For United, they slipped further down the table with Arsenal winning in the earlier kick-off. But they now face a tough battle in their bid to secure Champions League football for next season.
Story of the game
The gap between the two sides on paper and league position was clear prior to kick-off and within five minutes it was evident on the pitch.
Manchester City worked their way into United’s half beautifully and found space down the left through Silva. Silva cut the ball back to De Bruyne who was somehow unmarked on the penalty spot. He fired past David De Gea with conviction and the Etihad erupted.
United almost came straight back at City through Fred. The Brazilian was picked out by Bruno Fernandes in City’s six-yard box, but Ederson came out quickly to clear the danger.
United equalised after a lightning-quick counter-attack through Pogba. Pogba slung a ball to Sancho on the left flank and he used Fernandes’ overlapping run as a decoy to cut inside and pick out Ederson’s far post. The former Man City man scored on his first return to the blue side of Manchester.
Ralf Rangnick’s side were not ahead for long as Guardiola’s men were back on top within 10 minutes as De Bruyne bagged his second. Foden’s magic created the chance when he Gascoigne-flicked the ball over Victor Lindelof and fired an attempt at De Gea. The United keeper’s save was parried into the path of Jack Grealish but his attempt was also blocked before it found De Bruyne who just hammered it home.
There was then a pause in play as fans called for medical attention in the South Stand.
When play resumed Man City pushed on to add to their lead and almost did through Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez cut inside from the left and curled an effort towards De Gea’s far post but the Spaniard saved well diving to his right.
Despite City’s domination in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, it was United who came closest to scoring and it came just before the hour mark. Fernandes slipped through Elanga and Cancelo’s late slide tackle nearly turned the ball into his own net.
De Bruyne then added to his already-impressive afternoon with a peach of a corner delivery to Mahrez. The Algerian, who had been quiet, fired a first-time strike along the floor to beat De Gea. It was a corner routine that had clearly been practised on the training ground and it paid off massively.
The City fans were in party mode and deservedly so, they had dismantled United for a second time this season.
And this one had even greater meaning as they aim to pull away from title-challengers, Liverpool.
As City toyed with United, so did the Etihad crowd. They danced and the Poznań returned as they took one step closer to defending their Premier League title.