David Moyes’ first Manchester derby ended in disappointment following a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad. Earlier in the day, Mesut Ozil claimed three assists as Arsenal went back to the summit of the Premier League with victory over Stoke.
An air of optimism surrounded the game at the Emirates stadium with Arsenal fans knowing they would return to the top of the Premier League if they could win and remain ahead of Tottenham on goal difference. It would be a fairly routine victory for Arsene Wenger’s side, with Aaron Ramsey again on the score sheet.
It took just five minutes for the opening goal. A fine free kick from Mesut Ozil was rebounded into the path of the in-form Ramsey who slotted the ball home with ease.
The flow of the game belonged to the home side, but they were pegged back in the 26th minute when Arnautovic’s effort came back off the post and Geoff Cameron had the simple task of making it all square. The parity was short lived, when Per Mertesacker sent a looping header beyond Asmir Begovic in the 36th minute to put the home side back in control.
The crucial fourth goal of the game came from the unlikely source of Bacary Sagna. The Frenchman scored a delightful header to wrap up the points for Arsenal as they went back to the top after Tottenham could only manage a 1-0 victory over Cardiff.
David Moyes got his first taste of the Manchester derby on Sunday afternoon – and it will be one he will want to forget quickly. City were slick against a lacklustre United who were without Robin Van Persie who was suffering with a thigh strain.
A sublime volley from Sergio Aguero set things in the ascendancy for the blue half of Manchester, and a further goal on the stroke of half-time from YaYa Toure had a shell-shocked United trailing two-nil at the break.
Things got even worse just five minutes into the second 45 – when Sergio Aguero grabbed his second of the afternoon to make it three. The game had suddenly began to emulate the 6-1 thrashing that transpired a few seasons previously at Old Trafford.
Victory was all but confirmed in the 50th minute when Samir Nasri tucked the ball home from close range to make it 4-0. There was still time for Wayne Rooney to score a tremendous free-kick, but it was a mere consolation in what was a one-sided affair.
Elsewhere, Crystal Palace’s poor start to the season continued with defeat to Swansea City at home. Goals from Michu and Nathan Dyer was enough to see of Ian Holloway’s men who remain in the bottom three.
Spurs left it until the 93rd minute to snatch victory at the Cardiff City stadium. Midfielder Paulinho scored with a delightful flick inside the box to put AVB’s side joint top with Arsenal after five games.
Thomas Bradley, football correspondent
Arsenal 3 Stoke 1
Cardiff 0 Tottenham 1
Crystal Palace 0 Swansea 2
Manchester City 4 Manchester United 1