From Roy Keane to Mario Balotelli, the Manchester derby has produced some of the most memorable moments in Premier League history.
As they prepare to go head to head in the International Champions Cup in Houston this Thursday, we pick out some of the best derbies of the Premier League era…
Man Utd 4-2 Man City, April 2015
Sergio Aguero opened and finished the scoring in this 2015 meeting between the sides, but in between it was a tale of United dominance as Louis van Gaal’s men put four past the visitors. City were eyeing a fifth successive derby win but goals from Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling gave United a comfortable victory as they outplayed their rivals to move four points clear of them in third spot.
The result, an eighth defeat in 14 games, increased the pressure on City boss Manuel Pellegrini but he was unflappable afterwards. “My future is not the most important thing about what happened today,” he told . “I’ll continue working. We have to play six more games to try to finish as high as we can and, for me, that’s the only thing that’s important.” Remarkably, City recovered to win their remaining six games and finish nine points clear of United, who promptly lost their next three.
Man Utd 0-3 Man City, March 2014
It was City who controlled things when the teams met at Old Trafford in 2014 with Edin Dzeko’s first-minute goal setting the tone. The City striker added another in the early stages of the second half before Yaya Toure capped a miserable afternoon for United boss David Moyes. City were superior in every department and the performance was a hint at the sort of form that would ultimately take them to the title as Pellegrini’s men won their final five matches of the campaign.
As for United, they were left languishing well adrift of their rivals in seventh spot. Having lost their previous Premier League game at Old Trafford to Liverpool by the same 3-0 scoreline, the defeat left Moyes clinging to his job and he was gone within a month – not helped by his post-match summary of the derby. “I think we’ve played a very good side and it’s the sort of standard and level we need to try and aspire to get ourselves to at this moment in time.”
Man Utd 1-6 Man City, October 2011
Manchester City’s October 2011 visit to Old Trafford proved to be one of the most famous matches in Premier League history as Roberto Mancini’s side pulled off an astonishing 6-1 victory to inflict United’s worst home defeat since February 1955. The defending champions were ruthlessly cut apart in the latter stages of the match as City moved five points clear at the top of the table.
Mario Balotelli, who had been in the news for accidentally setting fire to his house with fireworks, opened the scoring and revealed a T-shirt that read ‘Why always me?’ before doubling the lead after the break. Sergio Aguero added a third following Jonny Evans’ sending off and while Darren Fletcher pulled one back with a brilliant strike, a late flurry of goals left United humiliated.
Sir Alex Ferguson insisted: “We battered them for 40 minutes in that game – absolutely battered them.” But there could be no denying that one from David Silva and two by Dzeko made for an emphatic scoreline and the Scot was prepared to concede in his autobiography that his team had been embarrassed. “After the final whistle, I informed the players they had disgraced themselves.”
Man Utd 2-1 Man City, February 2011
Nani’s first-half goal had given United the lead before Silva’s deflected effort levelled things up, but this contest was all about one spectacular goal by Wayne Rooney. The England forward’s stunning overhead kick will live long in the memory of supporters at Old Trafford and Ferguson even suggested that it was the greatest goal scored during his time as Manchester United manager.
The victory extended the gap between the two clubs to eight points and succeeded in getting United’s campaign back on track after they had unexpectedly lost their unbeaten record against bottom club Wolves the previous week. This was a spectacular way to bounce back en route to claiming the crown and extend City’s then sequence of one win in 27 visits to Old Trafford.
Man Utd 4-3 Man City, September 2009
The build-up to the 2009 meeting between the teams was particularly rowdy following Carlos Tevez’s summer switch as the ‘noisy neighbours’ really started to threaten United’s dominance of Manchester. This clash certainly lived up to the billing with Michael Owen’s winner late in stoppage time providing one of the great derby moments.
City had earlier shown remarkable resilience to level things up no fewer than three times. Rooney put United in front only for Gareth Barry to equalise soon after, then Craig Bellamy came up with a second equaliser to a Fletcher goal. With 10 minutes remaining, the Scotland international appeared to have finally secured victory only for Bellamy to capitalise on a Rio Ferdinand error and level it at three apiece.
But with Mark Hughes visibly frustrated by the amount of added time, Ryan Giggs calmly picked out Owen in the left channel and the former England hero – a surprise free transfer arrival in the summer – finished left-footed to send Old Trafford into ecstasy. “I felt the game would be in their box,” Ferguson told afterwards. “In the last 20 minutes we sensed that and there is no one better than Michael Owen when that happens.”
Man Utd 1-1 Man City, April 2001
Roy Keane had been waiting for this one. Alf-Inge Haaland had accused him of feigning injury in a game against Leeds four years earlier, and the incident was evidently in the mind of the United captain as he produced a horror challenge on the Norwegian that left the City man writhing in agony and gave referee David Elleray no option but to send him off. Despite this, and Paul Scholes missing a penalty, the game finished all-square at 1-1.
Teddy Sheringham put United ahead from the spot with a penalty of his own to celebrate having been crowned Footballer of the Year but Steve Howey equalised for the visitors late on to give Joe Royle’s men a welcome boost in their battle against the drop. Ultimately, it was a battle they were to lose as they were relegated with only 34 points.
In contrast, United claimed the Premier League title for a third successive season. For their skipper, there were no regrets. “Even in the dressing room afterwards, I had no remorse,” he later wrote of the Haaland incident in his autobiography. “What goes around comes around. He got his just rewards.”
Man Utd 5-0 Man City, November 1994
Andrei Kanchelskis later played for Manchester City but it was his hat-trick for Manchester United that lit up the derby in November 1994 as the home side ran out 5-0 winners at Old Trafford. Despite operating on the right flank, Kanchelskis was United’s top scorer with 14 Premier League goals that season and recalls the win over City as one of his best moments.
“I will never forget that match,” he told the in 2010. “Eric Cantona opened the scoring and I got my first goal just before half-time. I scored again just after the break and managed to complete my hat-trick just before the end. Mark Hughes also got a goal. I remember that Paul Ince and Cantona played really well and it was a superb occasion for the fans. It was a great game to play in.”
Incredibly, it wasn’t even close to being United’s biggest win of that season – they went on to put nine past Ipswich in March – but Blackburn still took their Premier League crown on the final day of the season. As for Kanchelskis, he was sold to Everton in the summer with David Beckham groomed as his replacement.