Manchester City thrashed Manchester United 4-1 in an extraordinary derby match as Arsenal went top of the Premier League on Sunday.
In what was a first Manchester derby for both City manager Manuel Pellegrini and his United counterpart David Moyes, Sergio Aguero scored twice at Eastlands, with Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri also on target for the hosts.
The first match between the two clubs since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager of English champions United at the end of last season saw Aguero open the scoring in the 16th minute when he flicked in Aleksandar Kolarov’s cross, despite the ball being behind him.
Toure made it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime when he turned in Alvaro Negredo’s header from a corner.
Whatever Moyes said at the interval to a United team missing injured striker Robin van Persie had little effect as within five minutes of the restart City were 4-0 up.
Negredo saw his lofted cross to the far post volleyed in by the unmarked Aguero and, in another example of poor United defending, Jesus Navas went unchallenged down the right before his cross was struck home by Nasri.
Wayne Rooney pulled one back for United when he beat fellow England international Joe Hart with a free-kick three minutes from time that gave the striker a record 11th goal in Manchester derbies.
“It was a great win against Manchester United and no one believes that 4-1 is possible before the game,” Pellegrini said. “We try to be the team that has possession of the ball and creates chances.”
Skipper Vincent Kompany believed City were hungrier for the win.
“Maybe the game meant a little bit more to us than for them,” the Belgian said. “It’s too early to say it’s a defining game. You make a statement over the course of the season.”
Moyes admitted United had been outplayed.
“We didn’t play well enough to win the game. Manchester City played well and deserved the victory,” Moyes said. “If you lose four you are not expecting to win too many. We conceded poor goals. We needed to get closer in the second half, but they get away and score more goals. We got better as the game went on, but it was too late.”
Arsenal went top with a 3-1 win over Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium and remained there on goal-difference after north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur joined them on 12 points following a 1-0 win away to Cardiff City.
Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey made it seven goals in eight games when he gave Arsenal a fifth-minute lead after Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic had palmed away a Mesut Ozil free-kick.
Stoke equalized when US international Geoff Cameron scored his first goal for the club in the 26th minute from the edge of the area after Marko Arnautovic’s volley came back off the post.
Arsenal went 2-1 up before halftime through centerback Per Mertesacker’s looping header.
Bacary Sagna then made Stoke pay once more for failing to defend a set-piece when he headed home in the 72nd minute from another free-kick by club record signing Ozil, the Germany international producing a sparkling display on his Gunners’ home debut.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was understandably delighted by Ozil’s performance.
“Like the team, he [Ozil] gave a lot on Wednesday night [in the UEFA Champions League victory away to Olympique de Marseille last week], but he showed his class today and he worked hard as well,” Wenger said.
It seemed Tottemham would have to settle for a goalless draw in Wales until, in stoppage-time, Paulinho turned in Erik Lamela’s cross for his first Spurs goal.
“Today it was different from normal in that there was justice in football. We created so many chances that there could only be one winner,” Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas said. “Bearing in mind the win they got against Man City, there won’t be many teams getting points here, so I’m happy.”
Sunday’s other Premier League match saw Swansea City win 2-0 away at Crystal Palace with Michu putting the Welsh club in front in just the second minute, before Nathan Dyer added a second goal shortly after halftime.