The Manchester Derby has grown in importance over the past few seasons as Man City have grown in stature.
As the magnitude of the game has grown so has the excitement, and the number of memorable moments it has provided.
So here are 10 recent memorable moments from the rivalry between United & City.
10. ‘Why Always Me?’
As Man City cruised to a 6-1 win over United at Old Trafford last season, one moment stood out.
Having hit the headlines in the build up to the game for all the wrong reasons, Mario Balotelli stole the spotlight with a simple gesture.
After scoring the opener, the Italian lifted his shirt to reveal a vest emblazoned with the phrase “Why Always Me?” The image was beamed around the world and the phrase has now become synonymous with the game.
9. Gary Neville gives Carlos Tevez the finger.
In the build up to this Carling Cup semi final first leg tie in 2010, Gary Neville claimed Carlos Tevez was not worth the estimated £47m Man City had paid for him. With comments like that it was just written in the stars that Tevez would go on and score and he did just that.
Keen to ask Neville what he thought of him now, Tevez celebrated the first of his two goals by running in front of both dugouts and cupping his ears.
Neville adhered to the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ and simply gave the striker the 1 finger salute!
8. Balotelli nearly sparks brawl at Wembley
Paul Scholes saw red in this game as Man City advanced to the FA Cup final thanks to a Yaya Toure goal. After the game City were understandably happy, but one player was happier than others and decided to share his joy.
Mario Balotelli went and celebrated infront of the Manchester United fans causing anger amongst the disappointed United players. Senior squad member Rio Ferdinand was the first to react grabbing the Italian and sparking handbags.
7. ‘And Paul Scholes has won it!’
Paul Scholes has a knack for scoring against Man City and in 2010 he scored arguably his most satisfying, a last minute header at the Etihad.
In the same season as the 4-3 epic it was always going to be hard to match that game for drama, but both sides did their best in this game and as it reached it’s end Scholes broke into the box late to nod in a Patrice Evra cross.
The goal would revived Manchester United’s title bid and although the title would end up at Stamford Bridge Scholes can say he got a kiss from Gary Neville for his efforts!
6. Guess Who’s Back?
With Paul Scholes retired, Manchester United clearly suffered in the first half of the 2011/2012 season. So when the Ginger Prince suddenly popped up at the Etihad for United’s FA Cup third round tie with City, Reds everywhere rejoiced.
Galvanised by Scholes return Sir Alex’s men picked up a 3-2 victory, and he played an instrumental part in United coming within a whisker of picking up title number 20 with some inspired performances.
5. Welcome To Manchester
Carlos Tevez is a central figure in the modern United/City rivalry. The Argentinian switched sides, joining City from United and has been a pain (for both sides) ever since.
Jibes in the press, brandishing that sign at City’s title parade in May; Tevez is a symbol of what United despise about City but perhaps the biggest part he has played is a role he had little knowledge of.
Upon signing for Man City, the PR people at the Etihad thought it would be a masterstroke to place a ‘Welcome to Manchester’ billboard at the city’s limits, the thing that caused such contention? The billboard was adorned with the image of Carlos Tevez (incidentally celebrating a goal he scored for United)!
It was duly vandalised as an annoyed United fan splashed it with red paint!
4. The goal that turned the tide
There have been hundreds of goals in Manchester derbies, a lot of them spectacular but from a City point of view non was more important than Vincent Kompany’s powerful header in April that handed City a 1-0 win at the Etihad.
Manchester United had come from behind to overtake City in the league and 3 weeks prior to the match were 8 points clear, but uncharacteristically Sir Alex’s men wavered and as the derby rolled around were just 3 points ahead with an inferior goal difference.
It was simply, if United could avoid defeat they would likely go on to win the league.
Sir Alex’s team selection on the night sounded the alarm bells as it appeared he would be looking to play for a draw.
These things never work though and Kompany’s header in the dying moments of the first half put a passive. lacklustre United side to the sword and put City in the driving seat with 2 games to go.
3. ‘Join City And You’re Dead’
When the Wayne Rooney saga took place in 2010, one of the most worrying things about the striker saying he wanted to leave was where he would end up.
Barca, Real and Chelsea were all mentioned but the elephant in the room was none other than Man City.
This would have been a crowning moment for Mancini’s side; stealing Manchester United’s star player and whilst it was initially paper talk slowly and slowly it became a possibility.
United fans were understandably furious, and a number of masked men appeared outside Rooney’s house in the hope of dissuading him from defecting. Police were called to break up the mob but the next morning the message was clear for Rooney and all to see; spray painted on a Nike promo bearing his face were the words: “Join City and you’re dead”.
Can you imagine the pain if it had been Rooney and not Aguero that scored City’s last minute title clincher?
Thankfully it never got to that as Rooney resolved his contract issue and was able to go on and do this…
2. ‘The greatest goal of the Premier League era’
Whether it came off his shin or not, Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick winner against Man City was a beaut.
The striker still looked off the boil after sorting his contract issues but with his 6th goal of the season, Rooney went some way to erasing the bad memories of that week the previous October.
The striker, after playing the ball out to Nani on the flank, got into the box and rose between Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards to volley past a stunned Joe Hart.
His celebration said it all as he threw his arms and head back, serene as Old Trafford and the watching world went crazy.
The goal put United back in the lead and proved a spectacular winner in a hotly contested Manchester derby.
People will cry to the high heavens that the ball came off his shin, but for the audacity to attempt and pull off such a thing in a such a high pressure game, the goal was voted the greatest of the Premier League era and there isn’t a United fan that will dispute this.
1. Our Scouse b*stard!
In terms of Manchester derbies, it didn’t get any better than 2009/2010. The four meetings between the sides had enough plot twists and drama to top the best Hollywood thiller and as with most blockbusters, the first was the best.
On September 20th, Old Trafford played host to one of the best games to ever take place on these shores as Mark Hughes brought his Man City side to town with new signing Carlos Tevez in tow.
The game itself was back and forth with Wayne Rooney giving United an early lead before Gareth Barry drew City level when Carlos Tevez took advantage of Ben Foster’s hesitation. Fletcher headed United back into the lead but a thunderous effort from Bellamy again pegged United back.
Fletcher appeared to have earned all 3 points for United with another header late on, but a huge mistake from Rio Ferdinand allowed Bellamy to race clear of the United defence and slot past Foster at the game’s death, but City celebrated too soon and their jubilation soon turned to deflation.
City had beaten United at their own game, grabbing a last minute equaliser but their celebrations plus a number of stoppages meant the initial 4 minutes injury time was extended.
And in the 96th minute when Ryan Giggs’ clever ball fell to none other than Michael Owen the former Liverpool player made no mistake beating Shay Given to give United the win.
Mark Hughes’ elation turned to despair as he furiously quizzed the fourth official as to why so much time had been allowed to pass, Sir Alex had no such questions though as he danced in the technical area, celebrating a breathtaking win.
The goal ensured Owen became a hero in the red half of Manchester and whilst he didn’t have a brilliant career at United, the goal will never be forgotten and helped endear him to fans who were sceptical about his signing and used to jeer the striker.
The game set the tone for the season between the two sides, and there would be 2 more last minute winners in the remaining 3 derbies.
Thankfully United would get both of those!
Will there be any more moments to add to this list after tomorrow? Have a look at our preview of the game here