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Manchester City v Manchester United: Greatest ever Manchester derbies

With Manchester United previously the dominant force in English football, the emergence of Manchester City as serial title winners has added renewed vigour to the Manchester derby.

United are still in front in the all-time head-to-head between the two sides, with 78 wins to City's 60, but the Citizens currently hold the majority of bragging rights in Manchester having won a remarkable five out of the last six Premier League titles up for grabs.

The latest edition of this famous rivalry will take on Sunday with Manchester City looking for a sixth win in seven against their neighbours.

It's a rivalry that's seen it all, from 6-1 away wins to title-denying comebacks, and we've looked at some of the greatest Manchester derbies of all time.

Man Utd 4-3 Man City - September 2009

The anticipation for the first derby of the 2009/10 season was palpable, with United the imperious force in the division having won back-to-back titles, while City's spending power was starting to take effect, with the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Joleon Lescott and Carlos Tevez having arrived over the summer - the latter from United.

The contest at Old Trafford certainly lived up to expectations, with United taking the lead on three occasions through Wayne Rooney and Darren Fletcher twice, only to be pegged back each time by Gareth Barry's first City goal and a brace from Craig Bellamy.

However, just when it looked like City had salvaged a point, up popped Michael Owen with a 96th-minute winner, undoubtedly his best moment in a United shirt.

Man Utd 0-1 Man City - April 1974

At first glance, a 1-0 victory for City over their rivals does not look particularly memorable, but when that goal was scored by a United legend on the day the Red Devils were relegated from the top-flight, it certainly takes on extra significance.

Denis Law was the former United star that netted against the club he represented with distinction for over a decade, and at the time he thought he was scoring the goal that would relegate his former employers.

As it turned out, United would have been relegated anyway as rivals Birmingham City won their final match of the season against Norwich City, ending the Red Devils' 36-year stay in the top-flight.

For Law, who remains third on the list of United's all-time leading scorers, it was a poignant moment, and he was substituted soon after scoring in what turned out to be the final club appearance of his professional career.

Man Utd 2-1 Man City - February 2011

Perhaps the finest goal ever scored in a Manchester derby, Wayne Rooney's sensational overhead kick winner for United would prove a crucial moment in United's quest for a 19th league title.

With City continuing to improve under the auspices of Roberto Mancini, with a side increasingly packed with top level talent featuring the likes of Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and David Silva, this was a statement victory for United who extended their unbeaten home record against their neighbours in the league to a staggering 27 matches.

Portuguese winger Nani had given the home side the advantage towards the end of the first half, with the silky David Silva netting a fortunate equaliser for City in the 65th minute to give Mancini's men hope of earning a valuable point.

This was not to be, however, with Rooney taking matters into his own hands to record what he has described as his "best ever goal", and undoubtedly one of the finest strikes in Premier League history.

In spite of this defining derby victory on the path to yet another title win for Sir Alex Ferguson's United, their stranglehold over City in the Premier League at Old Trafford would not last much longer...

Man Utd 1-6 Man City - October 2011

The day City arguably announced themselves as Premier League heavyweights came at Old Trafford on 23rd October 2011, when they embarrassed United 6-1 in what Sir Alex Ferguson described as his "worst ever day" in charge of the Red Devils.

Mario Balotelli opened the scoring for City during the first half, which prompted him to brandish his infamous "Why Always Me?" T-shirt, in reference to the firework that had reportedly gone off in his house the previous day.

However, it wasn't until the sending-off of United defender Jonny Evans early in the second half that the floodgates opened, with Balotelli notching his second alongside a brace from Edin Dzeko and a goal apiece for Sergio Aguero and David Silva.

Darren Fletcher was United's scorer on an otherwise miserable day for the hosts, and it was City who went on to be crowned Premier League champions thanks to that unforgettable AGUEROOOOOO moment.

Man City 2-3 Man Utd - April 2018

City and United may have been 1 & 2 in the 2017/18 Premier League season, but there was only ever one team emerging with the title.

City were miles clear of United and had the chance not just to wrap up the title early, but to do so against their arch rivals.

Needing a win to secure a first crown of the Pep Guardiola era, City raced into a 2-0 lead at half-time with United miles off the pace.

But some wonderful footwork from Paul Pogba saw United back in the contest, only for Pogba to head home an equaliser minutes later. What was supposed to be a coronation had become a battle for City, who now needed to score again to win the title.

Instead it was Chris Smalling up popped up, giving United the lead and keeping the City champagne on ice.

Man City 3-1 Man Utd - November 2002

In the early part of the 21st century, City were not the footballing superpower they are today and expectations were low when they faced reigning Premier League champions United at Maine Road in 2002.

City had just been promoted back to the top-flight the previous season and had not beaten their fierce rivals in 13 years (a 5-1 win in 1989 that easily could have made this list).

However, Kevin Keegan's side, in particular striker Shaun Goater, had not read the script in the build-up.

After Nicolas Anelka's early opener had been cancelled out by a strike from United forward Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it was the veteran Bermudan Goater who took centre stage, first embarrassing Gary Neville to put City 2-1 up on 26 minutes, before adding a second just after the break.

Renditions of "Feed the Goat and he will score" were sung around Maine Road, which was hosting its final Manchester derby, while for Goater it capped a superb five-year spell with City, as he left the club the following summer.

Man Utd 1-1 Man City - April 2001

This falls more into the notorious rather than greatest category, but the Manchester derby of April 2001 is certainly memorable, particularly if your name is Roy Keane or Alf-Inge Haaland.

The duo had been involved in a four-year feud after Haaland, then of Leeds United, had accused Keane of feigning injury during a match in September 1997.

Keane bided his time but got his revenge on Haaland during the latter stages of this derby contest, hitting the Norwegian with a heinous knee-high tackle that saw him sent off, fined and hit with a three-game ban.

It was later revealed in Keane's autobiography that the challenge was no accident, but little did the Irishman know that this would not be the last his beloved United would hear of the name Haaland at Old Trafford.

In terms of the match itself, Teddy Sheringham's second-half penalty for United was cancelled out by a late equaliser from City defender Steve Howey.

Man City 6-3 Man Utd (October 2022)

The most recent encounter between the Manchester rivals on this list, Dutchman Erik ten Hag's first taste of the derby as United manager could not have gone any worse as the Red Devils were humbled 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium.

22 years on from Keane's insipid tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland at Old Trafford, the Norwegian's son Erling would run riot on his own maiden Manchester derby, notching a third successive hat-trick at the Etihad having begun his City career in sensational form.

Remarkably this would not be the only hat-trick registered in this match, with City academy graduate Phil Foden also scoring three times in an afternoon to remember for Pep Guardiola's side.

United also had their say in this action-packed fixture, with Antony scoring a screamer and Anthony Martial netting a brace, but these moments would not spare the Red Devils from any humiliation on the day as City marched on to claim their third Premier League title in a row.

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