Top 5 Manchester derbies of Premier League era ranked as rivals United and City prepare for battle… – The Sun

MANCHESTER UNITED travel to noisy neighbours City this weekend in what has become one of the Premier League's most anticipated fixtures.
As well as the usual bragging rights, both sides have plenty to play for in their respective battles for top four and the title.
SunSport's Neil Custis has been covering the highs and more recent lows at Old Trafford for 23 years.
As we approach another Manchester derby he picks out the top five clashes between the neighbours that he has witnessed in his time covering the club.
This has to get in the top five for one iconic moment that has gone down in history.
The greatest goal by Manchester United’s greatest ever goalscorer, Wayne Rooney.
Nani’s 41st minute opener had been levelled by David Silva in the 65th.
Then on 78 minutes Nani got the ball on the right. His cross clipped Pablo Zabaleta meaning the ball was flying behind his intended target of Rooney. No matter.
He adjusted on instinct, took to the air and walloped the overhead kick – OK maybe off his shin – into the far top corner.
Watch again the reaction of Sir Alex on the bench, one of disbelief at what he had just seen, and he had seen it all.
If one day, as they should, the club build a statue to Rooney at Old Trafford it should be done in the image of that kick.
As Dimitar Berbatov some time later: “Definitely, if there was one goal I could have scored, that would have been it. No doubt at all.”
This was a crucial turning point in the season despite the game being only in December.
Victory put United six points clear and City never recovered. Sir Alex had delayed his retirement to get the title back in his final season and bought Robin van Persie to do it and he would decide the game.
Wayne Rooney had put United in control with goals in the 16th and 29th minutes but City responded drawing level through Yaya Toure on the hour and Pablo Zabaleta with four minutes to go.
Then in the last minute United won a free-kick. Van Persie hit it, Samir Nasri hung out a leg on the end of the wall and the ball clipped of him and curled past Joe Hart.
Mancini was furious with both players, believing Hart had wrongly taken a step to his left before the kick stopping him from reaching the ball that went to his right.
Either way the balance of power was swinging back to the red half.
Long after the final whistle you were still looking at the scoreboard in disbelief.
This doesn’t happen to United on their own turf. It famously began with Mario Balotelli opening the scoring and revealing a T-shirt saying ‘Why Always Me’.
After Jonny Evans was sent off in the 47th minute, Balotelli again and Sergio Aguero extended the lead to 3-0.
But Darren Fletcher’s 81st-minute response gave the home side a belief that they could pull off another of their famous comebacks.
As they poured forward City picked them off three times from the 89th minute with Edin Dzeko getting two and David Silva one.
City fans still sing about it to this day and always will, ‘It should have been ten’ they chant, but they were quite happy to hit their neighbours for six.
The tensest derby of the lot with the title on the line. United had an eight-point lead with six games to go but began to unravel with a defeat at Wigan and home draw to Everton.
Victory for Roberto Mancini’s men and the points would be level with two games to go but with goal difference heavily in City’s favour.
The atmosphere was electric before kick-off but with so much hanging on the match you could feel the anxiety in every corner from the first whistle.
Then right on half time Vincent Kompany rose above Chris Smalling and headed home the biggest goal of his career.
City held out and the release of emotion at the end was something else. It was the first time I have ever heard Sir Alex call out a player for a mistake after a game as Smalling was beaten to the ball.
It was in City’s hands now with two games to go, and even then they nearly let it slip on the very last game.
Not only the best derby I have witnessed but the best Premier League game I have ever been at.
It’s remembered of course for the Michael Owen winner, but two incredible Craig Bellamy goals should not be forgotten either.
Three times United went ahead through Wayne Rooney early on and two Darren Fletcher goals but three times they were pegged back, the final time by Bellamy in the 90th minute.
Having walloped one into the top corner earlier in the game he now latched on to a Rio Ferdinand error, charged forward, dummied the goalkeeper and slipped the ball in at the near post.
Not over. In the last seconds of injury time, Owen was allowed too much space, Ryan Giggs found him and he slid the ball home.
In an instant, his Liverpool past was all forgiven by the ecstatic home fans.
Post-match, Ferguson, angered by City’s boasting over Carlos Tevez's switch across the city, launched the ‘noisy neighbours’ tag.
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