Mancini excited, can City beat United?

Villarreal were handled, eventually by City during the week to keep Manchester City’s Champions League assault on track.

 Sunday, however, sees a much different challenge. Manchester City travel to Old Trafford for the first League derby of the season and with both Manchester teams in relentless form this really will not be a game for the nervous!

City really haven’t had the best of this fixture over the years in the League. In 144 games they have only found themselves victorious on 37 occasions and wins at Old Trafford make up a very small percentage of that figure.

 The last time was thanks to a Benjani dreadlock in 2008 to ruin the 50th Munich anniversary in the best way possible. First time City won at Old Trafford since that Denis Law backheel in 1974 that saw United relegated. That coupled with the Geovanni winner earlier in the season made it the first League double over United since the 1969-70 season.

Earlier this season at Wembley City let a 2-0 lead slip to lose the Community Shield but previous to that had Yaya Toure to thank for the only goal that secured City’s progression to the FA Cup Final, and the eventual win.

The first significant meeting between these two happened in 1889 when Ardwick (City) faced Newton Heath (United) at the Belle Vue Stadium infront of ten thousand people to raise money for the victims, and families of the Hyde Coalmine Disaster. An explosion in the mine had only recently claimed the lives on 23 miners.

Two years later Ardwick would defeat Newton Heath in the Manchester Cup, giving City the first significant silverware in the two clubs history. Since then we have sort of been relaxed in Cup competitions, allowing United to overtake us.

In 1904 City were flying high and United were on the brink of survival when an FA investigation declared City were in violation of contract regulations.

City players then went to United and lifted their first trophy in 1909. It is fair to say that if that hadn’t happened then City could have been the dominant team in Manchester, improving on their 1904 League win. As it was the club was decimated and Citys rebuilding took time and was also interrupted by the Germans twice!

City and United were fairly equal in their trophy successes in the 1960’s and 1970’s and it is fair to say that only in the last twenty or so years that they have puled away. In that timw they have won twelve titles, all of their League Cups and four of their FA Cups. Going into the Fergurson era they only had the single European trophy too, same as City.

In 1920 a fire at City’s Hyde Road had destroyed their Main Stand.

Three weeks City had to host United and is significant because of Uniteds demands of the game being held at Hyde Road rather than allowing their neighbors to ground share with them, something City did allow United to do when Uwe Roslers Granddad bombed Old Trafford during the war.

City allowed United the use of Maine Road and only charged 5k a year plus a small percentage of gate receipts. United received compensation from the War Damage Commission of 22k.

In 1926 City beat United 6-1 to secure the highest score in a Manchester derby before beating them 3-0 in the FA Cup Semi Final.

56 years ago in 1955 City played the Busby Babes three times, twice in the league and once in the cup.

The aggregate score of these three games was 10-2 to City but 8 years later City are relegated thanks to a controversial penalty awarded to United. 1971 saw high jinks from Francis Lee as he demonstrated to fans and players alike exactly how George Best had dived, much to the amusement of the crowd, although not so much the referee.

Add to this the Denis Law back heel in 1974 and the devastating Colin Bell injury in 1975 and this fixture has a rich history of big turning points for both clubs.

The 5-1 Maine Road massacre happened in 1989 and put pressure on Alex Fergursons early tenure at United, Mel Mechin was at the helm of a young City side that year following their promotion from Division 2.

When leaving Maine Road in 2003 City felt it only right they beat United in their final derby game played on the iconic ground. A 3-1 win for City was the major headline but also and ex United trialist, Shaun Goater scored his 100th goal in a City shirt against the team that refused him.

The next season, as if to not be outdone by it’s predecessor the City of Manchester Stadium hosted its own United destruction, by a score of 4-1. This time lifelong City fan Trevor Sinclair got on the scoresheet before Sweepie added a fourth when he looked dead on his feet.

We have, believe it or not actually played United away on this very date. It was back almost exactly 30 years and ended in a 2-2 draw. Although it wasn’t the same date in 1929 City beat United 3-1 away in the eighth game of the season (This Sundays will be the ninth).

Can Mancini’s men widen the gap at the top on Sunday and get five points away from United or will they relinquish the top spot? Only time will tell but it will certainly be interesting to see what City can do and how far they have come.

PA Cityboy

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