It is one of the most highly anticipated games of the season, and a fixture with a rich history. Manchester City’s rise to become one of the Premier League’s elite in recent seasons, coupled with United’s stuttering form since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement three years ago, have only added to the intense rivalry. When it was announced last season that Pep Guardiola would succeed Manuel Pellegrini in the City hotseat and Jose Mourinho was finally unveiled as United manager in the summer, the stage was set for a titanic encounter. Here we remember some of the recent classics between the two Manchester clubs:
March 2004: Man City 4-1 Man United
With Arsenal’s invincibles on route to their amazing unbeaten season, City put a huge dent in their rivals’ title hopes with a crushing win. Robbie Fowler and Jon Macken gave the home side a 2-0 lead before Paul Scholes quickly hit back to give the visitors hope. Goals in the last 20 minutes from Trevor Sinclair and Shaun Wright-Phillips wrapped up a comprehensive victory for Kevin Keegan’s side.
September 2009: Man United 4-3 Man City
Old Trafford witnessed one of the greatest games the Premier League had ever seen as United were victorious in an enthralling contest. Wayne Rooney gave the home side an early lead but Gareth Barry struck back as the sides went into half-time level. Darren Fletcher restored United’s lead quickly after the break before Craig Bellamy equalised with a stunning strike from outside the box. Fletcher looked to have won the game when he scored again ten minutes from the end, but Bellamy pulled City level for a third time in the last minute. Just when the game looked to be heading for a draw, Ryan Giggs played a superb ball to put Michael Owen through on goal, who stabbed it home to give United a memorable win.
October 2011: Man United 1-6 Man City
With both sides unbeaten in the league going into the game, this looked to be a tight match on paper. However, City ran out comfortable winners in an extraordinary match. Mario Balotelli struck twice to give Roberto Mancini’s side the advantage, before United’s task was made even more difficult when Jonny Evans was sent off. Sergio Aguero made it 3-0 before Darren Fletcher gave United brief hope of a comeback with a superb effort with just under ten minutes to go. But City rounded off an unforgettable afternoon in an incredible final few minutes which saw Edin Dzeko score a brace and the impressive David Silva grab a deserved goal. The result emphasised how much City had progressed, and of course set them on their way to snatching the Premier League title from their neighbours on a dramatic final day of the season.
January 2012: Man City 2-3 Man United
After their humbling on home turf three months earlier, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were looking for revenge as they travelled to the Etihad in a much-anticipated clash in the third round of the FA Cup. Wayne Rooney gave the visitors an early lead before City captain Vincent Kompany was controversially sent off just after as United seized the initiative. Danny Welbeck doubled the lead on the half-hour mark before Rooney looked to have sealed United’s passage to the next round when he added a third just before half time, smashing home the rebound after Costel Pantilimon had initially saved his penalty. City responded magnificently in the second half, as goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Sergio Aguero put them on the verge of a remarkable comeback. However, United held on to claim a narrow victory in another hugely entertaining tie.
December 2012: Man City 2-3 Man United
After City’s remarkable title win the previous season, all eyes were on the first Derby of the campaign as United looked to win back the Premier League title from their rivals. Just as they did eleven months previously, United took control in the first half as Rooney continued his impressive form against City, striking twice to give them a 2-0 lead. However, yet again City rallied in the second half and fought their way back into the game. Yaya Toure’s goal gave them hope before Pablo Zabaleta’s strike five minutes from the end looked to have rescued a point for Roberto Mancini’s men. But there was to be one final twist as United won a free kick on the edge of the City area in injury time. Robin van Persie stepped up and saw his deflected effort beat Joe Hart and secure a crucial victory for United. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side would go on to regain the Premier League crown in what proved to be the iconic manager’s final season in charge at Old Trafford