Manchester United suffered a grimly predictable 6-3 thrashing at the hands of their table-topping rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Goals from Antony and Anthony Martial were no more than consolations after hat-tricks from City superstars Erling Haaland and Phil Foden, as Pep Guardiola’s side ran out comfortable victors.
There were no surprises in Erik ten Hag’s United team selection: he named the same starting lineup that put three past Arsenal in the Reds’ last league outing almost a month ago. Unfortunately, however, consistency was no match for City’s quality, and Guardiola’s side dominated a match that was little short of embarrassing for their visitors.
The reigning Premier League champions might have taken the lead after just three minutes, when a cross from Bernardo Silva was flicked back across goal by Haaland. Scott McTominay’s sliced clearance was lashed goalwards by Kevin De Bruyne, and beaten away by David De Gea.
Just five minutes later, the hosts took a deserved lead. Silva overlapped his compatriot João Cancelo down City’s left and drilled a low cross to the near post, where it was turned home by Phil Foden. United could have no complaints, and were lucky to not go two down when an İlkay Gündoğan free-kick kissed the outside of De Gea’s post moments later.
Instead, City had to wait until after the half-hour mark before doubling their lead. A corner was whipped into the area by De Bruyne, and met by a towering Haaland. His powerful header was hooked away on the goalline by Tyrell Malacia, but the referee’s watch indicated that it had crossed before the clearance was made, and a goal was awarded.
United were feeble in attack and defence, and five minutes later City had a third. De Bruyne spun a majestic pass from the inside-right channel behind Raphaël Varane and towards the back post, where Haaland was waiting to slide past de Gea for 3-0. Ten Hag sat shaking his head in the dugout, but worse was to come.
Just before stoppage time, City capped a dominant first-half performance with a fourth. The irrepressible De Bruyne sent Haaland scampering into the left channel, where he slid a low pass across goal for the onrushing Foden. The midfielder sealed his brace with a simple tap-in, and United soon trudged off the field having been utterly humiliated.
The second half got off to a comparatively slow start, but was jolted to life after 10 minutes by a brilliant goal from United’s summer signing Antony. The Brazilian picked the ball up and darted inside off the right, lashing a low, powerful drive inside Ederson’s far post from 25 yards.
But any hopes that United might claw their way back into the game were dashed just past the hour, when Sergio Gómez fizzed a low cross into the United box and Haaland fired it home on the half-volley: his third consecutive hat-trick in Premier League fixtures at the Etihad.
With just under 20 minutes left, Foden also netted a third. Haaland wriggled free of United substitute Casemiro in the middle of the Reds’ half, and slid the ball beyond Victor Lindelöf for Foden to slot home. City were making a historic Premier League win look utterly routine.
However, there was still time for United to net another couple of consolation goals. The first came when Anthony Martial followed up a fierce Fred shot, nodding a rebound beyond the stranded Ederson for 6-2. It was exactly a year to the day since the Frenchman’s last Premier League goal, and his first at the Etihad since December 2019.
The Frenchman sealed his brace from the penalty spot in stoppage time, after he was sent tumbling in the penalty area by Cancelo. Martial stepped up to take the spot-kick, and curled it beautifully into Ederson’s top-right corner, salvaging some respectability for ten Hag’s side. If nothing else, let’s hope Martial’s given more of a chance in the games to come.