Aaron Ramsey scored his seventh goal of the season as Arsenal beat Stoke City 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium while Brazilian Paulinho struck deep into stoppage time to earn Tottenham a 1-0 victory at Cardiff City.
Swansea City followed up a notable 3-0 Europa League win in Valencia in midweek with a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace that moved Michael Laudrup’s side into mid-table. It was events at the Etihad Stadium that reverberated around the Premier League though as United were blown away in their first derby without Alex Ferguson in charge since 1986.
United conceding three goals in five minutes either side of halftime. Wayne Rooney curled in a precision free kick with the clock ticking down to become the highest United scorer in the history of the fixture but it was about the only ray of sunshine on a dreadful day for the Reds who were second best throughout. While Moyes was left to pick up the pieces, his City counterpart Manuel Pellegrini,, also sampling the atmosphere of a Manchester derby for the first time, was celebrating a display which sent out a powerful message to the title contenders.
“I’m very happy, not because of the win but the way we played,” said Pellegrini. United have picked up only seven points from five league games and there will be no respite for Moyes whose team face arch rivals Liverpool in the League Cup on Wednesday.
Moyes was deprived of injured striker Robin van Persie on Sunday but offered no excuses for a woeful display.
“We didn’t play well enough to win the game,” Moyes said. “If you lose four you are not expecting to win too many. We conceded poor goals. We got better as the game went on but it was too late.”
City began with more urgency and took the lead when a flowing move saw Aleksandar Kolarov’s cross pick out Aguero who produced a superbly improvised volley. United looked like reaching the interval with no further damage but Toure turned in Alvaro Negredo’s header with his knee. Aguero struck again two minutes after the interval when the Argentine was again left unmarked to tap in.
With United staggering on the ropes Jesus Navas then broke down the right and picked out Nasri to volley City’s fourth. Patrice Evra hit the post for United before Rooney, still wearing protection on a head cut, beat Joe Hart with a beauty. “I thought Wayne Rooney’s performance was outstanding,” Moyes said. “He didn’t deserve to be on the losing side today.”
Arsenal fans came to acclaim record signing Mesut Ozil on his home debut and were rewarded as the German international had a hand in his side’s three goals. His free kick after five minutes was not held by Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic and Ramsey poached the rebound.
Stoke did equalise after 26 minutes through American Geoff Cameron but Per Mertesacker then headed in Ozil’s cross and Bacary Sagna’s loppy header, again from an Ozil pass, sealed the points for the Gunners.
Tottenham looked like being frustrated at Cardiff whose keeper David Marshall was in fine form, but struck late through Paulinho, one of several pre-season signings. Tottenham have conceded only once in the league this season, in a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal, but stay behind their north London rivals who have superior goal difference.