Manchester City moved above rivals Manchester United into second place in the Women’s Super League table after a convincing derby win.
Defender Lucy Bronze volleyed in a loose ball from a first-half corner to give City the lead, before Lauren Hemp struck to make it 2-0 after the break.
Caroline Weir added a third in sensational style with a wonderful chipped effort from 20 yards.
Victory leaves City two points behind leaders Chelsea.
City, who face the Blues at Academy Stadium in April, extended their winning run to seven successive games and deservedly picked up three points on a freezing night in Manchester.
Meanwhile, defeat was United’s second in a row in the WSL, having lost 2-0 to Reading last weekend and they fall to third place having played a game more than the top two.
The first half was relatively tame – United midfielder Hayley Ladd firing wide of the post before City striker Ellen White’s scissor kick was straight at goalkeeper Mary Earps.
And United posed little threat in the second half too, though Christen Press and Kirsty Hanson – who replaced the injured Leah Galton – were able to get in behind on occasions.
But City looked in control and, after Hemp’s bouncing strike was deflected in off the underside of the crossbar by defender Amy Turner, they went on to dominate.
In-form England international Chloe Kelly drew several saves from Earps and Georgia Stanway had a shot deflected inches wide from the edge of the box before Weir added City’s third of the night.
Weir’s goal was the pick of the bunch – a stunning long-range effort which had similarities to her winner in the first WSL Manchester derby at Etihad Stadium in 2019.
Victory puts City in a strong position going into the latter stages of a thrilling title race involving Chelsea and United, while fourth-placed Arsenal have fallen off the pace following back-to-back defeats by City and Chelsea.
Reaction – ‘We’ve got a lot to learn’
Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor on collecting six points from key games against Arsenal and Manchester United: “It’s amazing, I’m not going to lie.
“I did say before these two games that they’re going to go a big way to deciding what’s going to happen [this season].
“But there’s still a lot of football to come and I think if we had got a negative result tonight, with the game in hand we had against United, I probably would still be talking in positive terms.
“I still think there’s more twists and turns, we need to be cautious, [keep] concentrating on what we do, keep taking it game by game. And that’s it.”
Manchester United manager Casey Stoney: “It’s bitterly disappointing to come here and concede three preventable goals in my opinion and not create much.
“We need to learn very quickly that if you don’t get the basics right at this level you’re going to get punished.
“We were turned over far too easily at times. We played in the wrong areas and made the wrong decisions on the ball, so we’ve got a lot to learn.
“We’ve conceded five [goals] in two [games], if you are going to win a title you can’t do that.
“Champions League qualification is still in our hands and that has always been our aim.”
Man City Women
- 27GreenwoodBooked at 59mins
- 19WeirSubstituted forCoombsat 90′minutes
- 18WhiteSubstituted forLavelleat 85′minutes
Man Utd Women
- 12LaddBooked at 28minsSubstituted forSigsworthat 70′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 7TooneSubstituted forFusoat 88′minutes
- 11GaltonSubstituted forHansonat 45′minutes
Match ends, Manchester City Women 3, Manchester United Women 0.
Second Half ends, Manchester City Women 3, Manchester United Women 0.
Jessica Sigsworth (Manchester United Women) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Alex Greenwood (Manchester City Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jessica Sigsworth (Manchester United Women).
Substitution, Manchester City Women. Laura Coombs replaces Caroline Weir.
Substitution, Manchester United Women. Ivana Fuso replaces Ella Toone.
Offside, Manchester United Women. Katie Zelem tries a through ball, but Christen Press is caught offside.
Substitution, Manchester City Women. Rose Lavelle replaces Ellen White.
Goal! Manchester City Women 3, Manchester United Women 0. Caroline Weir (Manchester City Women) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner.
Attempt saved. Lauren Hemp (Manchester City Women) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ellen White.
Attempt missed. Maria Thorisdottir (Manchester United Women) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Katie Zelem with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Ellie Roebuck.
Attempt saved. Christen Press (Manchester United Women) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kirsty Hanson with a through ball.
Attempt saved. Caroline Weir (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Chloe Kelly with a cross.
Corner, Manchester City Women. Conceded by Amy Turner.
Attempt blocked. Georgia Stanway (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lauren Hemp.
Keira Walsh (Manchester City Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ona Batlle (Manchester United Women).
Corner, Manchester City Women. Conceded by Ona Batlle.