Manchester United maintained their wonderful run of form with an emphatic 4-2 win at home to Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday. Goals from Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling were bookended by a Sergio Agüero brace, as United recorded their first derby win since 2012.
The game could scarcely have started worse for United, who were suffocated in the opening exchanges by the intensity of City's pressing. David de Gea was called into action for the first time after just six minutes, when he made a low block on Jesús Navas's shot. Within a couple of minutes, the visitors had a deserved advantage; a smart run by David Silva penetrated the United defence, leaving him with a simple pass for Sergio Agüero to tap home.
United were completely on the back foot, though snatched a fortuitous equaliser within 10 minutes. Marouane Fellaini flicked a long de Gea ball into Ander Herrera, whose low cross was stabbed home by Ashley Young at the first time of asking.
A moment of luck, undoubtedly, but it served to dramatically shift the momentum of the match. The hosts started to zip the ball around, with Juan Mata and Ander Herrera beginning to find gaps in the City midfield. They were rewarded with a brilliant goal just short of the half-hour, which culminated in a deep Young cross being nodded in at the back post by Fellaini for 2-1. By the end of the half, United were in the ascendancy, and the lead.
It should've been 3-1 within 10 minutes of the restart, though somehow the ball stayed out of the net after a Wayne Rooney free-kick set-up a frantic few seconds of penalty box pinball. As it was, the hosts had to wait until midway through the second period to double their lead, with a perfect Rooney ball slotted underneath Joe Hart by Mata.
City had shown comparatively little in the second half, and their afternoon went from bad to worse with just over 15 minutes remaining. A Young free-kick was met in the box by an unmarked Chris Smalling, whose header beat Hart for four.
The visitors did manage to pull one back through Agüero in stoppage time, though by then Michael Carrick had trudged off the field injured, leaving the Reds down to 10 men.