Manchester Derby is one of the most hotly-contested matches in European football and over the years has been filled with excitement, exceptional goals and lots of drama. A rivalry which was dominated by the red half of the city in the early years took a sharp turn when Manchester City got the financial backing of the City Football Group.
Ever since the 2008 takeover of Manchester City, suddenly they were no longer the ‘noisy neighbours’ as Sir Alex Ferguson had referred to them once. Now, they emerged as the real contenders for the Premier League title. Pep Guardiola’s era has coincided with the rise of City and the downfall of Manchester United. As we approach the 168th Manchester Derby and the last one of this decade, we relive the top five matches from the fixture over the years and players who have had an impact on this match.
WAYNE ROONEY’S ICONIC OVERHEAD GOAL
The all-time highest goalscorer in the Manchester Derby, Wayne Rooney troubled City on more than one occasion but none were as spectacular as this one. His overhead kick at Old Trafford in 2011 proved too good for Joe Hart in goal and inspired the Red Devils to a 2-1 win against their arch-rivals. No wonder this goal was voted by fans as Manchester United’s Goal of the Decade.
MANCHESTER UNITED 1-6 MANCHESTER CITY
The post-match scenes from Old Trafford for any neutral fans were as satisfying as it gets. United’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to run away as quickly as he could’ve but he had to go over to the opposition dugout to shake hands with the opposing manager Roberto Mancini, who had the biggest smile on his face possible. A six-goal drubbing of United at home in the Premier League was actually unheard of and what made matters worse was that they suffered this humiliation at the hands of their neighbours. This match was only the second win for City at Old Trafford and it will go down in history for Mario Balotelli’s T-shirt celebration of “Why always me?”
VINCENT KOMPANY ‘HEADS’ CITY TO THE LEAGUE TITLE
The derby clash at the Etihad in April 2012 was regarded at the time as the biggest ever, with both teams knowing that a defeat would destroy their title run. A draw would have kept United at the top of the table with two games to go, but Vincent Kompany’s headed goal in the 45th minute proved enough to seal a 1-0 win that sent City to the top. Mancini’s team won their next two games and we all know what happened on the final matchday and that famous ‘Aguerooooo celebration’.
PEP GUARDIOLA vs JOSE MOURINHO
What started in Spain was supposed to continue in Manchester when stars aligned for both the teams of the same city with Pep Guardiola taking over as Manchester City’s manager and his nemesis Jose Mourinho taking over the reins at the red half of the city. 2016 was the first year these two went head to head but it was Pep’s City which went on a dominant run while United continued to rediscover its identity under Mourinho. With the club parting ways with the Portuguese in 2018, it is safe to say that Pep and City won this battle hands down.
PAUL POGBA INSPIRES UNITED TO A DERBY WIN
If someone in the 90s or early 2000s would have said that Manchester City would have a chance of winning the Premier League title at Old Trafford then you’d certainly consider that individual as delusional. But this fairytale ending almost panned out for City in 2018 as a win in the Manchester Derby at United’s den would have sealed the title for the Cityzens. Goals from captain Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan put them in the driver’s seat to seal the title but Jose Mourinho’s United made a staggering comeback in the second half. Paul Pogba netted twice and then Chris Smalling ensured that the City fans had to wait for yet another match week for their celebrations to commence.
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