The Manchester Derby - 5 Key Clashes

The Manchester Derby – 5 Key Clashes

Manchester United and Manchester City meet again at the Etihad this Sunday in what has become one of the key fixtures of any Premier League season. You would be forgiven for thinking that it has always gone United’s way, but in fact City have taken all three points on 48 occasions of their 158 meetings, including their first victory, which came at the old Hyde Road ground in front of an estimated 18,000 spectators on the seventh of December 1895. Although City’s fortunes have waned and waxed over the course of the 119 year history of the Manchester Derby, United have become arguably the figurehead club in English football. More recently however, Manchester City have gained the upper hand, more than living up to Sir Alex Ferguson’s not so nice nickname for the club ‘the Noisy Neighbours’ of late. As United look to become a force once more under Louis van Gaal and City lagging behind Chelsea at the top, this fixture appears a mouth-watering one in terms of shaping the fortunes of the two clubs’ seasons, so what better opportunity look back at the history of the Manchester Derby and examine five epic battles between the two sides? 

April 27, 1974: Manchester United 0 – Manchester City 1:

Undoubtedly there were routine wins, upsets and dominating displays for both sides before this, but the Manchester Derby in 1974 is one that still rankles many in the red half of Manchester. A former hero, nee legend, Denis Law turned out at Old Trafford for The Citizens and scored the only goal of a bitterly contested affair with an audacious back heel. Law’s effort, after much time was spent clearing the pitch of invaders, would ultimately relegate his beloved United side to the second division. He was immediately substituted after the goal and it would turn out to be Denis Law’s last kick of the ball in league football. 

September 23, 1989:  Manchester City 5 – Manchester United 1: 

Due to City’s faltering form keeping them in the lower divisions, this was the first Manchester Derby for over three years.  Quite simply, Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side were never at the races. City ran riot in what has become known as the ‘Maine Road Massacre’. City fans savoured the victory and for good reason; it would be over a decade until the next time they put one over their red rivals.

February 12, 2011:  Manchester United 2 – Manchester City 1:

Manchester United had spent the better part of the intervening 20 years winning silverware, while City had once again restarted their seemingly endless flirtation with the lower leagues.  However, by February 2011, it was undeniable that City were building a world class team which could no longer be ignored. It took a stunning Wayne Rooney overhead kick to separate the two teams during the hotly contested 90 minutes. Manchester United went on to knock Chelsea off the top and claim back the league title, however City would go on to win their first FA Cup since the late 1960s, a sign of things to come? 

October 23, 2011:  Manchester United 1 – Manchester City 6:

Just a few months after the Rooney bicycle kick that shook the world, City, having broken their silver-wear duck, went across town to Old Trafford with a newfound confidence. Just 90 minutes of football later and the balance of power in English football arguably shifted for good. City would go on to win the league at a canter and with Arsenal in decline, Chelsea Mourinho-less, Liverpool a fading force, and Ferguson suddenly looking a tired manager bereft of new ideas, the Citizens nabbed the title from under United’s feet – on the final day of the season, no less. 

December 9, 2012:  Manchester City 2 – Manchester United 3: 

There are many who say that the greatest managerial achievement of Sir Alex Ferguson’s career wasn’t the 1999 treble winning season, but guiding a poor team to the title in the 2012/13 season. The squad that went to the Etihad in December 2012 and won, is nearly identical to the team that would go on to miss out on the top four the following season under David Moyes. However, newly signed, and fit, Robin van Persie’s very late free-kick was enough to take three points back to Old Trafford on this occasion. The Citizen’s manager Mancini would be sacked in the summer for not defending the league title and poor displays in Europe, while Sir Alex could retire a winner, for the 20th time at Old Trafford.

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