Erling Haaland produced a brace and assist as Manchester City thrashed local rivals, Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford in the Manchester derby.
Haaland put City ahead with a 26th minute penalty after Rasmus Højlund had fouled Rodri during a free-kick, and added his second goal with a 49th minute header from Bernardo Silva’s cross to wrap up victory.
The Leeds-born Norwegian international turned assistant in the 80th minute as he intercepted Andre Onana’s block and teed up Phil Foden to poke in to further consolidate City’s triumph over their arch-enemies.
Aside from a few wasteful chances, United struggle to mount much quality in their first league game played at home since the death of Sir Bobby Charlton on 21 October.
City now sit third in the table on goal difference behind second-placed Arsenal with 24 points apiece and two points behind league leaders, Tottenham Hotspur.
United remain eighth but now seven points adrift of fifth-placed Aston Villa who beat Luton 3-1 at home in a mid-afternoon kick-off.
Speaking post-match about City’s dominance at Old Trafford, Haaland said: “Amazing. Fantastic win. The game was incredible today, the whole team and everything.
“I felt it a little bit, pressure for the penalty. I had the pressure and I scored and it was a fantastic feeling.
“It was a nice celebration, for both of them. It was a nice game.”
With North London’s Tottenham and Arsenal sat top of the table at kick-off, Man City knew that victory was imperative but received two early scares as Victor Lindelof flicked a cutback pass over the top and Scott McTominay’s tame shot was saved in the second minute.
City’s first chance soon came in the eighth minute as Rodri played a direct cross towards the right post which Kyle Walker volleyed down for Foden to nod onto goal, but Andre Onana spilled his save and Harry Maguire crucially cleared the ball from Haaland’s reach.
City soon began to dominate and won a 19th minute corner from which Jack Grealish forced Onana into another save, having picked up a pass and curled his shot towards the far-bottom right corner.
Sofyan Amrabat fouled Foden two minutes later to concede a set piece from which the free-kick was cleared, but referee – Paul Tierney stopped play shortly afterwards upon request from Video-Assistant Referee (VAR) after Højlund was adjudged to have tugged Rodri inside the box.
Tierney subsequently determined that Højlund’s action was a foul via a pitchside monitor review and Haaland stepped up in the 26th minute, as he dispatched the penalty into the bottom-right corner to put City ahead at Old Trafford for the second consecutive season.
United missed a huge chance to equalise in the 31st minute as Højlund pounced upon and intercepted Foden’s backpass, only to be forced wide by a sliding Ederson and his shot eventually landed off-target.
Utd weathered City’s pressure throughout the remainder of the first half but on the cusp of half-time, McTominay unleashed a powerful shot towards the top left corner which forced an aerobatic save from Ederson to keep City ahead at the break.
Man Utd proceeded to make a switch at half time as Amrabat was dropped and Mason Mount brought on, which almost yielded reward amidst a lively restart as Bruno Fernandes forced Ederson into a 48th minute save.
Fernandes’ chance proved as good as it got for Utd as City quickly seized control of the game and barely a minute later, Grealish slipped Silva through to chip across for Haaland to nod in his scond goal of the game and extend the Cityzens’ lead.
Grealish wasted two huge chances to seal City’s win in the space of a minute as he saw a 56th minute curled shot saved by Onana, before he dragged a shot wide from Julian Alvarez’s pass under 60 seconds later.
Alvarez then blasted a shot wide of the top-left corner in the 63rd minute before Marcus Rashford almost halved Utd’s deficit five minutes later, but the England international dragged his shot wide across goal as he aimed for the bottom-left corner.
City eventually punished United’s defence once more in the 80th minute as Rodri forced a quick punch from Onana, which left the ball to fall for Haaland who teed up Foden to calmly slot in from his square pass for the Cityzens’ third goal.
Utd ultimately failed to mount much effort to claw a goal back at minimum as City saw the game out to keep pace with their title rivals.
Man Utd now switch focus to their Carabao Cup title defence with a clash against last season’s finalists, Newcastle United on Wednesday 1 November at Old Trafford (8:15pm GMT).
Erik Ten Haag’s Red Devils then return to league action with a trip to Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday 4 November, in a 12:30pm kick-off live on TNT Sport 1 in the UK.
Man City meanwhile aren’t in cup action in midweek and will next face Bournemouth at home on 4 November (3pm), in a match with potential implications at opposite ends of the table.
Manchester United: Andre Onana, Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans, Victor Lindelof (Rguilon 73′), Sofyan Ambrabat (Mount 45′), Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen, Marcus Rashford, Rasmus Højlund (Garnacho 73′)
Substitutes: Altay Bayindir, Raphael Varane, Sergio Reguilon, Hannibal Mejbri, Kobbie Mainoo, Mason Mount, Antony, Alejandro Garnacho, Anthony Martial
Manchester City: Ederson, Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Josko Gvardiol, John Stones, Rodri, Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez (Kovacic 87′), Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish (Doku 87′), Erling Haaland
Substitutes: Stefan Ortega, Kalvin Phillips, Nathan Ake, Mateo Kovacic, Jeremy Doku, Srgio Gomez, Matheus Nunes, Oscar Bobb, Rico Lewis
Referee: Paul Tierney