Wayne Rooney, Analysing the Manchester derby
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Analysing the Manchester derby: What to expect when giants collide

| 06.09.2021

This November will see the two Manchester clubs lock horns once more in one of the Premier League’s biggest local derbies.

Both sides have spent heavily in the transfer market during recent seasons and will be vying for supremacy in the English top flight but what can we expect when they cross swords?

Who has won the most Manchester derbies?

The Manchester clubs are currently among the Premier League’s powerhouses but their league history began in 1894 with five seasons spent together in England’s second tier.

United won six of their 12 encounters in the old Second Division, with another four ending in a draw.

Analysing the Manchester derby

Their first meeting in national competition actually came three years earlier when they met in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup in October 1891.

Surprisingly, they have only met eight times in the world’s oldest cup competition since then and United have won six of these ties to City’s three.

However, two of those City wins have come in the two semi-finals that these two have contested; they have never met in the final.

Despite Manchester City’s resurgence, United have been far more dominant in their Premier League derbies. They have 24 wins to the Citizens’ 15, with the remaining nine matches ending in a draw.

Back in the old First Division, there was far less daylight between their records. United had a slight edge with 35 wins to City’s 30 but a draw was the most common result, occurring 39 times.

How many goals have been scored in the Manchester derby?

Focusing on league encounters where the two clubs would have been at a similar level, their goalscoring records are strikingly similar.

United have netted just 11 more goals than City, with the gap having shrunk to just six goals until the Red Devils’ three most recent victories.

Analysing the Manchester derby

City have dealt the bigger thrashings, though, and can boast two 6-1 league victories over United, including the 2011 encounter at Old Trafford made famous by Mario Balotelli’s “Why Always Me?” shirt.

United have never put six past City in the league but they have scored five on three occasions.

Longest unbeaten runs in the Manchester derby

Manchester City managed a run of eight derbies without defeat in the early 1950s but United went a whole decade without losing to the Citizens.

City were probably feeling pretty confident after they defeated United 5-1 in the last league Manchester derby of the 1980s but would not beat their crosstown rivals in the league again until November 2002.

That United run included a seven-match winning streak between November 1993 and November 2000; the best that either side has managed.

City’s best run of successive victories to date is four, which they first managed in 1969-70 and again in 2013-14.

The Red Devils are on an unbeaten streak of four matches, having done the double over their rivals in 2019-20 and securing a 2-0 victory at the Etihad last season to end City’s 16-match winning run in the Premier League.

Analysing the Manchester derby

Curiously, over the last 10 seasons each club has won more Premier League points at the other’s ground.

United can boast five wins to City’s four at the Etihad while the last 10 league derbies staged at Old Trafford have seen six wins by the visitors.

How do the Manchester clubs compare in the Premier League?

Since Manchester City returned to the Premier League in 2002-03, United have won six titles to their five.

United earned more points than City for the first nine of those seasons before City matched United’s total in 2011-12, winning the league on goal difference thanks to Sergio Aguero’s famous stoppage-time winner.

Analysing the Manchester derby

United reclaimed the league title the following season in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final campaign but they have failed to better City’s points total in any of the eight seasons since.

The two sides finished on the same number of points again in 2015-16 but this time City’s superior goal difference merely saw them claim fourth place.

Who has scored the most goals in the Manchester derby?

Manchester United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney also leads the way in the Manchester derby with 11 goals.

He surpassed City legends Joe Hayes and Francis Lee in September 2013 but his 11th strike was a late consolation in the first Premier League derby without Ferguson in the Red Devils’ dugout.

Analysing the Manchester derby

Rooney continued to torment City after his return to Everton, scoring again in 2017.

That made it nine in the Premier League against City (three of his goals for United were in cup competitions), a total bettered only by Alan Shearer.

Brian Kidd is one of only nine players to score at least eight goals in the fixture but among this group he holds the distinction of being the only one to have netted for both teams.

Who has played on both sides of the Manchester derby?

Before World War II it was much more common for players to represent both clubs, with 17 players making at least 10 appearances in both blue and red.

This included Billy Meredith, considered by many to be one of the first footballing superstars, who turned out more than 300 times for both clubs.

Kidd is one of 10 players who have made at least 10 appearances for both clubs since 1945.

Several of the other moves proved controversial, with former United player Denis Law scoring a goal which effectively relegated his former club in 1974.

Analysing the Manchester derby

In more recent times, the clip of Gary Neville refusing to shake the hand of “turncoat” Peter Schmeichel in the tunnel and the image of Carlos Tevez holding an “RIP Fergie” sign have stoked the rivalry between both sets of fans.

Who has played in the most Manchester derbies?

There are 11 players who have featured in at least 15 Premier League Manchester derbies, with Ryan Giggs eight appearances clear of his closest rivals.

Rooney and Paul Scholes are the only others to have appeared in more than 20 of these matches.

Analysing the Manchester derby

Despite United’s superior overall record in the Premier League editions of the fixture to date, no player has been on the losing side of more Manchester derbies in the competition than goalkeeper David De Gea.



Stuart Walker