Manchester United were toyed with at their own ground as Manchester City's dominant performance earned them three points to close out Matchday 10. City took the lead in the first half via an Erling Haaland penalty, which was awarded as a result of a Rasmus Hojlund foul on Rodri. Haaland's second came in the 49th minute of the second half and he closed out a decisive individual showing by assisting Phil Foden for City's third.
United did manage to create some chances, with a fair amount of them resulting from a lack of concentration on City's end, but the United players just weren't clinical enough to try and get a foothold in the game - the scoreline also would've been a lot worse if it wasn't for some important saves courtesy of Andre Onana.
As ever with United there will be a massive inquest to be had whilst the blue side of Manchester revel in yet another victory, but as for now, here are four things we learnt from today's match.
United's defence was very poor
A big reason why City were able to have so many shots was because United's defensive shape was too disorganised. It has already been noted many times this season that United lack the physical profiles to stamp their authority on games against better opposition, but even against teams who have better technical quality there should still be vigour and intent in defensive actions and due to United's low physical ceiling it negatively affects their defending just as much as their attacking.
It became clear that City were continuously trying to hit crosses into the back-post via inside runners and United were unable to deal with the two times that Haaland got the ball to his head - Onana bailed United out in the first half with an exceptional save to keep Haaland's header out, but was unable to do so in the second half as the Norweigan was left completely unmarked for a free header. It is probably a testament to how disorganised United's defence has been this season that they can fail to mark the most dangerous striker in the league.
In addition to Haaland being left free at the back-post for the second goal, it was Scott Mctominay's lethargy that stopped him from closing down Bernardo Silva (who assisted Haaland's second goal), even though he was able to see him overlapping Jack Grealish. For the third goal it was all too easy for Rodri to skip past Christian Eriksen with the ball at his feet and unleash a shot at Onana, who unluckily parried the ball into Haaland's path, enabling the Norwegian to slide the ball into Foden for a simple tap-in.
The defending was simply amateur-level from United today.
Ten Hag's personnel decisions hindered the team
Before the game Erik ten Hag said that he left Raphael Varane and Sergio Reguilon on the bench for "tactical reasons", however, it was difficult to see how that decision could've been justified before the game, and now that the game is finished the decision creates a concerning outlook for Ten Hag's understanding of game-states.
It is evident that when it comes to box defending Varane is still one of the best in Europe, and in a game where City's dominant possession of the ball would've likely resulted in a multitude of chances created for Pep Guardiola's men, Varane's box defending qualities would've been highly valuable.
The exclusion of Reguilon was also questionable due to the fact that what he provides when does play is width in attacking scenarios, however, Victor Lindelof is much more conservative with the ball, which is understandable considering that he's primarily a centre-half, but it means that United's build-up isn't as fluid and effective as it can be.
Christian Eriksen may have proven this season that he does bring a calming influence to the United team when they want to circulate possession, but it was already well-known that Eriksen massively struggles out-of-possession against more physical teams, and there were multiple moments during the game where Eriksen failed to track runners and he didn't win any of his duels. It does beg the question why Ten Hag is suddenly so averse to starting Mason Mount in games where United need physicality, despite Mount being his marquee midfield signing of the summer.
Haaland and Silva were key to City's ruthlessness
Haaland made it 11 goals in the league this season and he didn't have to exhaust himself to do so. With City being able to get so many players around the box it meant he could constantly annoy the United defenders due to his impeccable movement. He made the back-post in particular his own today, scoring from the back-post and assisting there too. He and his teammates realised quickly that the back-post was there to be exploited and the United players couldn't deal with the constant pressure there.
Silva, put simply, ran the show. He started in the pivot with Rodri but was clearly given license to roam wherever he wanted to receive the ball, and that caused serious problems for the United players because Silva works tirelessly out-of-possession, and he practically made himself scarce to the United players because he was so difficult to pick up. He was most dangerous in the inside channels today where his main goal was to get the ball across goal to Haaland, which successfully resulted in an assist.
Guardiola has felt more inclined to instruct Silva to roam freely this season in games where City expect to dominate possession, and today was another example of how that can greatly help this City team.
The synergy between defence and midfield for City was inextricable, and it showed in the regular rotations between Rodri and John Stones, as sometimes Rodri would drop deeper as the central centre-back (CCB) in the buildup to allow Stones to venture forward, or both Rodri and Stones would push higher whilst Josko Gvardiol and Kyle Walker would come inside to build up in a three with Ruben Dias - this made it all too easy for City to create space in the middle and out wide for their attackers.
The fluidity of City's possession shape was visibly frustrating the United players, who for the most part couldn't get near them.