In today's early kickoff, title hopefuls Manchester City laid down their marker as potential title favourites as they travelled to White Hart Lane and inflicted a footballing lesson on their hosts, Tottenham Hotspur, romping to a 5-1 victory which, in truth, did not fully reflect their dominance.
With Edin Dzeko grabbing four goals and Sergio "Kun" Aguero continuing his impressive start to life in England by notching the other, City looked phenomenal in attack. Aided masterfully by an inspired Samir Nasri, who was making his City debut, and the mercurial David Silva, City's front pairing look like they will be a handful for any defence charged with the task of stopping them this season.
At approximately 4:00 p.m. GMT, a whistle blew at Old Trafford, and Premier League Champions walked up to City's marker, paused momentarily to examine it, picked it up and cast aside as they put on a breathtaking display of attacking football to punish a severely understrength Arsenal side with an astounding 8-2 victory.
With their performance and the subsequent result, United made it clear to not only their wealthy neighbours, but also to fellow title hopefuls Chelsea and Liverpool, that they are not prepared to just hand over their title this season and that anyone with intentions on taking it from them are in for a hell of a fight.
It would be remiss of me not to point out that the team they faced today was, for all intents and purposes, the Arsenal reserves, and that while the result was hugely impressive, it's not something to put too much stock into.
This Arsenal team would have struggled against any team in the league, and manager Arsene Wenger must be racking his brain trying to remember when exactly he broke the mirror that cursed his team and led to the injury crisis that has taken hold of his club. Add to that the suspensions to Alex Song, Gervinho and Manu Frimpong, and it was never going to be a good day to be an Arsenal fan.
What was impressive, though, was the style in which United inflicted the result on them. There was a ruthlessness about United today that will make teams sit up and take notice. At 3-1 up entering the second half, United could very well have taken their foot off the accelerator and been content to add one or maybe two more goals to their tally.
That wasn't the case, though, as United smelled blood and went for the jugular. They moved effortlessly through the gears as they displayed a fast-paced attacking style based around excellent movement, quick passes and incisive running. A United team in this type of form will threaten any defence, no matter how good they are.
There were some black marks against the United performance, though, such as a shaky defensive display, seemingly as a result of Jonny Evans just not being at the same level as the rest of his teammates. Sir Alex Ferguson should, in my opinion, return Chris Smalling to his natural position in the centre of defence until Nemanja Vidic returns from injury.
The biggest question mark for Manchester United, though, remains David De Gea, who once again conceded a goal that he really should have saved. It wasn't a big deal today as his teammates ensured that no matter how many they conceded, they were going to score far more. De Gea did make a couple of good saves today, including stopping a penalty from Robin Van Persie, although in truth, it was far more a case of a really poor penalty than a good save.
Either way, it will help boost his confidence, although his manager will surely be concerned about his propensity for conceding soft goals as United will face much tougher tests than they faced today.
So with all of that being said, on to the player ratings. Now originally, I was planning to give my ratings for each player on both sides today, but given the game itself and the subsequent scoreline, I felt it was best to simply focus on the 14 men who did battle for the Champions and not inflict further pain, suffering or humiliation of Arsenal or their fans.