Joe Hart called it the worst day of his Manchester City career as City were put to the sword by a rampant United side 4-2 at Old Trafford.
The score actually flatters City, who except for an opening spell when they went 1-0 up through Sergio Aguero were second best all day. United were too strong, too hungry and too powerful. All over the field Manchester United were superior. It has been a while since we have said that, in this fixture at least.
Time will tell what the ramifications of today will be, be United will surely take third place in the league. That looks a certainty now. For City, everything suddenly seems unclear, including their manager’s position and their own place in the top four.
The difference between third and fourth cannot be overstated. Third place means a measured preseason, knowing that you will be in the Champions League group stage draw. Fourth place is a summer of uncertainty, having to perform at a high level in August just to qualify.
And that is if City finish in fourth. City looked like a team waiting for the season to end, and with six games to go, Liverpool could be within four points if they beat Newcastle on Monday. Not being in the Champions League next season is as unthinkable as it was for their red rivals last season, but City have fallen off the edge of the proverbial cliff and there is no indication that Manuel Pellegrini os the man to turn this awful run around.
There are no such worries at United where Louis van Gaal’s side has hit form at the right time. Six weeks ago everyone was wondering if United would finish in the top six. But after taking apart Liverpool, Spurs and now Man City, van Gaal has shown that United will be real title contenders next season.
United were terrific all over the pitch, as Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young, Daley Blind and Juan Mata were all excellent.
Mata rattled City with his creativity and vision, Michael Carrick ensured the hosts played at a high tempo at the base of midfield and Ander Herrera had possibly his best game in United red.
But the best players on a pitch full of mega stars were Young and Fellaini. A year ago United fans were calling for Young and Fellaini to go, but somehow Van Gaal has turned these misfits into two of the most deadly players in the Premier League on current form.
What did you think of the derby and the performance of both sides?