Manchester United v Manchester City 

Sat 11th April 2016

The beautiful game is jam-packed with feisty local derbies across the globe, but few capture the imagination quite like the one that takes place in Manchester. For two days a year, the city is split almost completely down to the middle – into the red of United and the blue of City. There really are few grey areas in this one.

It’s a historic fixture dating back more than 120 years, first played on a recreation ground back when Manchester United were known as Newton Heath. And since then there has been plenty more thrills and spills – and controversies – on and off the pitch between these two giants of the football world.

Who can forget Roy Keane’s tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland back in 2001? This feud dated back to when the Norwegian played for Leeds and Keane tried to foul him as he went through on goal, but only proceeded to snap his own cruciate knee ligament in the tackle. Haaland then intimated that Keane was faking his injury to avoid getting sent off.

Then, in the Manchester derby, Keane got his revenge in a tackle that has been widely known as one of the worst ever in football. His response:

“What goes around, comes around. He got his just rewards. He f****** me over, and my attitude is an eye for an eye.”

Then there was the infamous ‘Welcome to Manchester’ moment in 2009, when Carlos Tevez left United to join City. The blue half of the city celebrated by erecting a huge billboard welcoming the Argentine to the club. This was a massive snub to United, who’s failure to sign Tevez was seen as a huge lack of ambition. This would also signal the start of the turnaround in City’s fortunes, and see theme merge as a real contender to United’s throne.

This became quite apparent in October 2011, when City travelled to Old Trafford with a team containing the likes of Mario Balotelli. And it was in this every game that the ‘Why Always Me?’ catchphrase was born, as the new dawn of City – under the management of Roberto Mancini – came to fruition. The blues triumphed 6-1, in a game that Sir Alex Ferguson would describe as ‘the worst result in my history.’

This was a watershed moment in City’s ‘Post-Takeover Years.’ Now they were a force to be reckoned with. As Sir Alex, never one to give out credit where it was due, would go on to say: “Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour. You just have to get on with your life, put your television on and turn it up a bit louder.”

The history books show the balance of power is still in United’s hands, with the Red Devils winning 69 of the 168 Manchester derbies that have taken place. City have won 49, and there’s been 50 draws. Mind you, if an rich oil sheikh had taken over Manchester City 120 years ago these statistics might look very different…..

Fast forward to the 2014/15 Premier League season and it’s certainly been a campaign of two sides for United – dreadful on their travels but solid enough at home. They’re scoring an average of nearly two goals a game at Old Trafford, which is trademark of classic United sides of yesteryear, but still have a number of defensive frailties which have been exposed by luminaries such as Leicester City already this season. On the road they concede an average of 1.8 goals per game on average – and here is where their problems lie. So fat they are also missing the services of a prolific goalscorer; Wayne Rooney seems to sit deeper and deeper these days and Van Persie has yet to hit his normal heights, even with the prompting and probing of Di Maria, Mata, Herrera etc.  There is time between now and the next derby between these sides for Man United to develop there defense.

Manchester City, on the other hand, don’t have that problem because they have Sergio Aguero, surely the Premier League’s greatest ever South American player? His goal-to-game ratio of nearly one a game in a blue shirt is phenomenal.

They, like United, do have the odd problem defensively too – £32 million man Mangala still hasn’t quite bedded in at the centre of their defence – but City’s dominance at home is incredible.

And it’s worth remember these two eye-opening stats when it comes to placing your bets on the Manchester derby:

United haven’t beaten City at Old Trafford since the 2010/11 season. Indeed, in their past three meetings at the ground City have scored 11 goals – and United just two.

And yet, who is the top goalscorer in the history of United v City encounters, I hear you cry? Well, it’s none other than Wayne Rooney, with eleven goals in thirteen games.  Check out the range of the best betting bonuses using the link in the top menu.

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