With the Manchester derby right around the corner, the prospect of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola locking horns once again is mouth-watering. The stage is set for this Manchester derby to be the biggest in years, especially when the two biggest managerial names in football are at the helm of the opposing clubs.
There’s no doubt that there have been some fantastic Manchester derbies in recent years. Big goals, iconic moments, controversy, you name it, we’ve seen the lot. In preparation for Saturday’s clash, we’re going to take a look at five of the best Manchester derbies.
5. Manchester United 3-1 Manchester City (4-3 agg) 2009/2010
This particular Manchester derby took place at Old Trafford and was the second leg of a Football League Cup (known as the Carling Cup at the time) semi-final. City went into the second leg leading 2-1 on aggregate. A former hero-now-villain, Carlos Tevez scored all three of City’s goals in this tie, and his goal in the second leg with 15 minutes to go meant City were heading to Wembley. Until Wayne Rooney scored in injury time to deny City’s hopes of reaching the final and United went on to win the final 2-1 against Aston Villa. Another trophy for the cabinet!
4. Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United 2009/2010
This match took place in the same season just a few months after the Football League Cup semi-final. Paul Scholes settled a scrappy affair to give United a crucial three points in their chase for the title. Both of these matches are perfect demonstrations of United’s ‘never say die’ attitude under Sir Alex. He was quoted by the Guardian after the match as saying, “We keep on to the end, that’s part of the history of this club and it’s a fantastic quality to have,”. It certainly showed as United got another one over their ‘noisy’ neighbours.
3. Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United 2012/2013
One of Sir Alex Ferguson’s final Manchester derbies and it couldn’t have been any sweeter. The new summer signing Robin van Persie settled the affair with a curling free-kick in the dying embers of the game. United took the lead through a Wayne Rooney brace but City crawled their way back into the clash with goals from Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta, drawing level as the game entered its final stages. However, Robin van Persie’s injury-time winner sent United six points clear at the top of the table. It was Van Persie’s 14th goal of the season at the time in his bid to take the title from the blue half of Manchester, and he succeeded, as United won the title that season.
2.Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City 2009/2010
Another late winner during the 2009/2010 season, as Michael Owen stole the show with a 96th minute injury time goal. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring early on, with Gareth Barry equalising. Two goals each from Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy meant the score was level at 3-3 going into injury time. However, Ryan Giggs picked out Michael Owen for him to slot home in typical fashion and Old Trafford erupted. The derby also saw the return of Carlos Tevez following his departure from United that summer. Very few derbies can live up to the entertainment and goals that this classic provided, but there is one more.
1. Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City 2010/2011
You know the one. Wayne Rooney broke City hearts with a spectacular overhead kick that even prompted Martin Tyler to proclaim, “It defies description, how about sensational”. Rooney had been kept quiet and superbly marked by Vincent Kompany until he managed to find a yard of space to produce a moment of inspiration that brought Old Trafford to its feet. After a deflected cross from Nani, Rooney readjusted and launched himself into the air to fire home and even leave Sir Alex speechless. If you could produce this again on Saturday Wayne, that would be highly appreciated!
United have enjoyed some other memorable moments in Manchester derbies. One example being, last season, Marcus Rashford scoring a brilliant winner after beating Martin Demichelis (and basically putting the nail in the coffin of his Manchester City career) and slotting home like an experienced veteran past Joe Hart. The match on Saturday will be Mourinho and Guardiola’s since their time in Spain. Let’s hope it lives up to the hype. With a United win, of course.