United slumped to a derby-day defeat on Sunday as a poor Manchester City team eked out a 1-0 win at Eastlands.
Even without Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Reds battered Sven Goran Eriksson's new-look side, but with Carlos Tevez the only recognised striker in United's starting XI, Sir Alex's team struggled to find the net.
The Reds enjoyed the lion's share of possession but failed to convert a string of chances against a City team devoid of attacking ambition. Indeed, the Blues' goal came from their only shot on target in the first half. At the other end, they relied on Micah Richards, captain Richard Dunne and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to dig them out of trouble, time and time again.
The loss leaves United with just two points from the first three games, while Manchester City, still undefeated and yet to concede a goal, are top of the league.
The Blues' lively start to the season meant United went into the match in the unusual position of having less points than their city neighbours. But form always goes out the window in derbies and, true enough, the Reds dominated possession from the opening whistle.
Owen Hargreaves made his league debut alongside Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes in midfield, with Ryan Giggs, Carlos Tevez and Nani playing as a front three. It was the young Portuguese international who had the game's first chance, his fifth-minute shot well saved by Kasper Schmeichel after good build-up play from Scholes and Tevez.
The Blues suffered and early blow when striker Valeri Bojinov fell awkwardly while challenging Patrice Evra for a header and was stretchered off the pitch. Emile Mpenza, one of City's most effective players during the last campaign, replaced the Bulgarian international but couldn't help stem the Red tide. It was all United as Nani