Match ends, Manchester United 4, Manchester City 2.
- Man Utd go four points clear of City
- City have lost six of last eight games
- Aguero scores 100th City goal
Manchester United ended a dismal derby sequence and piled the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini as his Manchester City side were well beaten at Old Trafford.
City, attempting to recover from successive away defeats at Liverpool, Burnley and Crystal Palace, made a blistering start and took an early lead through Sergio Aguero.
It was all downhill from then on for the fading Premier League champions as Ashley Young and the revitalised Marouane Fellaini put United in front before half-time.
Louis van Gaal's side never looked like surrendering the advantage as they secured a sixth straight Premier League win with further goals from Juan Mata and Chris Smalling.
|Phil Neville: "I have a feeling Yaya Toure will get singled out again for playing poorly in Manchester City's crushing defeat by Manchester United but I actually feel sorry for him. The way they line up, you could put any player in City's midfield in a big game like Sunday's derby and they are going to struggle."|
|Read more: 'Why Yaya Toure is not the problem for Man City'|
The victory put them four points ahead of City and firmly on course for a return to the Champions League next season.
As for City, this was the sort of capitulation that never reflects well on any manager and Liverpool could narrow the gap to Pellegrini's side to just four points if they beat Newcastle United at Anfield on Monday.
Missing out on the Champions League is the unthinkable scenario for City and Pellegrini, who had won the previous four Manchester derbies - including three at Old Trafford - before his side declined alarmingly after a perfect start.
And to illustrate the turnaround in fortunes, it was only just over a year ago that City's 3-0 win here effectively signalled the end of David Moyes' United reign and put City 15 points ahead of their rivals having played two games fewer.
United are now the team that looks rejuvenated, while City are in serious need of reconstruction as the defensive frailties and fluctuating form that have characterised their season were exposed once more.
City can take solace from having four of their last six games at home but their defence of the title is in ruins and the speculation surrounding Pellegrini will continue, especially if they miss out on the top four.
The Chilean repeated the ploy that worked successfully in that win at Old Trafford last season when a high-tempo start brought a goal inside a minute from Edin Dzeko. It took slightly longer this time but brought the same reward.
David De Gea had already saved an angled shot from Jesus Navas but he was powerless to prevent Aguero converting a simple tap-in from David Silva's pass after intelligent work from James Milner.
United were on the ropes but responded to draw level after 14 minutes. De Gea's long clearance found its way to Ander Herrera and Young reacted first to a rebound after he battled with Gael Clichy to get on the Spanish midfielder's cross.
Young was then the provider as United went ahead after 27 minutes, his cross dropping over Clichy at the far post for Fellaini to head past Hart, who should have kept the effort out having got strong contact on the ball.
City made a change at half-time as injured captain Vincent Kompany, also on a yellow card for a late challenge on Daley Blind, made way for Eliaquim Mangala.
The tide continued to flow United's way and Hart made amends with a crucial double save seven minutes after the restart, first from Wayne Rooney's free-kick then from Michael Carrick as the midfielder looked certain to extend the lead.
City's early zest had disappeared completely and United did get the third goal they deserved after 67 minutes when Rooney's perfect reverse pass released Mata, who beat Hart from a narrow angle.
The visitors felt Mata was marginally offside but once again their defending had been found wanting.
And it turned even uglier for City and Pellegrini seven minutes later when Smalling emerged unmarked through a packed penalty area to glance a header past the exposed Hart from Young's free-kick.
Aguero scored in the closing moments but it cannot count as anything approaching consolation on a dismal day for City but one of pure delight for United.
- 1de Gea
- 25A Valencia
- 4JonesSubstituted forRojoat 75'minutes
- 8MataSubstituted forDi Maríaat 81'minutes
- 31FellainiSubstituted forFalcaoat 83'minutes
- 2da Silva
- 7Di María
- 4KompanyBooked at 44minsSubstituted forMangalaat 45'minutes
- 15NavasSubstituted forLampardat 74'minutes
- 42Y Touré
- 21SilvaBooked at 34mins
- 7MilnerBooked at 24minsSubstituted forNasriat 63'minutes
- Mark Clattenburg
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Manchester United 4, Manchester City 2.
Offside, Manchester City. Yaya Touré tries a through ball, but Sergio Agüero is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Ángel Di María (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Antonio Valencia.
Goal! Manchester United 4, Manchester City 2. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Pablo Zabaleta.
Michael Carrick went off injured after Manchester United had used all subs.
Foul by Ander Herrera (Manchester United).
David Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Manchester United. Falcao replaces Marouane Fellaini.
Offside, Manchester United. Ángel Di María tries a through ball, but Antonio Valencia is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Ángel Di María (Manchester United) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ander Herrera.
Attempt missed. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Frank Lampard.
Substitution, Manchester United. Ángel Di María replaces Juan Mata.
Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Martín Demichelis (Manchester City).
Substitution, Manchester United. Marcos Rojo replaces Phil Jones.
Offside, Manchester City. Eliaquim Mangala tries a through ball, but Sergio Agüero is caught offside.
Substitution, Manchester City. Frank Lampard replaces Jesús Navas.
Goal! Manchester United 4, Manchester City 1. Chris Smalling (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Ashley Young with a cross following a set piece situation.
Ashley Young (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.