Manchester Derby Preview: A classic rivalry continued

Who wants it most this time…

One of the most anticipated derbies every season is here, with Manchester United welcoming their city neighbours for the first Manchester Derby of the season.

This fixture has provided many iconic moments throughout its history. Could more be added this weekend?

Check out our Manchester Derby preview, with a short look at the history, stats, and our final score prediction.

Manchester Derby: A quick history lesson

The first meeting between these two came in 1881 when the two sides were known as St Mark’s (West Gorton)(Manchester City) and Newton Heath LYR (Manchester United).

They were both just two of many clubs in the Manchester area, but they quickly grew in stature and eventually made it to the Football League in 1892 - United (still Newton Heath) in the First Division and City (now known as Ardwick AFC) in the Second Division.

As we know now, both these sides are among England’s most successful clubs of all time. It was City who won the first piece of silverware, winning the FA Cup in 1904. United then won their first piece of silverware with the first of their record First Division titles in 1908.

The rivalry didn’t start to properly begin brewing until after the Second World War. Before then, supporters would be swapping who they would watch each week. But after the war, fans started to choose sides and following both became uncommon.

In the 1970s, there were a couple of incidents that caused this derby to gain more bad blood. One such incident occurred in December 1970, United legend George Best broke the leg of City’s Glyn Pardoe so badly that the City man ended up losing his leg.

During this time and into the 80s, the two were fairly evenly matched in terms of honours and results. However, things started to change from the mid-80s until the late 2000s as United started to find more and more success, particularly during the Sir Alex Ferguson era and the formation of the Premier League.

There probably doesn’t need to be much said about Sir Alex as everyone knows of him and the success he brought to the red side of Manchester.

City wouldn’t start to see true success in the top flight again until their takeover in the late 2000s, becoming a very cash-rich team and turning into the worldwide powerhouse that we all know now.

Old Trafford, home of United, is one of the world’s most iconic stadiums. It is located in Trafford, Greater Manchester.

Roughly only four miles away is the Etihad Stadium, also known as the City of Manchester Stadium, in Bradford, East Manchester.

Manchester Derby: All-time results

Having started in 1881, it should be no surprise to learn that the Manchester Derby has been competed 190 times.

United holds the most success, winning 78 times to City’s 59 wins, with the remaining 53 results being draws.

There have been five occasions where the pair have finished first and second in the league, although it’s not a fair split as City was champion four of those five times.

Quite possibly the greatest one of those and possibly the greatest ending to an English top division season of all time came in the 2011/12 season.

They were level on points although were ahead on goal difference. United needed a win and for City to either draw or lose to take the title.

United got their result against Sunderland. At the time of the full-time whistle for them, City were losing to QPR with the game in injury time. That’s when the remarkable happened.

City’s Edin Dzeko got the equaliser in the 92nd minute, and off QPR’s kickoff, City won the ball back quickly, went up the other end, and somehow the ball fell to future club legend Sergio Aguero who scored in the 94th minute to steal the win and the title away from United.

Interestingly, there has only been one occasion where the derby was played in a major cup final, coming just last year as City beat United in the 2023 FA Cup Final.

They have met seven times in cup semi-finals, though, twice in the FA Cup and once in the League Cup. 

Manchester Derby: Stats

Most appearances 36 Ryan Giggs
Most goals 11 Wayne Rooney
Largest victory United 1-6 City (1926)United 0-5 City (1955)United 5-0 City (1994)United 1-6 City (2011)  
Most goals in a game 9 City 6-3 United, 2nd October 2022
Highest attendance 86,549 Wembley Stadium, FA Cup semi-final, 16th April 2011
Longest win streak 8 games United, 1993-2000
Longest unbeaten streak 14 games United, 1991-2001

Manchester Derby: Last five results

While this derby doesn’t offer care for who is truly the best team at the time, City’s dominance over the last five years in England has been reflected when these two meet.

City have won three of the last five fixtures while United have just one win* - although their win is the most recent result.

*This is league only, not counting the two cup meetings within this timeframe.

  • 14th January 2023 – United 2-1 City, Old Trafford
  • 2nd October 2022 – City 6-3 United, Etihad Stadium
  • 6th March 2022 – City 4-1 United, Etihad Stadium
  • 6th November 2021 – United 0-2 City, Old Trafford
  • 7th March 2021 – City 0-2 United, Etihad Stadium

Manchester Derby: Prediction

United has had a poorer start to the season. They currently find themselves down in eighth place on 15 points.

City also hasn’t had the most ideal start by their standards. They sit in second place but found themselves on the losing side in two consecutive games before the International break, something which does not happen to Pep Guardiola’s side often.

They both won their returning games last week 2-1, although City had the harder matchup against high-flying Brighton while United faced struggling Sheffield United.

United have found themselves embroiled in multiple different issues at the start of this season that may have distracted them from getting the best out of their side.

As was mentioned earlier though, the derby doesn’t care for form. It’s all about who wants it more, and the home side often gets a big boost from their dedicated fanbase.

While it should no question be an interesting fixture, we’re going to give the nod to the defending treble champions, with City walking away with a 4-1 victory.

Manchester Derby: How to watch

The Manchester Derby takes place on Sunday at 15:30 UK time, which makes it part of the Super Sunday schedule on Sky Sports.

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