MANCHESTER, England — Manchester City’s sharp decline was magnified in a heavy loss to Manchester United on Sunday, dropping the defending champions 12 points behind Chelsea after the leaders’ latest scrappy win inched them closer to the title.

The red half of Manchester finally had reason to celebrate on derby day, with a 4-2 win ending a run of four straight losses to City. Third-place United moved four points clear of its stumbling local rival.

“(The fans) can go on the streets with their hats up and say, ‘This year, we are the better team,'” United manager Louis van Gaal said.

City’s derby dominance ended on the same day its hold on the Premier League trophy was further loosened by Chelsea’s 1-0 win at Queens Park Rangers. Cesc Fabregas’ late winner maintained Chelsea’s seven-point lead with seven games left.

Steve Douglas, The Associated Press