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Skysports.com picks out ten of the greatest matches between Man Utd and City ahead of Saturday's meeting at Old Trafford
Manchester United lock horns with Manchester City on Saturday lunchtime in what promises to be a spectacular new episode in a long-running rivalry.
The Red Devils suffered their first defeat of the Premier League season last time out at the hands of Wolves to leave the title race very much open, and Manchester City can close to within two points of the summit by triumphing at Old Trafford.
Such occasions do not always live up to the hype, as we saw when the teams played out a goalless draw at Eastlands in November that only remains in the memory because of its sheer awfulness.
However, there have been enough encounters over the years that have gripped our attention for the right reasons to suggest this latest clash could just be something special.
Skysports.com here counts down ten of the greatest Manchester derbies of the Sir Alex Ferguson era.
City 5 United 1, 23rd September 1989
Many younger readers will have been protected from this truth which has been washed away by a gushing fountain of hype and nonsense: In the late 80s Manchester United were rubbish, with plain old Mr Alex Ferguson struggling to establish a winning formula. Sadly, Mel Machin's City were worse, despite the promise of a number of their younger players, so this result was still a massive upset. Goals from David Oldfield and Trevor Morley put City 2-0 ahead and Ian Bishop's classic diving header made it 3-0 at half-time, before a spectacular bicycle kick from Mark Hughes made blue doubts resurface. When Oldfield tapped in a fourth it was all over and then came the crowning glory - David White's cross, Andy Hinchcliffe's unstoppable header.
City 3 United 3, 27th October 1990
12 months on and City nearly enjoyed a repeat performance. Both teams were much improved - Howard Kendall had given City some quality and steel, with signings such as Peter Reid and Niall Quinn while Ferguson's first title-winning team was beginning to take shape and as FA Cup holders they were on their way to lifting the Cup Winners' Cup. A David White double and Colin Hendry strike helped City again open up a 3-1 lead, with Hughes on target for United. However, the Red Devils were not to be denied on this occasion and staged a dramatic fightback in the final ten minutes with Brian McClair grabbing a brace.
City 2 United 3, 7th November 1993
United went into this game on the back of their European Cup elimination at the hands of Galatasaray, which saw Eric Cantona sent off amid scenes of violence after the final whistle in Turkey. Gloating blue faces and bars of Turkish Delight greeted the flagging champions at Maine Road and City soon stormed into a two-goal lead thanks to two first-half headers from Quinn. But King Eric led the comeback with two composed finishes and Roy Keane put City firmly back in their place with an 87th minute winner. The result put United back on track and Ferguson's men went on to achieve the Premier League and FA Cup double.
United 5 City 0, 10th November 1994
United maintained their dominance over City with a five-goal drubbing of Brian Horton's troops at Old Trafford. There was a gulf in class between the teams and Andrei Kanchelskis underlined the point with a hat-trick as United's champagne football won out. Cantona showed class and a deft touch to score a goal to savour and Hughes also got in on the act in what turned out to be his final season at the Theatre of Dreams. United went on to do the double over the basement battlers that season, scoring eight unanswered goals in the two league games, while City only just avoided the drop.
City 3 United 1, 9th November 2002
13 years had passed since City had beaten United, but Shaun Goater proved to be the hero of Kevin Keegan's first - and City's last - derby at Maine Road. The veteran Bermudan had largely been reduced to a minor role for the first few months of the season but seized his chance with a decisive double. Nicolas Anelka had earlier broken the deadlock following a Fabien Barthez fumble, only for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to equalise almost immediately. 'The Goat' then took centre stage, slamming in his first after being fed by a Gary Neville mistake and then wrapping up the three points with a fine finish from Eyal Berkovic's pass.
United 4 City 2, 14th February 2004
Another bad day at the office for Neville after he was sent off for head-butting Steve McManaman in the first half, but this time United managed to prevail in a six-goal thriller to book United's spot in the last 16 of the FA Cup. Paul Scholes had put the Red Devils ahead before a brace from arch poacher Ruud van Nistelrooy and a Cristiano Ronaldo strike sealed the victory. Despite consolation goals for Michael Tarnat and Robbie Fowler, United went on to win the FA Cup that year while City's 30-year wait for a win at Old Trafford continued.
City 3 United 1, 14th January 2006
Frustrated that his side were deservedly losing to goals from Trevor Sinclair and Darius Vassell, Cristiano Ronaldo high-kicked one of his dancing feet into Andy Cole's midriff and was quickly dismissed by Steve Bennett, who had conveniently missed Stephen Jordan's hefty assault on a Portuguese ankle moments earlier. Riled, United rallied and got one back through Van Nistelrooy, but Robbie Fowler drilled in a third in stoppage time after good work by Vassell.
United 1 City 2, 10th February 2008
An emotional occasion at Old Trafford as Manchester marked the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, with both teams wearing special kits. The match itself was notable for City completing their first league double over United since the 1969/70 season. United struggled to find their rhythm early on and City surged into a two-goal lead as Vassell smashed the ball home at the second attempt after 25 minutes and then debutant Benjani Mwaruwari glanced in Martin Petrov's excellent cross on the stroke of half time. Ferguson's side enjoyed most of the possession after the break but City were excellent in defence and restricted them to hopeful shots from distance until Michael Carrick curled in a consolation goal in stoppage time.
United 4 City 3, 20th September 2009
An instant classic full of breathtaking goals and controversy was won in the most dramatic style by United when Michael Owen slotted home almost six minutes into stoppage time, enraging City manager Hughes after only four added minutes had been signalled. City had earlier come from behind three times to draw level in a pulsating encounter, with Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy each netting twice. Wayne Rooney began the goalscoring frolics in only the second minute but his effort was cancelled out by Gareth Barry following a Ben Foster mistake as City battled to stay in contention despite United's obvious superiority on the day.
United 3 City 1, 27th January 2010
The Manchester sides met on four occasions last season, with the most eagerly-awaited clash coming in the Carling Cup semi-finals. City held a 2-1 advantage going into the Old Trafford leg of the tie and were determined to show the balance of power was shifting by knocking out their rivals en route to a first Wembley showpiece in 29 years. However, Rooney had other ideas with a last-gasp headed winner to take United through instead. Extra-time had appeared imminent after Carlos Tevez's extravagant finish made it 3-3 on aggregate following earlier second-half strikes from Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick, but Rooney's goal ensured it was a miserable night for the travelling supporters.
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