Haaland’s rampant start to the season continued as he made it 17 goals in 11 starts – a goal every 54 minutes – since his move from Borussia Dortmund while Phil Foden scored his first hat trick for City as they closed the gap on pace-setters Arsenal to one point.
This was a brutal reality check for United after their recent improvement, as the reigning Premier League champions ran riot to illustrate the gulf in class between the teams.
City dominated from the opening whistle and it was no surprise when Foden swept home Bernardo Silva’s cross after eight minutes before Haaland inevitably joined the action with a header from a corner 11 minutes before half-time. United’s center half Raphaël Varane was off injured at the corner and no United player challenged Harland.
City kept pouring forward and it was no surprise when Haaland slid in a third from Kevin de Bruyne’s perfect pass then turned provider to set up a simple finish for Foden before the break.
It was 4-0 to City at half-time and it seemed how many would City score.
But United came out with a little bit of spirit in the second half as Antony scored with a superb goal from 25 yards to pull one back but it only provoked City to up the tempo again, Haaland thumping home his third from Sergio Gomez’s cross then again showing he can be creator by setting up Foden for City’s sixth.
Haaland’s third put him in the record books following hat-tricks at home to Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace.
Anthony Martial’s late goal for United was greeted in near silence, as was his added-time penalty, on a day of embarrassment for the visitors and their manager Erik ten Hag and one of elation for City and Pep Guardiola.
United arrived at the Etihad fuelled by the optimism of four successive league wins but were brought down to earth by their rampant neighbours.
United looked out of their depth within seconds of the start, surviving three goal-line clearances in the same incident before Foden set the tone for the afternoon when he flashed Silva’s cross past a helpless David de Gea.
Manager Ten Hag resisted the temptation to start with the experience of £70m signing from Real Madrid, Casemiro, as he stuck with Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes in midfield.
It was a decision he may now regret as United were over-powered and over-run in all areas, unable to stem the tide and failing to cope with City’s creation and the awesome power and athleticism of Haaland.
The fact they scored more goals in the second half than City, including a beauty from new signing Antony, can hardly be labelled as a consolation as their recent upturn in results was put in perspective.
If anyone at United thought those better results in the last few weeks meant they were moving closer to City, this scoreline – which actually flattered them – put a stop to those notions.