Blues are red with joy
Can you hear them? The noisy neighbours have started the party.
Even Diego Maradona, a special guest at the Etihad, joined in the celebrations as a goal on the stroke of half-time from skipper Vincent Kompany gave City the vital win in this white-hot derby.
And Alex Ferguson did not like it — not one bit.
The United boss lost his rag with rival Roberto Mancini on the touchline as his team were outfought and outplayed.
Liam Gallagher, lead singer of Oasis, and famous City fan, was so excited he came into the after-match Press conference, took to the podium and proclaimed: “Top of the League, how about that.”
He also embraced Kompany exclaiming “Viva La Belgium” and suggested Fergie must have been on the whisky for getting into a ruck with Mancini.
Now that Mancini’s men are top with only two games to go they have to finish the job and ensure Liam and his fellow supporters have not been a bit premature.
The pressure is on them and Mancini is well aware of it, too — and he still makes United favourites for the title.
City face a tough trip to Newcastle on Sunday with the Toon battling for Champions League qualification.
And they end the season with a home match against old boss Mark Hughes’ QPR who might need a draw or a win to survive in the top flight.
While a first Premier League title is not a forgone conclusion, this was a massive shot in the arm and gave City belief they can close the deal.
They have now done the double over United following on from the astonishing 6-1 win at Old Trafford in October And United know it is no longer in their hands. The defeat at Wigan, the throwing away of two points at home to Everton and now this loss have cost them dear.
It was not so long ago they had an eight-point lead. United were poor last night and surprisingly flat for a team expected to be fired up by Fergie who had billed this as the mother all of derbies.
He had more passion than his players who did not trouble City keeper Joe Hart all night.
United adopted a cautious approach employing veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in a five-man midfield which included Ji-Sung Park who is often used to keep it tight in Europe.
It meant Wayne Rooney operated as a lone forward and too often he was left isolated.
Rooney got more and more frustrated as the night went on, waving his arms about, chipping away at ref Andre Marriner but not doing any damage with the ball.
It was not until Danny Welbeck came on as sub for the last 20 minutes that he got any help.
City had David Silva and Samir Nasri supporting Argentine duo Sergio Aguero and the rehabilitated ex-United striker Carlos Tevez and it all linked together nicely.
Tevez went AWOL for four months and was told by Mancini he would never play for the club again. But now he is back in the fold like he has never been away.
United actually looked the more composed early on. But City got their act together and a lovely run and pass from Nasri released Tevez whose low cross was well cleared by Phil Jones.
Aguero then had father-in-law Maradona jumping out of his seat as he lashed a right-foot volley over.
City fans were on Rooney’s back as it all got a bit feisty and the England star was in the middle of most of the mayhem.
The speed of the game was incredible but lacking in quality. And in added time at the end of the first half, City made the breakthrough.
Silva’s corner was arrowed into the six-yard box and Kompany easy lost his marker Chris Smalling before powerfully heading in past David de Gea.
It was fitting Kompany, who has been one of the heartbeats of this City team, should be the scorer.
He represents all that is good about the club and has been so important in pulling everyone together when the likes of Tevez and Mario Balotelli have upset the apple-cart.
United needed a spark from somewhere, but not the sparks coming off Rooney who looked ready to blow a fuse.
After Nasri whipped a shot wide Fergie reacted to the problems by introducing Welbeck.
United switched to a 4-2-3-1 with Rooney dropping back and Welbeck leading the line. And the visitors started stringing some good moves together.
When it came to the vital final ball, though, it all fell apart — epitomised by a Jones cross which flew across the penalty area and out for a throw-in.
There were signs, though, that they could get back into it and Mancini was getting worried.
He brought on the combative Nigel de Jong for Tevez while pushing Yaya Toure further forward.
The Tevez of earlier in the season might not have been so amenable to the decision. But he shook Mancini’s hand, clapped the supporters and took his place on the bench.
Mancini’s Italian pragmatism was coming into play, holding on to what he had rather than going for a second and wrapping it up. But Toure did have a go from 20 yards with his shot whistling past the right post.
De Jong’s foul on Welbeck, which earned the Dutchman a booking, led to a touchline row between Fergie and Mancini with the United boss clearly upset by the challenge.
Mancini did not back down though and had to be dragged away by assistant David Platt.
Michael Carrick then clattered into Gareth Barry and was also booked as the tension increased.
Toure went close again with another 20-yarder, but Mancini got even more cautious bringing on Micah Richards for Silva.
By contrast United now had wingers Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young on the pitch. Yet for all the attacking power they did not hurt the opposition It’s all yours City, isn’t it? - www.thesun.co.uk