Where will the bragging rights end up this weekend?
United host City in the first Manchester derby of the season at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Here, Press Association looks at five famous Manchester derbies from the past.
A bad-tempered Old Trafford affair ended in United’s relegation from the top flight with Denis Law’s late goal condemning his former club to the drop. Law’s instinctive back heel was the final touch of his career as he was immediately substituted and never played again. The former Reds hero looked heartbroken at what he had done, but United would have been relegated anyway after Birmingham beat Norwich in their final game of the campaign. The result stood after a pitch invasion prevented the final five minutes being played – but United returned to the top tier after a one-season stay in the old Second Division.
City fans arrived at Maine Road revelling in United’s exit from the Champions League to Turkish side Galatasaray four days earlier. And it got even better for them as Niall Quinn headed Brian Horton’s men into a two-goal lead before half-time. United were suffering from an Istanbul hangover, but Eric Cantona seized on Michel Vonk’s wayward header to halve the deficit. A red tide swarmed all over City and Cantona converted Ryan Giggs’ delicious pass before Roy Keane smashed home the winner in his first Manchester derby three minutes from time. A real statement of intent from United in their first double-winning campaign.
City’s summer spending – over £100million on the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Joleon Lescott and former United striker Carlos Tevez – lifted the derby to new heights with Reds’ boss Sir Alex Ferguson having complained of the “noisy neighbours”. In what turned out to be a cross-city classic, United took the lead three times only for the visitors to respond on each occasion. Wayne Rooney’s second-minute strike was cancelled out by Gareth Barry before two Darren Fletcher headers were countered by a Craig Bellamy brace, the second in the final minute after a Rio Ferdinand mistake. But City had no answer six minutes into ‘Fergie Time’ when Giggs found Michael Owen and the former Liverpool striker produced his most memorable moment in a United shirt.
City’s claim to be genuine title contenders under Roberto Mancini went off the scale as Ferguson suffered what he described as his “worst ever day” in charge of United. It was revealed before kick-off a firework had gone off in Mario Balotelli’s house but that was nothing compared to the pyrotechnics at Old Trafford. Balotelli opened the scoring and celebrated by brandishing a t-shirt with “Why Always Me?” emblazoned on the front before Jonny Evans’ dismissal prompted City to run riot. Balotelli (again), Edin Dzeko (2), Sergio Aguero and David Silva scored with Fletcher’s reply the lamest of consolations. City were champions in May.
What this game at the Etihad Stadium lacked in creativity and chances, it more than made up for in sheer magnitude. United’s incredible 4-4 draw with Everton at Old Trafford a week earlier gave City the chance to take control of the Premier League title race with two games remaining. City knew nothing other than victory would suffice and it was duly provided by Vincent Kompany’s header at the end of the first period. The win took City top on goal difference, just three weeks after they trailed United by eight points, and Mancini’s side secured the title when Aguero grabbed a stoppage-time winner in the final game against QPR. City were English champions for the first time in 44 years.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.