The rivalry between the two Manchester Clubs was always an affair between the two sets of supporters until recently, when Manchester City exploded onto the scene with the help of cash-rich owners from Abu Dhabi, intent on turning the mid-table club into a footballing powerhouse.
While Manchester United have dominated the Premier League for quite some time and are an established powerhouse, City’s recent emergence as a force to be reckoned with has propelled this rivalry into the spotlight.
Being 2 of the most prominent sides from Manchester, development of a rivalry was only natural. Though the interest in the fixture was confined to the city of Manchester, it was often a bad-tempered affair in the 1970s.
There was the infamous ‘Denis Law’ game where Law (United legend but had returned to his boyhood club City) scored the winner which did not help United’s cause and they were relegated from the First Division. Immediately after Law’s winner, the pitch was invaded and the game had to be called off.
Even though City were the underdogs against United through most of the 80s, 90s and the early 21st century, they always gave their accomplished rivals a run for their money. The fixture has witnessed some headline results over the years. One of them was the 5-0 thrashing United handed out to their rivals, thanks to a hat-trick from Andrei Kanchelskis.
There was the infamous knee-high tackle Roy Keane made on Alfe-Inge Haaland which effectively ended his career in 2001. Keane had later admitted that it was a premeditated challenge for an incident involving the pair back in 1998. There was this pulsating 4-3 result in favour of United in the 2009-10 season, when Owen scored the winner with virtually the last kick of the match, which was described as the best Manchester derby of all time.
But the result that astonished everyone and sky-rocketed City to the stature of a powerhouse was the 6-1 demolition they handed out to United at Old Trafford in 2011. Plenty of stars like Denis Law, Andy Cole, Peter Schmeichel, Andrei Kanchelskis, Carlos Tevez and Owen Hargreaves have turned out for both clubs, in spite of the bitter rivalry.
With 2 managers, who have a long-standing feud between themselves, in charge of the rivals this season, the importance of the Manchester derby has increased manifold. Jose Mourinho vs Pep Guardiola is a battle that never lets one down.
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