Our favourite 10 top-flight Manchester derbies

5. Party crashers (2018)

“It is a special day for United, which is a pity,”
admitted Pep Guardiola, on an afternoon when
the smart money was on his City side
wrapping up the 2017/18 Premier League
title with a month to spare, while United
watched. That became a chilling likelihood
for Jose Mourinho’s side when Vincent
Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan struck
inside half an hour, but the hosts would
later rue their wasteful finishing thereafter.
“The manager didn’t have to say much at
half-time as we knew it was a poor
Chris Smalling later revealed.
“He said that we didn’t want to be the clowns
standing there watching them get their title.”

Sure enough, a quickfire double from Paul
Pogba brought the scoreline level, before
Smalling popped up to volley home an
unbelievable winner 21 minutes from
time to postpone the Blues’ party.

4. Two-nil down, three-two up (1993)

“I simply told our players that if we put on pressure
and kept on playing the football that we’re
capable of, it would all come right in the end,”

smiled Alex Ferguson, having seen his side turn a
nightmare week on its head. A shock Champions
League exit to Galatasaray four days earlier
had given City fans plenty to crow
about, as had a first half in which two
Niall Quinn headers looked set to give
the Blues their first derby win in eight
meetings. ‘Thereafter, City simply had
the life throttled out of them,’ noted
Guardian journalist Stephen Brierly, as
Michel Vonk’s errant backpass gave
Eric Cantona the chance to reduce the deficit.
Substitute Ryan Giggs then immediately teed
up Cantona’s leveller with a sublime cross,
before Roy Keane completed the turnaround
by powering home Denis Irwin’s deep cross.

3. Not nineteen forever (2012)

For the first time in the Premier League era, the
Reds travelled to the Etihad as challengers to
Roberto Mancini’s champions, having
been dethroned so dramatically in
2011/12. United’s response had been
to start the following term apace,
building a three-point lead at the
top of the table by the time the
sides met. “We obviously had
what happened last year at
the back of our minds,”
Giggs later confirmed. Wayne
Rooney’s first-half pair put us
2-0 up, only for Yaya Toure and
Pablo Zabaleta to haul City level
with four minutes remaining. The
momentum was now firmly in City’s
hands but, as Giggs stressed: “We
don’t hang on for 2-2 draws. We go
for it.”
That mentality manifested itself
spectacularly, as Robin van Persie lined
up an injury-time free-kick, curled it
into Joe Hart’s net and added priceless
propulsion to the Reds’ 20th title charge.

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