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Manchester United’s top five derby day moments

by Alex Browne

As the whole footballing world eagerly anticipates the 191st Manchester derby, it is always therapeutic to look back at some of our fondest memories from these titanic tussles. Here are the top five United moments selected by The Peoples Person.

5. January 2012: City 2-3 United

It is the 8th January 2012, the third round of the FA Cup has been incredibly unkind and drawn Manchester United away to their cross city rivals. This 3-2 victory for the Red Devils was memorable for two reasons. The first was the surprise return of Paul Scholes, who made his way out of retirement for this game.

The second was vanquishing the ghosts of the previous October’s 6-1 humiliation at the hands of United’s noisy neighbours. The performance itself was nothing out of the ordinary, but it is a results business and getting the result is what United did.

4. 2010 EFL Semi-final second leg: United 2-1 City

Moment number four remains in the domestic cup competitons, but this time in the EFL Cup. The second leg of the 2010 EFL Cup semi-final between the local rivals was on a knife-edge after City had won the first tie 2-1 due to a Carlos Tevez inspired victory.

However, once again Old Trafford was the stage for a United comeback special as the club not only reached the final of the competition it went on to win, but also prevented City having the chance to win what would have been their first trophy of the Sheikh Mansour era.

3. September 2009: United 4-3 City

This moment must be etched into the mind of any fan from the red side of Manchester. It is the 20th September 2009 in a rare sun-soaked Theatre of Dreams. The clock is winding down, it is deep into the 6th minute of injury time. Mark Hughes in the City dugout is already pleading with the referee to blow up for full time. Michael Owen had different plans.

Ryan Giggs receives the ball outside the penalty area, and while the whole crowd is a nervous wreck, the great man plays a beautifully controlled pass to Owen, who makes no mistake with a trademark finish. 4-3 United, Old Trafford goes wild while Mark Hughes goes ballistic.

These are Manchester United moments at their finest.

2. December 2012: City 2-3 United

This time we travel back to The Etihad on a much gloomier December day in 2012. The previous summer, the Mancunian rivals had faced off against one another in the transfer market for a certain Robin Van Persie. The rest is history.

Thankfully the Dutchman “listened to the little child within”. In the dying embers again, Van Persie stroked in a free-kick that put United 3-2 up and into a commanding lead in the title race that the Red Devils would claim as their own in the spring.

1. February 2011: United 2-1 City

Finally we arrive to the big moment. What could top so many late winners and high-scoring games? Step into the spotlight, the one and only, Wayne Rooney. It is Valentine┬┤s weekend in 2011. The game is far from lovely.

A scrappy affair is evenly poised at 1-1 when Rooney puts his name once again into Manchester United folklore and scores an awe-inspiring bicycle kick to win the derby. Did he mean it? Who cares? United 2-1 City.

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