MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City rammed home its superiority over beleaguered rival Manchester United in a comprehensive 3-0 win at Old Trafford on Tuesday, cutting its deficit to Premier League leader Chelsea to three points.
Edin Dzeko started a crushing win inside 43 seconds with the first of his two goals, before the imperious Yaya Toure finished it in the 90th minute — with his 21st goal of the season in all competitions.
While City may now be installed as the favorite to go on and clinch a second league title in three years, United — the champion by 11 points last season — is guaranteed to finish with their lowest points haul in the Premier League era.
Sitting seventh and five points behind sixth place Tottenham, United is even struggling to qualify for next season's Europa League.
"I take responsibility for the team, I always will do," United manager David Moyes said, refuting suggestions his players aren't playing for him. "I don't think tonight was in any way a lack of effort or lack of commitment from the players, in fact I thought they were fully there but in some areas we didn't come up to scratch."
This was supposed to be one of City's toughest fixtures in a run-in that also includes matches at title rivals Arsenal and Liverpool. In truth, though, it will go down as one of its most routine wins of the campaign, with United outclassed from the first whistle and barely threatening City goalkeeper Joe Hart.
"Very delighted," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said, "because I think we played very well, not only attacking but also in defending."
With United struggling badly in Moyes' first season and its neighbor embroiled in the title race, Pellegrini raised the temperature in English football's northern hotbed by saying in February: "If we only consider this season, there is just one club in Manchester — and it is ours."
Not since the 1977-78 season has City held such a dominant cushion over United in terms of league points heading into a derby. It now stands at 15 points.