Ten Hag and Guardiola take a bath.
Erik ten Hag, the new manager of Manchester United, took a walk around the Etihad pitch before the warm-ups to inspect his surroundings ahead of his first derby. However, he was forced to flee as the pitch sprinklers began to wet the surface, wetting Ten Hag in the process.
Then, when Pep Guardiola went outside to speak to the Sky Sports matchday team, the sprinklers sent the Manchester City manager, as well as United veterans Gary Neville and Roy Keane, fleeing their desks to avoid their own shower. Guardiola quipped that the pre-match watering was a significant technique for City in the game, which enraged Neville in particular.
The merciless city shows no mercy.
City paused the pace and attempted to reset after gaining a deserved early lead via Phil Foden. When they decided it was time for a second, they camped in the United half and took turns shooting on goal – even though Raphael Varane was down 20 yards away with an ankle injury. The Blues kept going, won a corner through Kevin De Bruyne, and Erling Haaland increased the advantage with a thunderous header from that set-piece.
United players, led by Bruno Fernandes, had swarmed the referee in a furious protest that the game had not been stopped for Varane, but De Bruyne told Fernandes to back off, as well as had a polite talk with David De Gea. With Varane out, Haaland rose highest from De Bruyne’s corner, and City’s ruthless attitude earned them a crucial second goal.
Who is in command?
From the moment they got off the coach and entered the Etihad, United’s defense was seeking for a leader, or anything approximating a structure, with City dominating throughout the 90 minutes to achieve one of their most memorable derby victory in history. When City was 6-0 up and Guardiola threw on four players at once, it was City hunting for a leader.
With De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan departing, Kyle Walker being substituted earlier, and Ruben Dias and Rodri not present, City had no members of their captaincy group on the field, leaving Aymeric Laporte unclear who to pass the captain’s armband to. After Gundogan seemed equally perplexed, Laporte took the armband on his comeback from injury and first appearance of the season.
Fans make fun of United.
Even before halftime, there were United fans departing the Etihad, and more followed with each City score in the second half. The Poznan stretched all the way around the stadium after Haaland made it five for City, and City fans began to ‘Ole’ each United pass if they ever strung a play together. ‘We want ten,’ chanted someone from behind the goal.
The fans have a well-rehearsed cry to celebrate their other 6-1 victory over United, and it got an airing after Foden’s third and City’s sixth, with the scoreline identical to that Old Trafford rout at the time. After another historic victory over their rivals, the Blues followers may have to add a few more words to the song, however, Anthony Martial’s late consolation brace ruined the symmetry.
The Etihad tannoy played Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear You Apart’ on the full-time whistle, urging fans to sing their own rendition about pulling United apart.
Two match balls are required.
Erling Haaland now has three City hat-tricks, making him the first player in Premier League history to score back-to-back hat-tricks at home. Foden’s hat-trick was the first of his career, but he also passed 50 goals for City on Sunday. At full time, Haaland immediately seized the match ball from the referee before captain Ilkay Gundogan cheekily retrieved it from him and tossed it to Foden as a kind gesture.
Someone else, however, had discovered a separate ball for Foden, leaving him with two and Haaland with none. So Foden threw one to Haaland, which missed and was then kicked away. If obtaining enough match balls for Haaland becomes a problem for City, finding enough for others will be a very good thing to have.