The 168th Manchester Derby
The 168th Manchester Derby takes place at The Etihad Stadium on Sunday November 2nd, with a 1.30 PM kick off. United have not beaten City since Robin Van Persie’s late winner at the Etihad in December 2012. United would go on to finish as champions that season, but their on field fortunes have plummeted dramatically since then.
Come and gone has the reign of David Moyes, which would see City win both derby games with ease, and United finish in a comparatively lowly seventh position and miss out on European football for the first time since the 1989/90 campaign.
But the pendulum of derby dominance has always swung from one side to the other, none more notably than during the 1990’s, when United went unbeaten in the fixture for the entirety of the decade. Ryan Giggs aged 17 would score his first goal for Manchester United in the 1-0 home victory over City in May of 1991, the earlier corresponding fixture having finished 3-3 at Maine Road.
Among that decades highlights for United fans, was the 1993/94 encounter at Maine Road, when Eric Cantona scored twice to pull United level after trailing 2-0, and Roy Keane slammed home a late winner. The following season United would inflict a 5-0 defeat on City at Old Trafford, eclipsing the 5-1 Maine Road thumping they had received in September 1989 by the then newly promoted City side.
City would not win the fixture again for thirteen years, until Kevin Keegan guided them to a 3-1 win over United in the last derby played at Maine Road in November 2002. The teams drew 1-1 in Old Trafford later that season.
In the 2009/10 season, what is considered one of the greatest Manchester Derby games, took place at Old Trafford and would finish 4-3 to the home side with Michael Owen scoring a dramatic winner in the fifth minute of injury time, moments after City had equalised for the third time in the match.
United and City were paired in the League Cup semi final the same season, with City winning the first leg 2-1 at home, but at Old Trafford an injury time goal from Wayne Rooney would see United win the match 3-1 and take them to the final. In April 2010 United won the fixture 1-0 with another late goal, this time from Paul Scholes.
One of the greatest derby goals was the winner scored by Wayne Rooney in the February 2011 encounter at Old Trafford. His spectacular bicycle kick ensured United victory, and they would ultimately finish as Premiership winners that season, claiming an unprecedented 19th title and finally “knock Liverpool off their fuc*ing perch”.
United suffered an embarrassing 6-1 home defeat to City in 2011, then steadied the ship to win the 3rd round FA Cup match between the teams, the scoreline being 3-2, in a game which saw Paul Scholes come out of retirement. United would lose 1-0 to City in the Premiership return fixture and subsequently surrender the title to their cross town rivals.
As previously mentioned the 2012/13 Manchester Derby was a dramatic 2-3 victory for United with Robin Van Persie scoring a late winner to send the travelling fans into delirium and the home fans into a vitriolic frenzy. Long before the coin throwing and pitch invasion stuff, United had led the game two nil, and were denied a perfectly legitimate third goal which would have wrapped up the points in a nice and dignified manner, and seen the home crowd abandon both the stadium long and of course their desire for the blood of their illustrious neighbours, long before the final whistle.
What transpired though after the disallowed goal was an instant reply from City, with a goal from YaYa Toure and an 86th minute Zabeleta equaliser. No-one was leaving this match, even though it was at the Etihad.
By the time Van Persie lined up his free kick in the 92nd minute, the feeling among United fans was that we had been robbed of a famous victory, but when the ball hit the back of the net, the euphoria simply erupted through the ranks, for injustice was rightly righted.
Having lost both derby matches last season and struggling to find a run of form this season, a victory at the Etihad tomorrow is what all United fans crave, and after a gutsy draw with Chelsea last weekend the belief is growing again. Regardless of tomorrow’s result United will be back as a top footballing force, but the Manchester Derby tomorrow would be the perfect opportunity, and the perfect place to announce it!
Red Rhetoric predict a 1-2 United win for 168th Manchester Derby .
In the 167 meetings to date United can boast 69 wins to City’s 48 and on 50 occasions the derby ended in a draw.