Manchester United vs Manchester City: 10 most memorable Premier League Manchester derbies

This Saturday, the 189th Manchester derby will take place, with United welcoming City to Old Trafford.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the Red Devils who historically have the edge, winning 77 (41%) of the derbies to date.

However, since being taken over by the Abu Dhabi group, the Citizens have been the city’s dominant side, prevailing in 15 of the last 28 derbies, including each of the last three.

Ahead of this weekend’s clash, we’re looking back at the ten most memorable Manchester derbies in the Premier League.

10) Kanchelskis’ hat-trick- 1994

Manchester United’s biggest-ever victory in this derby came in November 1994, demolishing their neighbours 5-0 at Old Trafford.

Eric Cantona and Mark Hughes were both on target, but the night belonged to Andrei Kanchelskis, who bagged a magnificent hat-trick.

This was certainly the Russian’s finest night at Man United; he’d later cross the Manchester divide, albeit with little success.

That season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side missed out on the title by one point, pipped by Blackburn, while Man City finished 17th, avoiding relegation by just four points.

How times have changed.

9) Foden and Håland’s hat-tricks- 2022

Earlier this season, the highest-scoring Manchester derby ever took place at the Etihad, with Man City running out 6-3 winners.

Both Phil Foden and Erling Braut Håland bagged hat-trick, with the hosts 4-0 up by half time.

Anthony Martial’s brace late on was the very much of the consolation variety, especially his stoppage time penalty.

This highlighted the enormous gulf that existed between the two clubs although, in the intervening three months, that gap may have closed.

We’ll find out this weekend.

8) Benjani causes a shock- 2008

February 2008 represented the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster.

So, to mark the occasion, Man United wore a commemorative kit, reminiscent of the 1958 strip, for that month’s Manchester derby.

However, Man City had no room for sentiment, winning 2-1 at Old Trafford, thanks to goals from Darius Vassell and Benjani.

This was the Sky Blues’ first away derby win since 1974, and is particularly surprising given that Sven-Göran Eriksson’s team finished ninth, while Sir Alex’s won the Premier League title and the Champions League.

7) Paul Scholes wins it at the death- 2010

By the early-2010s, Manchester City’s new money had them on the rise, but Man United could still rely on an old head when it came to derby day success.

In April 2010, Manchester United need to win to keep pace with Chelsea in the title race, having lost at home to the Blues earlier that month.

This Manchester derby was seemingly set for a goalless draw until, in the 93rd minute, Patrice Evra’s cross is headed home by Paul Scholes, sparking wild celebrations in the away section.

This kept the Red Devils in the title race, albeit they were pipped by Chelsea by a solitary point, and showed that Man City still had work to do to overtake their neighbours.

6) Headed home by Vincent Kompany- 2012

Fast forward two years and 13 days, and now it’s Manchester City who are seeking to dethrone Manchester United.

The two are set to meet at the Etihad on, what will be, a decisive night, given that there are just two games to go afterwards.

With the Red Devils three points clear at kick off, they almost certainly would’ve taken a point, even if Sir Alex Ferguson claimed he never played for a draw in his life.

The only goal of the night came from a corner in first half stoppage time, with Vincent Kompany rising highest and powering his header beyond the reach of David de Gea.

Without that goal, the famous Agüero moment 13 days later would have never happened and Man United would’ve been champions up at the Stadium of Light instead.

5) Paul Pogba delays the title party- 2018

In 2017, Manchester City won their first Premier League title under Pep Guardiola, finishing 19 points clear, becoming the first top-flight English side to reach the 100-point mark.

However, that season wasn’t quite perfect, with the Sky Blues squandering the chance to secure the title against their biggest rivals.

On 7 April, everything is going to plan for the vast majority inside the Etihad; their team are 2-0 up, with Vincent Kompany and İlkay Gündoğan on target.

However, out of nowhere, José Mourinho’s men pull off a remarkable comeback, netting three times in 16 minutes to snatch the win.

This was, arguably, Paul Pogba’s best performance in a Man United shirt, scoring twice in as many minutes, before Chris Smalling powered home the winner with a header.

The Citizens were crowned champions a fortnight later, when Man United lost at home to West Brom, but the unexpected manor of this comeback makes it an historic affair.

4) Robin van Persie’s free-kick- 2012

Eight years earlier, Manchester United also won 3-2 at the Etihad, although this win had a much-more tangible outcome in the title race.

That day, a Wayne Rooney double had the Red Devils 2-0 up, only for goals from Yaya Touré and Pablo Zabaleta to make it 2-2.

The Argentine right-back had seemingly nicked a point, but step forward Robin van Persie.

Sir Alex had recruited the Dutch striker from Arsenal, with the sole purpose of bringing the title back to Old Trafford.

In this massive moment, van Persie delivered, with his free-kick snatching the win, deflecting off Samir Nasri and beyond Joe Hart into the far corner.

Despite coming in December, this game was pivotal in Manchester United winning their 20th and, to date, most-recent Premier League title.

3) Feed the goat and he will score- 2002

It’s 9 November 2002, and the last-ever Manchester derby at Maine Road is taking place, before Man City move into their new stadium that’s just hosted the Commonwealth Games.

Back then, the Sky Blues haven’t beaten their city rivals for 13 years, with this their last chance to claim a victory at their home of 90 years.

The game gets off to a frantic start, with Nicolas Anelka breaking the deadlock, only for Ole Gunnar Solskjær to equalise straight away.

Nevertheless, Shaun Goater’s brace, the latter coming about after some calamitous defending by Gary Neville, secured a famous 3-1 win for Man City.

To this day, Goater remains a Sky Blues’ legend, scoring 89 goals for the club, with this double largely what he’s remembered for.

2) Michael Owen wins the derby in Fergie time- 2009

By 2009, the Manchester City project is in full swing.

They’ve made a fair few notable signings, including Shay Given, Gareth Barry, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Touré and, most memorably, Carlos Tevez from their cross-town rivals.

The first derby of 2009/10 was an absolute thriller, starting with Wayne Rooney’s opener after less than two minutes.

Darren Fletcher’s brace had the Red Devils on course for a 3-2 victory, only for Craig Bellamy to equalise, with his second of the afternoon, in the final minute of normal time.

But, with the last kick of the game, Ryan Giggs’ inch-perfect through-ball picks out Michael Owen, who cooly slots home the winner.

Owen was a controversial summer singing himself, given his close association with Liverpool, with this certainly the high point of his time at Old Trafford.

1) Six of the best for Manchester City- 2011

Manchester United have only ever conceded 6+ at Old Trafford three times in their entire history.

They were beaten 7-2 by Sheffield Wednesday in 1961, hammered 6-1 by Spurs behind-closed-doors in 2020, but the most humiliating of the lot was inflected by the then noisy neighbours.

On 23 October 2011, Manchester City ran riot in the derby, winning 6-1 and very much announcing themselves as a true force.

Mario Balotelli broke the deadlock, revealing his iconic ‘why always me?’ t-shirt, the day after setting off fireworks inside his own kitchen.

Remarkably, the other six goals were all scored in the final half hour, with the Sky Blues netting three times in stoppage time.

This remains the joint-biggest margin of victory in a Manchester derby and, as mentioned, Man United’s joint-biggest home defeat of all-time.

Given that, seven months later, Man City pipped the Red Devils to the Premier League title on goal difference, this October hammering proved decisive.

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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