MM’s top five… Manchester United v Manchester City derby day duels

Manchester United used to dominate the Manchester derby and have everything on their terms but since Sheikh Mansour took over the Citizens in 2008, the bragging rights in town have become equally split.

Sundays clash at Old Trafford will be the 170th meeting between the Manchester giants and both teams will be desperate to land a hammer blow on their fierce rival’s title chances.

Here we pick out some of the best Manchester derbies as we look forward to Super Sunday.

Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City September 20 2009

City’s rise continued to build momentum in the summer of 2009 after they secured the signing of Carlos Tevez from United and enhanced their ‘noisy neighbours’ tag.

United’s loss of Tevez was a bitter pill to swallow, especially after losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid in the same transfer window.

City’s free flowing attacking play made the game at Old Trafford an enthralling encounter but they were denied by the Red Devils in ‘Fergie time’ by Michael Owen.

City showed tremendous resilience throughout the encounter after levelling things up on three occasions.

Wayne Rooney put United in front only for Gareth Barry to capitalise on Ben Foster’s hesitancy, before Sir Alex Ferguson’s men reclaimed the lead once more thanks to Darren Fletcher.

Craig Bellamy scored a magnificent individual effort to bring Mark Hughes’s side level once again, but with 10 minutes remaining United’s Scottish midfielder clinched his second of the game.

However, Bellamy showed his pace once more to restore parity for the visitors for the third time.

But more drama was still to come, and with Mark Hughes visibly exasperated by the amount of added time, Ryan Giggs coolly picked out Owen and the surprise free transfer arrival in the summer sent the Old Trafford faithful into raptures.

Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City October 23 2011

If City’s 1-0 win at the classically-termed ‘business end’ of the season was the club’s coming of age, then their emblematic 6-1 thrashing of a dejected United side away at Old Trafford was the club showing tantalizing early signs of their mercurial best.

The result was irresistible football, an unstoppable force of nature that left Ferguson’s side in tatters.

From ‘noisy neighbours’ to the league’s best footballing side, the allegorical significance of City’s disposal of their nearest title contenders away from home could not have been more significant for what it represented: a changing of the guard, a swing in the favour of the blue side of the city.

David Silva was imperious, Mario Balotelli was ruthless, James Milner and Gareth Barry were impenetrable, and the end result was one of utter dominance as Roberto Mancini’s side amped up their game to a tier simply inaccessible to their United counterparts.

Stylish, lethal, undeniable: City made the match look like an exhibition.

Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United April 30, 2012

Having trailed their cross-city rivals by eight points just three weeks before, there was a natural intake of breath as time stood still in the Etihad as Vincent Kompany hung in the air, before the Belgian pinged a searing header past a falling David De Gea to send the stadium into raptures.

It was the club’s coming of age, a statement that they were no longer the underdogs; that they were now the very best.

The match was a perfect metaphor for City’s season: dominant, but frequently lax in their ruthlessness, unable to comfortably enforce a result on the opposition to guarantee a win.

The home side rued missed chance after missed chance, and – in spite of the lack of threat posed by United – there was a certain terseness to the atmosphere, an unerring lack of boisterous confidence that has yet to be dispelled from the Manchester City crowd.

But for a brief moment, the captain’s strike, followed by a bellow and a sprint towards the delirious fans, there was absolutely no lack of self-confidence, no complex.

Instead, Sir Alex Ferguson was riled on the touchline, Yaya Touré waltzed through United’s none-existent midfield, and City clambered onto the top of the Premier League table where they would remain for the rest of the season.

Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United December 9, 2012

After contrasting emotions of the final day of the previous season, Manchester United responded with the summer acquisition of Arsenal’s star striker Robin van Persie in a bid to reclaim the Premier League trophy.

A first half double by Wayne Rooney stunned the defending champions and after Manchester City’s captain Vincent Kompany withdrew due to injury, the red side of Manchester felt that normal service had resumed.

But Roberto Mancini’s side did not give in and rekindled the fighting spirit which was regularly on display during their dramatic title win, as after a string of world class saves David De Gea was finally beaten by City’s midfield general Yaya Toure.

When City sensed blood and went for the jugular, United’s stranglehold not only on the game but English football was looking precarious.

Pablo Zabaleta drew City level in the 86th minute after punishing United’s inability to clear their lines.

However there was another twist as, after failing to beat United to the signature of Van Persie, the Dutchman made Mancini pay.

A late free-kick was awarded and after a quite conversation with strike partner Rooney, the former Arsenal man fancied his chances.

Van Persie’s free kick deflected off Samir Nasri’s measly attempt to block the ball and snuck into the bottom corner to leave Joe Hart helpless.

The signature of Van Persie proved crucial as United went on to secure their twentieth title in what proved to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge.

Manchester United 4-2 Manchester City April 12, 2015

In the last meeting between the two teams an early Sergio Aguero strike put City on course to win a fifth successive derby.  However Louis van Gaal’s side’s resurgence, which also included impressive wins over Tottenham and Liverpool, continued after putting four past the visitors.

Goals from Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling gave United a comfortable victory as they outplayed their rivals.

A late consolation strike from City’s talismanic Argentine couldn’t revive the Sky Blues and they were condemned to their eighth defeat in 14 games.

United managed to secure their first win over Manchester City post Sir Alex Ferguson and after a turbulent short tenure under David Moyes, Van Gaal managed to produce a positive result much to the delight of the Old Trafford faithful.

City did however go on to win their remaining six games and finish nine points clear of United, who promptly lost their next three.

Images courtesy of Andrea Sartorati and Roger Goraczniak, both via Wikipedia, with thanks

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