4 things we learned from Man City's dominant win over Man Utd

  • Phil Foden and Erling Haaland on the scoresheet as City roar back for Manchester derby success
  • Erik ten Hag's United second best but Andre Onana impressive in goal
  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe's hopes of knocking City 'off their perch' a distant dream
Foden was the catalyst for City's success
Foden was the catalyst for City's success / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Manchester City's 3-1 win over Manchester United was an entertaining spectacle for the neutral, laced with quality from some of the Premier League's biggest stars.

Marcus Rashford rose to the occasion early on, firing a stupendous effort past Ederson from long range to hand United the lead, before England teammate Phil Foden dipped into his playbook of brilliance to level the scores.

Foden doubled his money to score his sixth career goal against United ten minutes from time, and Erling Haaland was on hand to put the game out of sight - rich reward for the home side's dominance which yielded 73 per cent possession, 27 shots on goal, 736 completed passes and an xG of 3.33 compared to the Red Devils' 0.25.

So what did we learn from another Manchester derby that went the way of those in blue? The following four things for starters...

Foden in PFA Player of the Year contention

Phil Foden
Foden was the star of the show at the Etihad / Visionhaus/GettyImages

The focus and attention at City is usually reserved for Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne, but there's another bright star who's a serious contender for every Player of the Year gong going; Philip Walter Foden.

The 23-year-old netted his 17th and 18th goals of the season in an extraordinarily composed performance, which saw him dictate the play and offer up just as much quality as the lauded De Bruyne.

Foden's goal to level the scores was supremely brilliant from a technical perspective - though the less said about the defending the better - and his second was equally as impressive for his footballing intelligence and sheer understanding of the game.

Pep Guardiola has always claimed that Foden is a special, special talent, and it's now clear to those who didn't already know that he's on a par with Jude Bellingham when it comes to potential greatness. Will he be named Player of the Year when the season's out? Don't bet against it.

Onana's bad days are behind him

Andre Onana
Onana is growing in confidence / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Andre Onana's debut Manchester United campaign has been anything but plain sailing.

The Cameroonian has made an abundance of mistakes, often costing United points, and has seen his credentials called into question from supporters and pundits alike. But recently, things have started turning in Onana's favour.

He's been exceptionally busy in goal, saving more shots than Erik ten Hag dare think about, and looks to have addressed the mental road blocks that saw his performance levels waver from one extreme to the other. Indeed, Onana is now consistently one of United's better players - again, probably not a good thing from the club's perspective - and his nervy distribution has also come on tenfold.

Haaland is human but goals are inevitable

Erling Haaland
Haaland scored one but missed an absolute sitter / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

With half-time on the horizon and City all over United like a cheap suit, Haaland was presented with an unmissable opportunity just three yards from goal.

The Norwegian had ghosted in between Jonny Evans and Raphael Varane, positioning himself perfectly as Foden rose high at the back post to head Rodri's dinked cross back across goal. But with the goal at his mercy and Onana stood gawping at the front post, the unthinkable happened. Haaland missed.

Bizarrely, for a player who makes the right decision (seemingly) every single time, Haaland opted to go with a high boot to cushion the ball into the net, rather than stooping down the teeniest little bit to plant it at home with his forehead.

Haaland would get his goal, obviously, in the dying embers of the game - punishing Sofyan Amrabat's dallying on the ball with a ruthlessly efficient finish - but did at least prove that his recent habit of missing chances is not a robotic malfunction, rather that he is in fact human.

Sir Jim's 'knock City off their perch' ambition is one for the back end of this decade

Sir Jim Ratcliffe
The sign welcoming Sir Jim Ratcliffe to Manchester United / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

“We have a lot to learn from our noisy neighbour and the other neighbour (Liverpool). They are the enemy at the end of the day. There is nothing I would like better than to knock both of them off their perch. Equally, we are the three great northern clubs who are very close to one another.

“They have been in a good place for a while and there are things we can learn from both of them. They have sensible organisations, great people within the organisations, a good, driven and elite environment that they work in.

“I am very respectful of them but they are still the enemy.”

Those were the first public words of Sir Jim Ratcliffe following confirmation of his 27.7 per cent investment into Manchester United - music to the ears of every Red Devils supporter around the world.

But he, like everybody else, knows United are miles away from their rivals currently, and that's unlikely to change anytime soon. And by not anytime soon, we're not talking days and months, we're talking years. Many, many years.