Photo Credit: Manchester United Twitter


One city, two teams; the rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City runs deep - drop right back to the 1970s, where derbies were ‘frequently bad-tempered’. Career-ending injuries such as United’s George Best’s tackle that broke City’s Gary Pardoe’s leg (he nearly lost his leg to the severity of the break), prove Manchester derbies are far from dull and safe. The two Manchester clubs lock horns later today with both Manchester City and Manchester United fully aware of the implications should their rival emerge victoriously. The Manchester Derby, which is one of the fiercely contested and most-watched games in the world, has a reputation of being a tense, passionate and dramatic affair. The match, consequently, has produced some of the most iconic moments in Premier League history, some of which are mentioned below.

          1. DENNIS LAW, 1974

Once known as the ‘King of Old Trafford’ after an esteemed career at Manchester United, scoring 236 goals in 11 years, Law later became a villain when he scored a goal that would relegate the Red Devils.

The early 1970s saw the end of an era for United’s dominance as star players like Bobby Charlton and George Best were no longer at Old Trafford and Law’s time as a Red was also nearing its conclusion, leading to his decision to join Manchester City on a free transfer in 1973. In April 1974, at Old Trafford, Law scored a backheel against Manchester United which went down in history as ‘the goal that relegated Manchester United’. He walked in disbelief and refused to celebrate the goal followed by United fans invading the pitch, but it made no difference to the result, and they were relegated into the second division for the first time.

           2. DAVID OLDFIELD, 1989

The Derby at Maine Road in September 1989 was the first since City had won promotion back into the First Division the previous season. And they played like a team that had missed the fierce city rivalry. 

City battered Alex Ferguson's United 5-1, owing to Australia born English midfielder David Oldfield, currently managing Oxford City in the National League South. He scored 2 goals and gave an assist along with fellow Englishmen Ian Bishop, Andy Hinchcliffe and Trevor Morley, registering their name on the scoresheet.

          3. ROY KEANE, 2001

The 20021 Manchester Derby was less about football and more about Roy Keane and Alf-Inge Haland's longstadning feud owing to Haaland accused Keane of faking a knee injury during his times at Leeds.his Manchester derby saw City’s Haaland career cut short by a nasty tackle from Roy Keane when the two sides played out a 1-1 draw back in April 2001. Haaland would play just 48 more minutes before a recurring knee problem eventually forced the Norwegian to call a rather hasty end to his football career. When asked Keane said he had no regrets and insisted it was payback for the way Haaland had abused him when he was playing for Leeds United. Roy Keane, at the end, was handed 3 match ban and fine worth 5000 Pounds.

4.  BENJANI, 2008

In February 2008, United remembered the 50-year anniversary of the Munich air disaster. The City fans inside Old Trafford played a respectful part in the memorial, but that didn't stop their team trying to win the game.

Goals from Darius Vassell and new boy Benjani Mwaruwari making his debut handed City a 2-1 win. Sir Alex Ferguson's side enjoyed most of the possession after the break but City were excellent in defence and restricted them to hopeful shots from a distance until Michael Carrick curled in a consolation goal in stoppage time. City survived an anxious last minute to clinch a victory that brings them firmly back into contention for the fourth UEFA Champions League spot, while United remain two points behind Arsenal. It was the first time they had won at Old Trafford in the league since 1974. 

          5. MICHAEL OWEN, 2009

Michael Owen was once a revered figure by United supporters, playing 216 games for arch-rivals Liverpool but after joining United in 2009 he would go on to become an instant derby day icon for the Red Devils. A see-saw derby in September 2009 saw Craig Bellamy score in the 90th minute to draw City level at 3-3. It looked like he had earned Mark Hughes' side a point. But that was until Michael Owen scored his most famous United goal.

Then City manager Mark Hughes was absolutely furious after the final whistle, senseless as to how Owen scored a goal so late when there was only supposed to be four minutes of stoppage time. Deep into stoppage time, Owen took a pass from Ryan Giggs and poked the winner past Shay Given. The United fans at Old Trafford went berserk and left Hughes fuming at the Fergie time that had been added on at the end.

           6. WAYNE ROONEY, 2011

Wayne Rooney scored some spectacular goals during his days at Manchester United but many will rightly agree his overhead kick against City in 2011 is head and shoulders above the rest as far as the derby is concerned. The derby at Old Trafford in February 2011 was drifting towards a draw, but that was until Wayne Rooney intervened

Rising gallantly to meet Nani’s cross he volleyed the ball with such precision and power that then-City goalkeeper Joe Hart was left helpless, the England stopper was bolted to the spot. The strike proved to be the difference between the teams and continued a rotten run for City at Old Trafford, winning just once in their last 27 visits. It still remains one of the great derby goals.

          7. YAYA TOURE, 2011

There used to be a banner at Old Trafford reminding City that it had been 35 years since they had won a major trophy. Now it's gone thanks, in part, to Yaya Toure's derby winner at Wembley in 2011. Drawn against each other in the semi-final of the FA Cup, Toure scored to give City a 1-0 win. They went on to beat Stoke in the final, and the banner had to come down.


In 2012, United looked like they were strolling to the title before losing at Wigan and drawing 4-4 at home to Everton. It meant City's destiny was suddenly in their own hands. But they still needed to beat United at the Etihad Stadium. Vincent Kompany's header was enough, and City went on to win their first championship for 44 years.

However, In December 2012, Manchester United raced into a 2-0 lead at the Etihad Stadium thanks to two goals from Wayne Rooney. Goals from Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta pegged United back before Robin van Persie scored with a stoppage-time free-kick to hand Sir Alex Ferguson a 3-2 win in what turned out to be his last derby at City. It set United on a path to winning 2013 Premier League title.

           9. THE 6-1 DEMOLITION, 2012

The first derby of 2011/12 season ended in disaster for United and unrivalled joy for City. Manchester United suffered their worst home defeat for more than 56 years when City put their neighbours to the sword with a 6-1 annihilation of Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.

Mario Balotelli gave City the lead in the first half before unveiling his "Why always me" T-shirt. There wasn’t much between the two sides at half-time with City just the one goal in front. But after Jonny Evans was sent off early in the second half, some spectacular performances put up by The Cityzens saw the Blues overpower the Red Devils in every area of the field, leading to the wheels finally coming off for United. City scored five in the final 30 minutes, including three in the last two minutes, to run out 6-1 winners and humiliate United in their own back yard.

That unforgettable day for City was just a small part of a magical season as they would go on to win a first division title for the first time in over four decades while Sir Alex Ferguson described as his ‘worst ever day’ in United’s footballing history.


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