Saturday sees the final Manchester derby of this season and if the three previous ones in this campaign are anything to go by then get set for a thriller. Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to claim that this derby is all about the fans following his side’s potentially damaging draw at Blackburn last weekend. Whilst United certainly won’t give up on the title, this match will allow them to go out and ensure the bragging rights stay in the red half of Manchester throughout the summer. For City, there is the chance to qualify for the Champions League as they are the team in pole position in that race. Derby matches usually have a lot riding on them and this latest installment is no different- and given what each team is striving towards there might even be that extra spice to it.
Therefore, I thought it would be good to take a visit down memory lane and pick five derbies that I think have really stood out in the last 20 years when United have made the trip across town to the home of their city rivals.
City 3-3 United, 27th October 1990: Having been quite young myself I had to track through the archives for this one. Howard Kendall was City’s manager in this classic that took place in the old First Division. City started the match with a high tempo and it showed when David White’s two goals looked like giving his side victory. A young Mark Hughes would pull one back before City scored what was the goal of the match. Colin Hendry and Niall Quinn were involved in one-two and Hendry coolly tucked the pass from Quinn in to the back of the net to make it 3-1. Even in that early period of Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure United never knew when they were beaten and two Brian McClair goals ensured that the match would end as a breathtaking draw.
City 2-3 United, 7th November 1993: A Manchester derby to remember from only the second season of the Premiership. As expected there was plenty of drama in this Maine Road encounter. United came in to the game on the back of elimination from the European Cup. And to City’s delight it looked like going from bad to worse for the Red Devils when two Niall Quinn headers gave the home team a 2-0 half-time lead. However, just as he would do on countless occasions, Eric Cantona inspired one of United’s famous comebacks that is associated with them as he bagged a brace which looked like making sure that his team came away with a point. That wasn’t to be the case as a certain Roy Keane popped up with an 87th minute winner that sent the away fans in to delirium.
City 3-1 United, 9th November 2002: What is it with the months of October and November providing fantastic Manchester derbies. What a way for City to mark the last ever derby at Maine Road. Not only was Shaun Goater, a City fans favourite, the hero but the home fans had the opportunity to get stuck in to Gary Neville for his awful error. Nicolas Anelka gave City an early lead but in typical United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fashion the Norwegian equalised within no time, and game on it seemed. Then the infamous Neville mistake occurred as he was trying to see the ball out of play, only to be robbed by Goater who took the ball on and from an acute angle smashed the ball past Fabien Barthez. “Feed the goat and he will score” is what City fans used to chant about the Bermudian and he did it again with the best finish out of all four goals. After collecting a through ball he lifted his shot over Barthez and the blue half of Manchester went wild.
City 4-1 United, 14th March 2004: This thrashing for United was made worse by the fact that one of the names on the score-sheet was ex-Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler. Indeed it was Fowler who gave City the dream start- a goal after just three minutes. One of City’s forgotten men from that period, Jon Macken, volleyed in for a second. But unlike in years gone by, a United goal was to prove only a consolation and not the start of yet another comeback. That goal was given to them by local lad Paul Scholes but that just galvanised City to really put some gloss to the score-line. Trevor Sinclair capitalised on some shocking defending by Mikael Silvestre before one of the best individual goals in recent Manchester derbies was scored by Shaun Wright-Phillips. Dribbling his way down the right-hand side, he cut in and from the angle of the box he hit an unstoppable shot which went in off the bar.
City 0-1 United, 5th May 2007: Any win at the home of your local rivals is something that the players always treasure but this one was different for those in a United shirt. This was the match that effectively won United the title, as results later in the weekend would ensure that they won a first championship in four years. The game was a tale of two penalties- one crucially scored by United and one missed by City. Cristiano Ronaldo tucked his spot-kick away whilst Edwin van der Sar saved a late Darius Vassell penalty with an outstretched leg. United would go on to celebrate a ninth title.
Are there any Manchester derbies at the home of City that are not in this list but should have been included? Please leave your comments below about any derbies you may have attended or specifically remember.
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