De Bruyne regained City’s lead to put the hosts 2-1 ahead at the break. City came out firing in the second half with a lot of pressure on United ending in a screamer from Riyad Mahrez.
He converted from a corner to put the visitors out of sight and got his second in the dying moments of the match in what turned out to be a shocking performance from United.
But what were the talking points and things we learned from the derby? Here are the top five.
Manchester City keep six point cushion at the top
Liverpool are putting pressure on Manchester City to continue to pick up points and Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t disappoint on Sunday.
They restored their six-point gap at the top of the table with their win over United.
The Reds are still on City’s heals as they have a game in hand but after the stunning display at the Etihad Stadium the title is still the holders’ to lose.
And City also displayed their strength in depth as Kevin De Bruyne was subbed for Ilkay Gundogan meaning even if some stars at City become injured in the closing stages of the race, Guardiola’s team can weather the storm.
United’s inconsistent defence strikes again
All eyes were on Harry Maguire in defence as Raphael Varane wasn’t available. Maguire was poor, being nutmegged with De Bruyne’s first goal and receiving a yellow for a late challenge on the Belgium international.
The inconsistency of the back four is hampering United’s performances. Maguire should either start every match or be benched so the side can work on their communication.
A prime example of the communication breaking down was when goalkeeper David De Gea, who had a cracking match with some great saves, came miles out of goal to clear a ball which Aaron Wan-Bissaka then kicked. It left the goal vulnerable with Phil Foden almost pouncing on the chance to convert into an open goal.
It wasn’t just Maguire who was disappointing in defence, Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles were equally sloppy. Telles wasn’t fast enough to cover the City opener and he kept being left in the dust by City attack. And Wan-Bissaka was poor in every area of the pitch.
Some consistency is obviously impossible with illness and injury but when the players are available United need to get a starting defensive line-up together and the synergy will come.
Kevin de Bruyne’s 50th Premier League goal
Kevin de Bruyne, who was named captain for the Manchester derby, was ever the threatening presence on the pitch. He kept City calm in a frantic opening five minutes and he was in a perfect position to score.
It was a beautiful strike with United’s captain Harry Maguire not helping David de Gea as he blocked his sight of the ball. De Bruyne dinked it through Maguire’s legs and the entire City team ran after him in celebration.
Not only was it the opener in a huge match for both Manchester sides but it was De Bruyne’s 50th Premier League goal. He nearly had his 51st with a powerful strike well saved by De Gea.
But he got his second of the match to re-establish City’s lead as he connected with the ball which was pinballing in the box.
The skipper led from the front throughout the match and was in the perfect places for City.
Fairytale for Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho scored a sublime goal against his former club Manchester City, who he played for as a child.
It was well worked with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba on the counter putting Sancho in a good position but the midfielder still had a lot to do.
He used John Stones to block Ederson’s sight and he bent the ball around the defender to slot it home.
The celebrations from the 21-year-old were relatively quiet, which could hint at a sign of respect for his former side. But, big celebration or not, it was one of the best he’s scored for United since joining in the summer.
Manchester United out of top four
Arsenal survived a late scare from Watford to claim fourth and United couldn’t get the job done over City meaning Ralf Rangnick’s side are out of the Champions League qualification spots.
They will have many opportunities to reclaim the spot in the rest of the season but they could have started to cement fourth.
The more points the club drop, the less likely they are to be playing top-flight European football next season.
City, Liverpool and Chelsea seem shoe-ins for qualification and so fourth is the all-important spot.