Tonight, one of the biggest football derbies on the planet will once again reunite when Manchester United face their rivals from Eastlands, Manchester City. The importance of this derby match has risen hugely since City were took over by the Abu Dhabi United Group, resulting in City to be serious title contenders every season. But over recent times, what are the 5 games that have stood out in terms of importance, drama and controversy. These games are NOT in order.
20th September 2009 - United 4-3 City
“Probably…the best derby of all time”, said Sir Alex Ferguson after this game finished, he might be right. Importance was that City were starting to build a team that not only would challenge for Champions League qualification, but title contenders. The drama was exemplified throughout the entire game, City came from behind 3 times during the game, Craig Bellamy capitalising on an awful mistake by Rio Ferdinand along with his stunning goal from 30 yards to make it 2-2. In normal circumstances, Bellamy’s exploits that day at Old Trafford would have made all the headlines, but Ryan Giggs and especially Michael Owen thought otherwise. With Mark Hughes begging for the final whistle, 1 minute and 20 seconds over the allotted time, Giggs to Owen, Owen places it in bottom corner, and runs across the Stretford End which was in raptures. What a moment.
Link to game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV1d4lwhVm8
17 April 2010 – City 0-1 United
In the same season as the 4-3 game, United’s title rivals Chelsea were edging towards their 3rd Premier League title. In the bright April sunshine, the Red Devils desperately needed a victory to keep themselves within touching distance of the Londoners. A game which was hardly the most inspiring derby of all time ended in a rare Paul Scholes goal sending the away fans into an absolute craze. Chelsea still went on to win the title, but Scholes’ goal is one of the many fond memories United fans possess.
Link to game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUJ1sQQnyak
23 October 2011 – United 1-6 City
Onto one of the most stunning away performances you could ever wish to see. Many before this game were unsure whether City could genuinely win the Premier League. Are they there yet? Are they good enough to challenge United and Chelsea? That Sunday afternoon in October answered them particular questions with an emphatic yes. Balotelli’s ‘Why Always Me’ celebration, before David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko ran riot in front of a rapidly emptying Old Trafford. 6-1. In terms of quality, City were now on a par with their great rivals.
Link to game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4Cly-FElnY
30 April 2012 – City 1-0 United
In the same season, the penultimate game of the season, televised around the world. It was simple, City had to beat United to put them in pole position for the final two games of the season. Again, this game was not the most exciting throughout but it is arguably the most important Manchester derby ever played, especially for the blue side. Vincent Kompany’s powerful header near the end of the first half won the Citizen’s 3 points, we all know what happened next…
Link to game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPBpYl5FU7A
9 December 2012 – City 2-3 United
Yet another Manchester derby decided in the final minutes. The aftermath of City’ dramatic title winning season was looked at by some to be the end of United’s dominance over English football. United thought they distinguished that belief when Wayne Rooney scored two early goals, before Pablo Zabaleta completed a stunning comeback for City in the 88th minute to level matters. We all thought United threw away a vital 3 points, before Robin Van Persie on his first game against City in a United shirt curled the ball into the ball, there was a deflection but the Dutchman was lauded by his new fans after the match. During the celebrations, Rio Ferdinand was hit by a coin thrown by a City fan during which a pyrotechnic was thrown onto the pitch before an enraged Manchester City fan ran onto the pitch to confront Ferdinand. Joe Hart commendably separated the fan and Ferdinand.
Link to game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ABnHQl4PU8
9 November 2002 – City 3-1 United
I had to choose this game as on honourable mention purely because it is a match that happened more than 10 years ago as opposed to the aforementioned matches. This was City’s first win over their illustrious rivals for 13 years, albeit some of them years they were in a lower division. This was also the last Manchester derby played at Maine Road. Shaun Goater with 2 goals along with Nicolas Anelka scored 1.
Link to game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP6_cemg-PE
10 February 2008 – United 1-2 City
One of the most iconic pictures from the Manchester derby was taken at this game. On the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, players, backroom staff and fans of both clubs united together to form a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives on that fateful evening 56 years ago. Both teams wore shirts with no sponsors and the player numbers were simply 1 to 11. The game itself, City won, but this game is widely remembered to be a game which put football into perspective. The minutes silence was impeccably observed by both United and City fans.
Link to game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kKGXrZWtuA
19th January 2010 – City 2-1 United
The Summer that preceded this season was dominated by Carlos Tevez moving across Manchester from the red side to the blue. In this hotly contested League Cup semi final first leg, Tevez answered the endless taunts from the Red Devils in the away end by scoring two goals to give them the advantage in the tie. His celebration for the 2nd goal involved running towards the dugout where Sir Alex Ferguson was watching, and cupping his hand to his ears. Ironically, United won the 2nd leg and the tie overall.
Link to game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FkrrZPM4Hg