The ease with which Manchester City sauntered to their three-nil victory over their cross-city rivals, Manchester United, on Monday evening proves that their more illustrious rivals aren't the side they once were.
However, every United fan already knew this coming into the game at Old Trafford, and even though two victories on the trot had raised hopes that they might defeat City, who now sit 15 points better off than the Red Devils, having played two games less, Eden Dzeko's goal after just 42 seconds quickly reminded the home support just how far they've fallen.
Dzeko and Yaya Toure added further goals in the second half to underline City's dominance, and, after Liverpool's victory last Sunday, it also inflicted United's second 3-0 defeat to one of their closest football rivals in just nine days.
City were by far the better side throughout the encounter, and David Moyes could only embarrassingly sit in the dugout and watch as his team were out-muscled and out-played by their far more talented opponents.
The most damaging fact for Moyes is that City defeated United with gas to spare in the tank, as they almost seemed to visibly take their foot off the pedal once Dzeko had tapped in his second from a corner.
There were no whistles, no jeers and no chants of "Moyes Out," from the Old Trafford faithful at the final whistle though. Instead, United fans applauded their efforts and remained loyal to the club, something that should be roundly praised because other sides across Europe would have sacked Moyes for his failings months ago.
But is it right to blame United's current plight all on Moyes? Of course he deserves some of the blame, let's not forget that this is a team that won the Premier League title at a canter last season, but there are other, more prescient, reasons for United's decline, which need to addressed instantly - and they're all on the pitch.
United's squad is in need of a major overhaul. The likes of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Michael Carrick have been liabilities this season, and Moyes has reportedly already decided that these players will be replaced in the summer.
But it's not just the aged players that deserve to be criticised. Rafael, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling haven't progressed enough during this campaign, and instead appear to have used Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement as an excuse to rest on their laurels - while, unfortunately, Tom Cleverley and Ashley Young just don't possess the talent to flourish at Old Trafford.
Moyes appointment was the catalyst for United's recent decline, but even though he clearly needs to address some issues - how to use a big squad and picking his best 11 rather than the 11 best players to name two - it's likely that this slump would have occurred whoever replaced Ferguson.
Sacking Moyes now wouldn't solve anything. The Scot has had a horrid year to both examine the squad and to pick who needs to be shipped out and brought in, so the best thing that United can do right now is give him time to do just that. Then and only then will he have been given a fair crack of United's whip, something that the club prides itself on giving to its managers. Just ask Moyes' predecessor.
[Image via Bing]