This Sunday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad stadium will be the 166th competitive meeting between City and United, and so far The Reds have secured 69 victories while The Blues have 46 and there have been 50 draws.
City are in desperate need of a win to keep on the shoulders of Chelsea, while a win for United would put them to within one point of City, making Louis Van Gaal’s boast they can still challenge for the Premier League not sound so fanciful.
It would certainly enhance United’s chances of securing a top four place at the end of the season thus achieving LVG’s major objective; regaining Champions League status.
To get you in the mood we now present to you a trawl back through the years at seven magnificent encounters between the Manchester rivals.
Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, David Pegg, Liam Whelan, Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor would all feature for United – five months later all of them perished in the Munich air disaster. Goals from Edwards, Taylor, Johnny Berry and Dennis Viollet maintained United’s perfect start to the season in what was the last Manchester derby before the tragedy in Germany.
Sheikh Mansour’s deep pockets have led to a return to the days of the early 70′s when the blues and the reds met as equals. United were top and City third when the latter came back from 2-0 and 3-2 down in front of over 63,000 and even won bragging rights at the end of the season, finishing four points ahead of the Old Trafford side (highlights below).
If the 5-1 derby victory 15 years later was City’s zenith – until 2011, anyway – then this was United’s nadir. This result, after an ill-tempered affair, led to them to being ingloriously relegated at Old Trafford and their doom was confirmed when Denis Law – the former darling of the Stretford End – famously back-heeled them into the second tier (see below). Law, utterly heartbroken at what he had done, was substituted immediately after and never kicked a ball in league football again.
This was the first time in three years the great foes had met, and newly promoted City’s fans were at boiling point. After an enforced break due to crowd trouble the hosts ran riot, with David Oldfield scoring a brace and further goals from Trevor Morley and Ian Bishop, and City fan Andy Hinchcliffe capping a day still spoken of in hushed tones with a lovely fifth (goals are in below link). Sir Alex Ferguson used the pain of this defeat to best their nearest rivals for the next decade and more. The Maine Road Massacre, as it came to be known, would be the last time in 13 years City managed to win against United (their next was in 2002 when Nicolas Anelka and a Shaun Goater double won the game 3-1). Later that season Fergie won his first trophy…
In the 1990s City failed to chalk up a single win against United, and this thrashing perfectly illustrated the gulf in class between the pair. Andrei Kanchelskis and the magnificent Eric Cantona starred on this occasion, with the Frenchman opening the scoring and the Ukrainian winger delivering the coup de grâce by scoring a hat-trick, which he completed in the final minute. Mark Hughes, who would go on to manage City eight years later, also found the target.
This game is remembered not for the goals but for the culmination of a long-standing feud between Roy Keane and Alf-Inge Haaland. It started in 1998 when the United captain suffered a cruciate ligament injury when chasing a through ball against Leeds, who the Norwegian Haaland was with at the time. Three years later Keane made an x-rated knee-high tackle on Haaland that would have made Graeme Souness blush.
He was sent-off and later admitted in his autobiography that it was a premeditated attempt to injure. He eventually received a £150,000 fine and a five-match ban as punishment.
It was almost 1989 relived again as United were convincingly humbled once more. A struggling City side somehow lifted themselves to rout the old enemy. United were not at their best but City had Jon Macken, veterans Trevor Sinclair and Robbie Fowler and the erratic Shaun Wright-Phillips – all of whom found the net – meaning this is still one of the most unlikely derby results on record.