Six of the Best: Manchester United vs Manchester City games at Old Trafford

Matthew Crist looks back at some of the most talked-about tussles and memorable moments from Manchester derby games down the years.

Matthew Crist

Games between Manchester United and Manchester City rarely disappoint and the derby has provided plenty of memorable moments in years gone by, particularly at Old Trafford.

In recent seasons the dynamic of the rivalry has changed somewhat as the Blues have risen to the challenge of their Red rivals to become more than just the noisy neighbours of the City

So here’s a look back at some of the most memorable moments from fixtures between the two great rivals down the decades.

Manchester United 4 Manchester City 1, August, 1957

Manchester United

United’s Busby Babes were regarded as one of the greatest sides in the land when they hosted Manchester City in August of 1957 chasing their third First Division title in as many seasons.

Goals from Edwards, Taylor, Johnny Berry and Dennis Viollet maintained United’s perfect start to the season as they thrashed their cross-town rivals to send a warning, not just to the rest of the league, but Europe too.

The likes of Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, David Pegg, Liam Whelan, Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor all featured in the win, but just five months later all would all tragically lose their lives when the plane bringing the team back from a European Cup tie in Belgrade crashed in Munich.

Man United 0-1 Man City, April, 1974

Denis Law Manchester derby

When Denis Law’s late backheel found the net against the club where he made his name, the Scot, along with everyone in the ground, thought he’d ended Manchester United’s 36-year stay in football’s top flight.

As it happened, it didn’t matter as the Reds would have been relegated anyway after Birmingham beat Norwich in their final game of the campaign. But Law’s refusal to celebrate (in an era where not celebrating against your former club was not the fashionable thing to do) was a picture that spoke a thousand words.

Along with Law’s goal, the game will also be remembered for United fans invading the pitch with five minutes to spare in an effort to get the match abandoned, but The Football League upheld the result, condemning the Reds to a season in the Second Division.

Manchester United 5 Manchester City 0, November, 1994

Manchester United v Manchester City 1994

In the 1990s City failed to chalk up a single win against United and this thrashing perfectly illustrated the gulf in class between the sides.

Just eight days previously United had suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat at the hands of Barcelona in the Champions League, so City could have been excused for fancying their chances against a side that was still shell shocked.

But Andrei Kanchelskis and Eric Cantona ensured this was not the case, with the Frenchman opening the scoring and the Ukrainian winger hitting a hat-trick, which he completed in the last minute while Mark Hughes also made the scoresheet on a famous night at Old Trafford.

Manchester United 1 Manchester City 1, April, 2001

Manchester derby 2001

The result of this derby encounter has almost been forgotten due to something of a cynical sub-plot between Roy Keane and Alf-Inge Haaland.

A long-standing feud between the two, which started in 1998 when the United captain suffered cruciate ligament injury against the Norwegian’s Leeds, finally came to a head at Old Trafford.

Three years later Keane exacted his revenge with a knee-high tackle on Haaland which earned him a red-card before later revealing in his autobiography that it was a deliberate attempt to injure his opponent – an admission that earned him a £150,000 fine and a five-match ban. For the record, the game ended 1-1.

Manchester United 4 Manchester City 3, September, 2009

Manchester United v Manchester City

The game between Manchester United and Manchester City on September 20, 2009, was the first of four meetings between the two sides that season but was, without doubt, the greatest of them all.

Wayne Rooney scored the opener only for Gareth Barry to equalize for the visitors but the home side were soon back in front again through Darren Fletcher, who scored two goals that day, only for Craig Bellamy to pull City level with two of his own, including a late equalizer after a slip from Rio Ferdinand.

But going into the sixth minute of injury time and the game tightly poised at 3-3 United had other ideas as Ryan Giggs’ inch-perfect through ball found Michael Owen inside the box who just had enough time to compose himself before slotting the ball home in front of an ecstatic Stretford End to complete a thrilling comeback.

Manchester United 1 Manchester City 6, October, 2011

Manchester derby

This was United’s worst defeat at Old Trafford since February 1955 and to make things even more painful it came against their bitter rivals from across Manchester.

Mario Balotelli revealed his “Why always me” t-shirt after netting a brace in an hour at Old Trafford, following Jonny Evans’ dismissal for hacking the Italian while bearing down on goal.

Sergio Aguero bagged another to make it 3-0 before Darren Fletcher pegged one back. But as the home side looked to mount an unlikely a comeback, they were floored by two from Edin Dzeko and one from David Silva to secure a win that propelled them to their first-ever Premier League title the following May.

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