Top five Manchester Derbies that impacted the Premier League title race
Written by: Waseem Zaidi
The two Manchester clubs clash against each other on Thursday in another crucial fixture.
The highlight of the Premier League midweek action is going to be the Manchester derby between Manchester United and Manchester City to be played in the early hours of Thursday, 25 April 2019. The fixture has added importance because the result would have massive implications in the title race and also in the race for top-four positions in the league standings.
If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men win the upcoming tie, they will take an important step towards UEFA Champions League qualification for next season, and if the tie is won by Pep Guardiola’s men, they will be in a very strong position to secure the title ahead of their competitors, Liverpool. It’s a must-win game for either side and whichever way it goes, the result will have huge implications on the final outcome of the Premier League standings.
This gives us the perfect opportunity to look back at some of the best Manchester derbies of past that had an impact on the title race in the grand scheme of things. Here are the top-five :
5. Manchester United 1 - 2 Manchester City - 10 February 2008
Before all the huge investment and arrival of world renowned players, Manchester City were mostly a mid-table team that had their moments occasionally while Manchester United were at their prime in those years. However, this was the season when City did the double over United, winning both derby games in the league.
The second of the two victories came at Old Trafford when the visitors defeated the hosts by a scoreline of 1-2, four days after the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster. On an emotional day where a one minute silence was observed before the start, two goals by Darius Vassell and Benjani gave MCFC all three points. The result had dented United’s title ambitions, leaving them five points adrift of then league leaders Arsenal. However, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men inspired an incredible comeback to win the league by a margin of two points on the final day.
4. Manchester United 2 - 1 Manchester City - 12 February 2011
The game is famous for that Wayne Rooney bicycle kick goal which has been hailed as one of the best Premier League goals ever. Although, the win at Old Trafford was much more crucial in the grand narrative of the season. The title at this point was a three-horse race between the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal. However, it all changed after this match, as it serves the perfect example how one game and one moment can set the tone for the rest of the season.
Watch : The match is remembered for this goal from Wayne Rooney.
This win helped Manchester United maintain their one-point lead over Arsenal and secure first place while also increasing the gap between the Manchester clubs to eight points. United never looked back from this point onwards and ran away with the league title with nine points separating them from the second-placed Chelsea. The same can be said for City who never recovered from this defeat and ended up finishing third.
3. Manchester City 1 - 0 Manchester United - 30 April 2012
This season marked Manchester City’s arrival on the big stage after hefty investment enabled them to sign some of the best talents in the world. Before winning the Premier League title on the final day on superior goal difference, Manchester City had taken an important step towards achieving that feat by defeating their direct rivals, Manchester United at home.
Watch : The goal which separated the two sides on the night.
Thanks to the victory over Manchester United by a solitary goal scored by the captain Vincent Kompany, City had finally snatched the first place after closing a gap of eight points in March. All that was left to do was to win their remaining games against Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers, which they did after an incredible last minute goal by Sergio Aguero that sent City fans in a state of frenzy, making his side the champions of England.
2. Manchester United 0 - 3 Manchester City - 26 March 2014
In the season which will always be remembered for the “Gerrard-slip”, Manchester City had a lot of catching up to do. Before the crucial derby against United, Cityzens had three games in hand and were six points behind the league leaders Chelsea. Liverpool were also right in the thick of things. Therefore, in order for City to remain in the contention for the league title, the derby became a must-win contest.
Old Trafford witnessed what can be best described as “shifting of powers” in Manchester. The scintillating performance from the visitors saw them outclass United by 0-3 thanks to a brace from Edin Dzeko and a late goal from Yaya Toure. The manner of defeat had given this fixture a new paradigm where Manchester City were no longer the “noisy neighbours”.
1. Manchester City 2 - 3 Manchester United - 7 April 2018
Manchester City had the chance to do the double over their city rivals after having beaten them in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford by 2-1. Moreover, a victory in this derby match would have ensured their title triumph, and what better way to do it against the second-placed Manchester United. However, what ensued was not part of the plans for MCFC.
Watch : Manchester City vs Manchester United, 7 April 2018, Highlights
After leading by 2-0 at half time, the tie and the league title looked well secured, but an incredible second-half comeback saw The Red Devils score three goals in a short span of time to run away with three points thanks to a brace from Paul Pogba and the winner from Chris Smalling; playing the role of the party pooper for the City faithfuls. The 3-2 comeback victory only delayed the crowning of Manchester City as champions by a gameweek but gave the fans an incredible day to remember.
Published: Tue Apr 23, 2019 03:22 PM IST