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The top 5 Manchester Derbies EVER

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar


With the Manchester Derby coming up, Khel Now picks the five best that has come to take centre stage in English football...

The Manchester Derby is upon us as the second face-off between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho is all set to take place on Thursday at the Etihad Stadium. There's a lot of play for both teams, as they are only separated by three points in 4th and 5th spot respectively and a win for either could boost their chances of finishing in a Champions League spot at the end of the season.

This hotly contested derby has never really been a bland one and we have seen the games really pick up ever since 2009 when City were labelled as the "noisy neighbours" by Sir Alex Ferguson which reignited this old, inner-city rivalry between red and blue. Since then, City have found themselves getting most of the derby wins which has seemingly elevated the status of this derby, as both teams are at their cut-throat best during these matches.

There has been 173 Manchester Derbies in the history, with United leading the head-to-head record having won 72 of those matches to City's 50. While the derby was really heated up back in the 60s/70s when City rose as a prominent English club, it was reignited when the Blues were bought by the billionaire Abu Dhabi United Group. Since then, some of these matches have produced some of the most entertaining, competitive football in the history. Let's take a look at the best Manchester derbies of all time.

5. Manchester United 4-2 Manchester City (2014/15)

Manchester United were enjoying some rich form ahead of the second Manchester Derby of the 2014/15 season, as they were on a 5-game winning streak when Manchester City arrived to pop their bubble. The game would be decisive for each side's chances of making the top four and City began on the front foot taking the lead through an expert finish from Sergio Aguero in the 8th minute. United looked rattled but fired back quickly when Ashley Young equalised six minutes later and later, assisted for Marouane Fellaini as the Red Devils took the lead in the 27th minute. 

The game took a fiery turn from that point with City scrounging for the equaliser, but United were not to be stopped and doubled their lead through Juan Mata in the 67th minute when the Spanish magician put the ball through the legs of Joe Hart, who later admitted that the match was his worst day in a City shirt. Young would again play provider six minutes later when his free-kick was headed into the back of the net by Chris Smalling to put the tie to bed. Even though City got one back through Aguero late into the game, this was a historic win for then United boss Louis van Gaal and arguably his greatest achievement in the Premier League.

4. Manchester United 0-1 Manchester City (1973/74)

Although Manchester United enjoyed much of the dominance over their City rivals in the 60s/70s, they'd also fall to their most devastating defeat to their noisy neighbours in April 1974. It was the Manchester Derby to decide the fate of the Red Devils, who were having a terrible season and were relegation-threatened before the match. It was a do-or-die situation for the Red Devils, who had fallen after Matt Busby had left the helm as their manager.

The match itself was a rather bland one, as United would constantly attack but would be left frustrated through goalline clearances from City's William Donachie and Colin Barrett. United continued trying to put the ball in the back of the net but would be rocked in the 82nd minute when Francis Lee played a ball to Denis Law, who scored to give City the lead. He did not celebrate and was seemingly shocked to score, as this would be the goal which relegated Manchester United. Law spoke after the match saying how he did not want to score and was depressed after relegating his former club. Even though United would be back to the Premier Division a year later, this derby was one which haunted them for ages.

3. Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United (2012/13)

Manchester United started off the 2012/13 season on quite a roll, as they were riding on new signing Robin van Persie's amazing form heading into their match at the Etihad Stadium against title rivals Manchester City. City hadn't lost a league match since April of that year and were unbeaten at home for two years.

The Red Devils started off with a lot of pace and confidence and took the lead in the 16th minute through a superb counter-attacking move which was finished by Wayne Rooney. They doubled their lead through Rooney later and held a firm grip on this decisive match. City fought back in the second and pulled one back through Yaya Toure on the hour mark and got the equaliser late into the match through Pablo Zabaleta. It looked like they'd have to share the spoils in the end. But that wasn't to be, as van Persie stepped up and produced a moment of magic scoring a brilliant free-kick (thanks to a slight deflection from Samir Nasri) to send the Red Devils into dreamland. The match would end on an ugly note when Rio Ferdinand was injured by a Manchester City fan, but this win would give The Red Devils a firm grasp on the title race and the momentum to go all the way to win their 20th Premier League in Ferguson's final season.

2. Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City (2011/12)

By this time, there was a feeling in England that the blue side of Manchester was now equally good as the Reds. City had built a superb squad under Roberto Mancini and were out to prove a point in the first Manchester Derby of the 2011/12 season just when United were flying high. The game started at a good tempo but things got interesting when Mario Balotelli scored for the visitors in the 21st minute, infamously showing the "Why Always Me?" sign afterwards. The Red Devils were caught off-guard by this, and they would become desperate in the second half as Johnny Evans saw red early into the half.

Balotelli would double the lead minutes later and Sergio Aguero added another one after that. United pulled one back through a superb Darren Fletcher goal in the 81st minute, but things went from bad to worse thereafter. United kept on attacking and City showed some cut-throat counter-attacking skills and scored three more in stoppage time, with goals from Edin Dzeko and David Silva to run rampant at Old Trafford. This historic win solidified them as a team to take seriously as they took this momentum and won the league that same season as well.

1. Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City (2009/10)

The first Manchester Derby of the 2009=10 season is still remembered as the best in the fixture's history. The match started with a bang when Wayne Rooney scored in the 2nd minute itself to give United the lead, but it was cut short by Gareth Barry's equaliser later on. United would again find the lead early in the second half through a Darren Fletcher strike before Craig Bellamy scored to make it 2-2 on the hour mark. Neither of the teams would budge as The Red Devils kept on attacking and again took the lead in the 80th minute through Fletcher and it seemed to be done and dusted at that point.

Craig Bellamy, though, played hero and equalised to make it 3-3 on 90 minutes, but it was far from the end. The Red Devils displayed their undying spirit as Ryan Giggs' pass fell into the path of new signing Michael Owen, who became an Old Trafford hero by scoring in the 96th minute. This was an incredibly exhilarating ride and one of the greatest Premier League matches of all time, as its unpredictability and the attitude of both teams reaped up an instant classic and an incredible victory for United.

Published: Tue Apr 25, 2017 06:31 PM IST


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