantage of that sluggishness in the opening minutes of the second half when Antony curled in a long-range effort from outside the box. It was a well-taken goal in an attempt to mount a comeback.
However, City soon had their response.
Less than 10 minutes after Antony’s wondergoal, Haaland grabbed his hat-trick. Grealish and De Bruyne linked up to send Gomez free down the left flank, and the Spaniard found Haaland in the middle of the box for an easy finish.
With that goal, Haaland became the first player in Premier League history to score a hat-trick in three consecutive home matches.
Eight minutes later, Foden was able to get his hat-trick. Just like his second, it was set up by Haaland. Foden found himself one-on-one with De Gea at the edge of the box. Foden composed himself and rifled a shot near post to beat De Gea to make it six.
It had been 50 years since a City player had a hat-trick in the Manchester derby, but in less than 10 minutes two players had done it in the same match.
Following Foden’s hat-trick, the score line stood at 6-1. Nearly 12 years to the day when City changed the tides of the Premier League by beating their crosstown rivals by the same score.
However, the final score line will look kinder to United. In the closing minutes of the match, Martial tapped in a consolation goal after a nice Ederson save. And a few moments later, the Frenchman was awarded and converted a penalty after being tripped by Cancelo.
With a final scoreline of 6-3, City remain in second, just one point behind Arsenal. City’s 29 goals are nine ahead of the first-placed Gunners' 20.
Man of the Match
You rarely see a time where a hat-trick won’t get you man of the match. However, for Phil Foden, that’s what happened with the Englishman losing out on the award to his fellow teammate. On top of Haaland’s three goals, he also assisted Foden for two more. The Norwegian now has 17 goals in 11 games. His 14 goals in the opening eight league matches are 10 more than what Mohammed Salah had in his record-breaking season. We are in the process of witnessing history.
De Bruyne: 8
Manchester City will take on Copenhagen in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday night at 8 pm (BST).
Written by: @IVIeehan
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