In a day where the main focus of Premier League football was the derby match between the red and blue of Manchester, it became the talking point of the weekend by Sunday evening. The ‘Noisy Neighbours’ put six past United to go five points clear of their city rivals in an historic embarrassment and defeat for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
Chelsea also found themselves in trouble with a 1-0 loss at London counterparts QPR, and elsewhere in the capital, Arsenal triumphed over Stoke City 3-1 as their revival in form continues.
Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City
With Mario Balotelli making headlines for the wrong reasons in the build up to this clash, he started the fireworks at Old Trafford after leading Manchester City to victory in extravagant circumstances over neighbours Manchester United.
The 6-1 loss becomes the Red Devils’ worst-ever Premier League defeat, in a game which was dominated by the Citizens for long periods.
James Milner and David Silva constantly won the midfield battle against the United pairing of Anderson and Darren Fletcher, and it was Milner who supplied City’s first, pulling back the ball for Balotelli to finish precisely.
Jonny Evans then saw red at the start of the second half after a last-man foul on Balotelli. And in a game where Roberto Mancini’s men were already on top, things became increasingly difficult for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to track the forward runs of their opponents.
This led to Milner providing the second goal of the game when he combined with Silva to provide Balotelli once again. And just nine minutes later, in a carbon copy, Aguero added a third from Micah Richards’ cross.
United had only forced Joe Hart into one save all game, however they did make a breakthrough when Fletcher curled a long range effort into the top corner after combining with Javier Hernandez.
However three late goals in four minutes portrayed just how deadly Mancini’s men can be. Edin Dzeko added his name to the goal-scorers when he tapped home from close range for 4-1; whilst the Bosnian’s through ball for talisman Silva meant the Spaniard made it five.
Silva’s influence on the game had not ended there though. His touch-and-pass for Dzeko’s second goal was sublime, and confirmed the shift of balance in Manchester is almost upon us.
QPR 1-0 Chelsea
Heider Helguson’s penalty gave QPR victory over Chelsea in this London derby full of incidents. On 10 minutes, centre-back David Luiz bumped Helguson in the penalty area, and the striker dusted himself off to convert the spot kick, despite Petr Cech’s best efforts to keep it out.
The Blues then found themselves down to 10 men when Shaun Wright-Phillips outpaced full-back Jose Bosingwa and was brought down when clean through on goal.
And Andre Villas-Boas found himself in even more trouble when Didier Drogba recklessly jumped into a tackle eight minutes later, and was also sent off.
However it was the away side who took the game to Rangers in the second half, and they were unfortunate to lose at Loftus Road, despite their best efforts, with chances from Nicolas Anelka and Frank Lampard, unlucky to miss. The result means Neil Warnock’s men sneak into the top half of the table, whilst Chelsea remain third, six points off the top.
Arsenal 3-1 Stoke
Despite Robin Van Persie starting on the bench for the Gunners, Arsenal came away from a tricky encounter against Stoke with all three points at the Emirates. Gervinho started proceedings when he converted a fine Aaron Ramsey pass. But against the run of play, Stoke levelled when Peter Crouch converted from close range after numerous aerial battles from a deep free kick.
With Arsenal running out of attacking ideas, the Gunner’s Dutchman came on and rescued Arsene Wenger once again. His two goals, both assisted by the ever-lively Gervinho wrapped up the points for Arsenal who climb to seventh in the table.
Fulham 1-3 Everton
Everton got back to winning ways after three straight defeats, with two late goals over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
The Toffees started the game perfectly, with winger Royston Drenthe firing a low effort in from distance justifying his first start in the Premier League.
Second half substitute, Bryan Ruiz, levelled the score with his first goal in English football, with a sublime left foot lob. Then former Fulham favourite, Louis Saha, swung the tie back in David Moyes’ favour with his first goal of the season late on. Whilst Jack Rodwell added Everton’s third to confirm the Tofees’ leapfrog over the Cottagers in the league table.
Blackburn 1-2 Tottenham
Two fine strikes from midfield maestro, Rafael Van der Vaart ensured Tottenham left Ewood Park with all a win, leaving Blackburn boss Steve Kean under furthermore pressure from frustrated Rovers fans.
The Dutchman put Spurs in front on 15 minutes when he placed his shot beyond goalkeeper Paul Robinson after good work from Kyle Walker. The game was level when Mauro Formica fired the ball into the top corner, following a Chris Samba header from Morton Gamst Pedersen’s free kick.
However the home side’s efforts were undone by Van der Vaart once again, when he curled a shot from outside the area past a full-stretched Robinson to give his team all three points.