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Manchester United v Manchester City: Top 5 Manchester derby moments in recent memory

Harry Howes | 6 March 2020

A look back at the fixture’s most historic moments

The Manchester derby. A game that’s never short of drama. A game that often tears the formbook to shreds.

The pair meet at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon with Manchester United looking to complete the double over their rivals.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are back in the top-four race following an upturn in form while Manchester City are languishing in second, with the title race virtually done and dusted.

Ahead of kick-off at 16:30 on Sunday 8th March, we take a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the fixture’s most memorable moments.

Rooney’s bicycle kick – February 2011

An obvious place to start, really. Arguably the most iconic goal in the fixture’s history, Wayne Rooney cemented his place as an Old Trafford hero with his acrobatic winner back in 2011.

Tension was high in a cagey battle and with the score locked at 1-1, there was a feeling that a moment of magic was needed to separate the sides. And boy did Rooney deliver.

A hopeful cross from Nani was met by a flying Rooney, who seemed to hang in the air for an age, and a helpless Joe Hart could only watch as the ball arrowed into the top corner.

Did he shin it? Maybe. Does it matter? Absolutely not.

Why always me? – October 2011

Picture the scene. United are champions. They’ve lost once at home to City in 37 years. Their neighbours are coming to Old Trafford. There can only be one winner, right? Guess again.

In one of the most shocking results in Premier League history, Roberto Mancini embarrassed Sir Alex Ferguson as his side romped to a 6-1 win.

Just a day after Mario Balotelli had dominated headlines for setting his house alight with fireworks, the Italian was centre of attention once again as he opened the scoring before revealing an undershirt asking ‘Why always me?’

Five second-half goals from a ruthless City compounded United’s misery and the result was the first suggestion that their dominance in Manchester, and in English football, could be coming to an end.

Noisy neighbours – April 2012

Fast forward six months, United are still licking their wounds as they cross the city for the return fixture. The pair are locked in a battle for the title, with Ferguson’s side just three points clear with three games to play.

A cautious affair was settled in first-half stoppage time as captain fantastic Vincent Kompany rose highest to head home the winner, putting City within touching distance of their maiden Premier League title as they leapfrogged United into top spot on goal difference.

And the battle went right to the wire. United won both their remaining games and could only watch in hope as City struggled to break down a resilient Queens Park Rangers on the final day. But with seconds to go, they had their Agueroooooo moment and the rest is history.

Owen’s late winner – September 2009

After spending decades in United’s shadow, City were in the money and they pulled off a coup in the summer by convincing Carlos Tevez to switch allegiances from red to blue.

Following the game, Ferguson described it as the best derby of all time and it’s not hard to see why. End to end action resulted in Craig Bellamy scoring a dramatic equaliser in the 90th minute to make it 3-3.

Both sides were probably happy to settle for a point after an exhausting afternoon but Ryan Giggs had other ideas. The Welshman expertly played Michael Owen through in the 96th minute and the striker made no mistake, firing home the winner and sending Old Trafford into chaos.

Party poopers – April 2018

While this moment meant little in the grand scheme of things as City went on to win the league, United had a point to prove as they showed they were no pushovers.

After a dominant season and just one league defeat, victory for Pep Guardiola’s side at the Etihad would have sealed the title. And it looked to be on as they raced into a 2-0 first-half lead.

But buoyed by the prospect of spoiling City’s party, Jose Mourinho’s side returned with a vengeance after the break. Two quickfire goals from Paul Pogba were followed by a winner from Chris Smalling, postponing Guardiola’s celebrations and clinching bragging rights, if only temporarily.

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