Manchester Derby: Top 5 Derby of 21st Century

There are some derbies that have been dreary and produced snoozefests one after the other. Then there are derbies which have given us 10 men brawls, last gasp winners, etc. The Manchester United vs Manchester City derby is one of those.

Over the years the Manchester clubs have produced some great derbies. Not only the results, but these matches have also given the fans some unforgettable moments to remember for a lifetime as well. As their club rivalry goes way back, we at BallThatMatters dwelve into the Top 5 Manchester derbies of the 21st century.

5. Man Utd 1 – Man City 6 (October 2011)

This derby wasn’t just the statement of Man City’s title contention, but a sucker-punch on their cross-town rivals. Roberto Mancini’s men absolutely ripped Man United on their own turf (Old Trafford). Manchester City smashed six goals, leaving Sir Alex Ferguson blue-faced rueing “His worst day ever as the Manager of the club”.

Ballotelli Moment of Manchester Derby
Balotelli Moment of Manchester Derby

Mario Balotelli scored first in the 22nd minute and celebrated by brandishing a t-shirt with “Why Always Me?” slapped across the front. Of course, he was booked for it. However, Jonny Evans’s red card in the second half proved to be fatal for the Red Devils. Balotelli scored his second shortly after and Sergio Aguero added a third. While substitute Edin Dzeko helped himself with the fourth only for David Silva to score a late fifth of the second half.

Manchester United though responded with a victory in the FA Cup, it was Man City that season who won the war by securing the title in the dying minutes (93:20) over their close foes.

4. Man City 2 – Man Utd 3 (Community Shield 2011)

Termed as one of the best Community Shield games ever, Man City had just won a silverware after a 35-year long wait. Man United on the other hand had toppled Liverpool, to win the most number of English First Division titles (19). The stage was set for an enthralling battle at Wembley.

Manchester City had led 2-0 at half-time after a shaky start by United’s Spanish keeper. David De Gea got beaten by Joleon Lescott’s header and Edin Dzeko’s long-distance shot. Man United responded in their typical way in the second half with a glaring comeback. Chris Smalling reduced the deficit when he turned in Ashley Young’s free-kick. Nani leveled before the hour mark by finishing off a stunning passing move.

City threatened to take the lead once again as Adam Johnson and Micah Richards tested De Gea. In the 94th minute, Nani pounced on Vincent Kompany’s hesitant defending to score a last gasp winner.

Vincent Kompany Manchester City legend
Vincent Kompany Manchester City legend

3. Man City 2 – Man Utd 3 (December 2012)

Still fresh from wounds from the last season’s title loss to their cross-town rivals, Manchester United started the 2012-13 campaign with a statement. Man City & United were chasing Robin van Persie that summer to secure his signature. He chose Red and a lot was expected from the star Dutchman.

Manchester United was at the top of the table, with Manchester City at second, albeit with just 3 points. Wayne Rooney scored the opener and grabbed his second in the 29th minute. Mancini’s men who looked drab in the first half weren’t going to give up without a fight. Yaya Toure scored on the hour mark and Zabaleta equaled from a loose ball.

Game over? Not quite. In the 93rd minute, Robin van Persie scored one of the great derby goals. The free-kick evaded everyone before nestling in the bottom corner, prompting wild celebrations from United players. Thank God, van Persie chose Red over Blue, was the feeling within the Red Devils camp.

2. Man City 2 – Man Utd 3 (April 2018)

One of the modern-day derby classics. By April 2018, Pep Guardiola’s side was 13 points clear at the top of the table. Mourinho’s men were in behind second when they rolled into the Etihad Stadium for an epic clash. A victory for the Blues would have secured the league title on home soil against their fierce cross-town rivals. The cheering of “Chaaammppiiooonns”, blue smoke bombs greeted both sides.

As the match kicked off, Guardiola’s men were as usual at their absolute peak, dominating the ball. Things got worrisome for the Reds when Vincent scored with a bullet header. Ilkay Gundogan soon doubled the lead and Manchester City lead 2-0 at halftime. And then it was Paul Pogba’s brilliance to score two goals in a span of 97 seconds, to turn the game on its head. Chris Smalling was an unlikely hero by scoring the eventual winner.

Ultimately this victory made little difference as Man City was crowned as Champions the very next weekend.

Owen Scoring a 96th minute winner in the Manchester Derby
Owen Scoring a 96th-minute winner in the Manchester Derby

1. Man Utd 4 – Man City 3 (September 2009)

Perhaps the greatest ever Manchester Derby to be played. Fresh from their takeover, Man City had walked into the 2009 season by splurging £100mil in the summer window. All eyes were on Carlos Tevez, who walked into Old Trafford in a blue kit to make a statement.

Wayne Rooney scored inside two minutes to give Man United the lead. Man City’s new boy Gareth Barry bagged his first goal for Mark Hughes’s side. Darren Fletcher headed home four minutes after the break, only for Craig Bellamy to curl home a beauty from the edge of the box soon after.

Fletcher again scored to give Red Devils the lead only for Bellamy to again score at the last minute, after Rio Ferdinand’s blunder. It wasn’t over yet, deep into stoppage-time (96th minute), Ryan Giggs’s through ball found Owen, who eventually scored the winner. Micheal Owen produced his most memorable United moment to send Old Trafford into the wild frenzy.

Other Top Moments of Manchester Derby

The most Iconic moment of this historic derby  Rooney Bicycle kick Goal
The most iconic moment of this historic derby Rooney Bicycle kick Goal

Some of the noteworthy moments apart from great matches are Roy Keane’s horror tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland in 2001.

Shaun Goater’s two quick goals in his final derby November 2002 for an infamous City win at Maine Road.

Wayne Rooney’s scored the best ever Manchester Derby goal in February 2011.

With so many wonderful derbies and moments across the years, we hope we get to add more of it in the future after this weekend’s clash.

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Pushkar Subhedar

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