Top five Manchester derbies since the turn of the century

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Sunday - the day of Sabbath, traditionally a day of peace and harmony before the hectic work rush on a Monday morning. Celebrated with Roast dinners and relaxation. A time of the week for peaceful laziness and sunny walks, if you can ever manage to get the sun that is.

Not this Sunday though, oh no - this Sunday, a monumental Premier League fixture is taking place. A match-up embedded with historic rivalry for dominance over one particular city.

The home of Oasis and the accent everyone seems to think they can do but can't, Manchester - and this Sunday, the Citizens of the Etihad and the Red Devils of Old Trafford duel for the bragging rights and rightful ownership of the town.


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With this special fixture, comes drama and plenty of it - accompanied with barrels of passion from each set of loyal supporters.

In this list, I diagnose the top five derbies from the last fifteen years:

5. Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United (2002/2003)

Oh yes, City fans will remember this derby very fondly, not just as a fantastic win against their much better rivals at the time - but it was a landmark for the citizens.

The first time they beat United since being promoted back to the Premier League after many years yo-yo'ing in the bottom divisions. Indeed, the last ever derby to be played at Maine Road was one to remember and one that still lives in the hearts of City supporters everywhere.

Comedically, the home supporters still remember a fortunate mishap involving Reds legend, Gary Neville. For this was the day Neville fed the goat. Specifically, gifting the ball to City fan favourite Shaun Goater to seal the derby and ultimately seal the delight of blues supporters throughout the land.

4. Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City (2009/2010)

Right after the 'noisy neighbours' took the transfer market by storm, signing heavyweights such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott - accompanied with Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from United, could this be City's chance to firmly assert themselves as rivals?

Or, would this be a day of still-reigning Red dominance? a day where Sir Alex Ferguson and his Devils would show their noisy neighbours who's boss and ultimately prevail.

It was the latter, after a dramatic encounter where United took the lead three times and City equalised to each of them. It went right down to the wire. A controversial wire at that.

You could practically see the steam coming off Mark Hughes' head as the clock had already ticked over the minute of proposed stoppage time - with that, there was panic.

A cool and perfectly placed Ryan Giggs through-ball took advantage of City's frantic defending as Michael Owen scored the fourth and ultimate decider in one of the most entertaining derbies of all time. What a game - if ever there was an advert for the Premier League.

3. Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City (2007/2008)

An incredibly emotional and meaningful affair up next, a day where both sets of supporters came together and remembered the Munich air disaster. It was the 50th anniversary, conveniently on derby day, it just had to be.

Both sides sported retro kits, removing the sponsors and endorsement advertising, it was simply just City and United, forming a binding remembrance of the players who died on that fateful afternoon. An overwhelmingly emotional build-up whilst the game itself had little meaning, this occasion had to be in this list.

For the Reds, however, it turned out to be an afternoon to forget. City came to Old Trafford and shocked Sir Alex Ferguson's men with a solid and passionate display. A Darius Vassell sitter and a trademark Benjani header proved the difference as the Blues ran out 2-1 winners on a memorable afternoon.

2. Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City (2011/2012)

Wow, well - we all know this score line. What can you say about this? A day where so much was riding on this pivotal fixture, this game was known as the match that would ultimately separate the champions from the runners-up after City and United's equally storming starts to the season.

Just before this historic encounter, both sides were proving to be unbeatable - with United humiliating Arsenal 8-2 and City going to Spurs and hammering them 5-1.

So, to separate the heavyweights, a duel was required - a bout that would prove astronomically surprising to everyone involved. Manchester United's eventual nightmare started when Mario Balotelli calmly slid a James Milner pass directly into the bottom corner of David de Gea's net - cue euphoria from the away end and the start of a riot.

Another Balotelli strike and an Aguero goal later, it was getting embarrassing - however, when Darren Fletcher's screamer brung it back to 3-1, there was a glimmer of hope, bearing in mind United's comebacks in the past.

Oh boy, looking back now, the Red Devils would've settled there. As Sir Alex ordered them to push forward, the class of David Silva and Yaya Toure were proving too much to deal with.

An Edin Dzeko goal from a corner; a Silva nutmeg of David De Gea; and a sublime pass from the Spaniard to Dzeko for a sixth goal of the afternoon capped off a dreamland performance for City and 'one of the worst days of Sir Alex Ferguson's managerial career'.

What more can you say? Simply unbelievable.

1. Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United (2011/2012)

It was a tense and dark night on the borders of Manchester, previously eight points behind, City clawed their way back into the title thanks to Wigan and Everton favours against United.

Could it be? Ferguson's men don't slip up do they? I thought it was City who famously dropped at the last hurdle?

The Blues carried on and never gave in, putting pressure on their rivals - alas this was the night they were no longer the noisy neighbours, Roberto Mancini's side became the serious title-contending neighbours.

A furiously nervy game, as captured in the crowd, City looked the better side but were finding it difficult to break down a stern Reds defence.

A mistake was out of the question, as a win for either of these teams would give them a huge up-spring towards that teasing Premier League title.

To City's rescue, a corner. The most important corner in their history was taken. As Silva whacked in his trademark left-footed in-swingers, fan favourite and 'captain fantastic' Vincent Kompany rose above the hapless Chris Smalling to nod home - 1-0 to the Blues.

A celebration leaking with passion and relief followed from the big Belgian - and as the final whistle blew, Wonderwall by Oasis rang around the Etihad Stadium followed by a chorus of rapturous City supporters. The day everything changed.

Premier League
Manchester United
Manchester City

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