With just three points separating the sides, a win for United would all but guarantee a 20th league title and ensure the title stayed at Old Trafford while a City victory would put them top of the league on goal difference and back in pole position going into the final two games of the season.
Monday’s encounter is undoubtedly the most important encounter ever between the two sides and has been hailed as the biggest game in 20 years of Premier League football.
So to whet your appetite, we thought we’d show you ten of their best clashes, how kind is that?!
1. United 4-1 City, Division One, August 31,1957
The last derby match before the Munich Air Disaster. Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Eddie Whelan all featured in the match where goals from Edwards, Taylor, Johnny Berry and Dennis Viollet ensured United maintained their perfect start to the season.
2. City 3-3 United, Division One, November 6, 1971
A thrilling game which saw a 17-year-old Sammy McIlroy score on his debut, brilliant goalkeeping from United stopper Alex Stepney and Francis Lee get the Maine Road crowd going by accusing George Best of diving. To top it off City’s Colin Bell scored a stunning equaliser to grab a point for City who had been 2-0 and then 3-2 down.
3. United 0-1 City, Division One, April 27, 1974
A game famous for Denis Law’s backheel, his refusal to celebrate and the myth that his goal relegated United. In fact, Birmingham’s victory that day meant United would still have gone down but the former Red Devils favourite refusing to celebrate remains an abiding memory for fans and an iconic football image.
4. City 5-1 United, Division One, September 23, 1989
Fergie’s side had started well against their newly-promoted neighbours until the players were taken off the Maine Road pitch due to crowd trouble. When both sides returned after a ten minute stoppage, City took control and were only halted by a Mark Hughes bicycle kick. The game was later described by Sir Alex as his “most embarrassing defeat.”
5. United 5-0 City, Premier League, November 10, 1994
Just eight days after losing 4-0 to Barcelona, a result that saw sales of Barca shirts rocket in the blue half of the city, United recorded their best ever derby win thanks to an Andrei Kanchelskis hat-trick.
7. United 1-1 City, Premier League, April 21, 2001
Not the most exciting of games but it is remembered for a horror tackle that saw the long-standing feud between Roy Keane and Alfe Inge Haaland come to a head at Old Trafford. Their dispute started in 1998 when United captain Keane suffered a cruciate ligament injury when clean through on goal and being chased by Haaland, then of Leeds. Three years on, Keane went in with a knee-high tackle on Haaland that earned himself a red card. He later admitted in his autobiography that it was a premeditated attempt to injure and he later received a £150,000 fine and a 5 match ban.
7. City 3-1 United, Premier League, November 9, 2002
After going 13 years without enjoying a derby day victory, Shaun Goater’s proved to be the hero in the last derby at Maine Road. A comedy fumble from Fabien Barthez allowed Nicolas Anelka to open the scoring before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer equalised, but the Goat’s double guaranteed Maine Road was given a glorious goodbye.
8. United 4-3 City, Premier League, September 20, 2009
An exhilarating game of football. City must have thought they had snatched a point when Craig Bellamy capitalised on Rio Ferdinand’s nonchalance to make it 3-3 on 90 minutes, but in a rare moment of magic in a Manchester United shirt, Michael Owen demonstrated his undoubted scoring ability, pouncing on Ryan Giggs’ pass in the sixth minute of stoppage time to send Old Trafford into ecstasy.
9. United 1-6 City, Premier League, October 23, 2011
Changing of the guard or a freak result in a remarkable Premier League season? Whatever the reason, this match will live long in the minds of fans from both sides of the city. Roberto Mancini’s side were dominant and ruthless while United pushed forward suicidally despite having Jonny Evans sent off two minutes into the second half.
1. United 3-2 City, FA Cup, January 8, 2012.
After their nightmare at the Theatre of Dreams, United were desperate to exact revenge on their neighbours, but by the end of the game they were holding on following a stunning City fightback. The drama began when Paul Scholes announced his return and was named on the bench and United were already ahead thanks to Wayne Rooney when Vincent Kompany was red-carded for a debatable two-footed tackle on Nani. By half-time it was 3-0 United and the threat of revenge was facing City. But they mounted a determined response, pulling two goals back and searching relentlessly for an equaliser in the last 25 minutes, but they couldn’t find a way through.