Manchester United were in top form on Sunday, as they thumped local rival Manchester City at Old Trafford behind well-executed passes and solid defending, 4-2. The victory gives United more breathing room in the Premier League table, owning a four-point advantage on City for third place.
Sergio Aguero recorded a brace, and struck first for the visitors off an assist from David Silva in the eighth minute, but it would be all United from that point forward. Ashley Young scored from close range in the 14th minute, and defensive midfielder Marouane Fellaini would add another in the 27th with a back-post header to put Louis van Gaal's side ahead before halftime, 2-1.
It would be more United in the second half, with a streaking and perhaps offside Juan Mata sliding a ball past Joe Hart in the 67th minute. Chris Smalling would basically shut the door on City six minutes later with a header off a free-kick to put the Red Devils up, 4-1. Van Gaal's squad controlled possession for 58 percent of the match, and showed why they are surging in the second half of the season.
Aguero would make the final score a bit more respectable with a right-footed shot from the center of the box off an assist from Pablo Zabaleta. It was an overall disappointing effort by the Citizens, and not the type of response they hoped for after their 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace last week.
United extended their Premier League winning streak to four games, and have outscored their opponents 12-4 in that span. Van Gaal has praised the club's ability to overcome some poor performance in the first half of the season.
Meanwhile, City remain a club in peril. They will have four of their last six games at home, but any hope of winning the league title looks completely dashed for the defending champions. Manager Manuel Pellegrini's job security remains in serious doubt, especially if City miss out on a Champions League spot.