The epic clash in Manchester turned into a one sided affair

Wow. I know we were all looking forward to a classy Manchester derby with a few goals in it, but I don’t suppose many were expecting most of the class and most of the goals to come from City.

The Blues were so dominant that it is difficult at this moment to see how the Reds can get the better of them in this season’s race for the title. Coral have clipped City to 7/4 with Chelsea at 3/1 and United pushed out to 9/2 and that can hardly be seen as an overreaction after such an emphatic result.

City are also now 12/1 to win the Premier League-FA Cup double and 100/1 for the Champions League treble and you would have to say that on Sunday’s evidence they seem well set to challenge on all fronts this time. United, on the other hand, are now 4/7 to end this campaign empty-handed.

But let’s be calm about this. We need a bit of perspective here. Yes, City were very good and United were pretty awful, but this was just one game. You wrote off United at tour peril when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge; every year there was some sort of mini-crisis and their title odds would drift and more often than not (literally) they would bounce back to be champions. Last year, for instance, they lost two of their first six games and ended up winning the Premiership by 11 points.

The difference now, of course, is that Ferguson is not in charge, David Moyes is, and some fans and pundits have already detected a less ambitious approach when the chips are down. Bringing on Tom Cleverley for the ineffective Ashley Young was hardly gung-ho, although in fairness Moyes did push Marouane Fellini forward and anyway, the game was up by then.

There are no two ways about it, this was a thrashing and it could have been worse if City hadn’t taken their foot off the gas after going 4-0 up soon after half time. Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure were particularly impressive and United just couldn’t match their opponents anywhere on the park until Wayne Rooney led a late rally.

This was always going to be a tough start to the season for United with early games against three of their top five rivals, but their fans would have been hoping for something better than a return of just one point. It is clear that Moyes has plenty of work to do.

City also had a shaky start, losing to Cardiff and drawing with Stoke, but now they have laid down a marker to their neighbours and to the others – including league leaders Arsenal (now 6/1), Spurs (12/1) and Liverpool (14/1) – with serious designs on the title.

Written by Jon Freeman