In preparation for the epic FA Cup Final showdown, we round up the most memorable Manchester derby moments in history, as well as the latest statistics and head-to-head record of this classic football rivalry between the Reds and Blues.

The rivalry between the red and blue sides of Manchester is one of the most fiercely contested rivalries in world football. Based in the same city, these two teams have a long history of intense competition, with both sides vying for local bragging rights.

The rivalry between the two clubs is steeped in history, dating back over 100 years. Both clubs have enjoyed periods of success in that time, with Manchester United winning a record 20 English league titles and three major European Cups, while Manchester City has won nine English league titles and one European cup.

In recent years, Manchester City has enjoyed a resurgence under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, winning six English Premier League titles in the last decade. On the other hand, Manchester United has struggled to keep up with their local rivals, although they have still managed to win several trophies in this period.

In a month, the rivals will once again be battling it out on the pitch in the FA Cup Final 2024. With City touted to win this clash, we’re taking a deep dive into the history of the Manchester Derby and explore some of the most iconic moments that have defined this epic rivalry. Whether you're a die-hard Red or a loyal Sky Blue, this blog is a must-read for anyone who wants to relive the glory and drama of the Manchester Derby.

Buy City v United FA Cup Final Hospitality

The History and Meaning of The Manchester Derby

The Manchester derby is a fixture that has been played between Manchester City and Manchester United for over 100 years. The fixture is among the most hotly anticipated in English football and can significantly impact the outcome of the two clubs’ seasons.

The rivalry between the two clubs is about more than just football. It is about the city's identity, with Manchester United often seen as the club of the establishment and Manchester City as the club of the working class.

Over the years, the Manchester derby has produced some memorable moments, with both teams enjoying periods of success. From Wayne Rooney’s stunning overhead kick in 2011 to Mario Balotelli’s ‘Why Always Me’ celebration, the derby has given fans plenty of drama and excitement.

The Manchester derby is more than just a football match. It is a celebration of the city, its history, and its people, and it is a fixture that will continue to capture the imagination of fans for generations to come.

Manchester Derby Moments

Dennis Law’s infamous back heel - Man Utd 0 – 1 Man City, 1974

Dennis Law is a footballing icon and a Manchester United legend, having scored a remarkable 237 goals in his 11-year spell at the club. His contributions on the pitch for United have earned him a place in the hearts of fans all over the world.

However, in 1974, Law found himself in a unique situation. Playing for their bitter rivals, Manchester City, Law scored a late backheel goal against United, a goal that effectively relegated United to the second tier of English football after 36 years in the top flight.

Despite the significance of the goal, Law refused to celebrate. He knew what he had done to his former team and the fans who had adored him for so long.

Rooney’s magical bicycle kick – Man Utd 2 – 1 Man City, 2011

In February 2011, Wayne Rooney scored one of the most spectacular goals in the history of the Manchester Derby. With just minutes remaining and the scores level at 1-1, Rooney rose to the occasion and delivered a moment of pure magic.

A cross from Nani was slightly behind him, but Rooney adjusted his body and executed a perfectly timed overhead kick that flew past City's goalkeeper and into the net. The goal was met with disbelief and awe from fans and pundits alike and instantly became a Manchester Derby classic.

It was a moment of individual brilliance that sealed the victory for United and secured Rooney's place in the pantheon of greats.

Owen steals it at the death – Man Utd 4 – 3 Man City, 2009

The Manchester Derby in September 2009 was an epic encounter, with Manchester United taking the lead three times only to be pegged back by a determined Manchester City side.

However, in the 96th minute, Ryan Giggs played a sublime through ball to Michael Owen, who calmly slotted the ball past City's goalkeeper Joe Hart to secure a thrilling 4-3 victory for United.

The goal was a defining moment for Owen in a United shirt and remains one of the greatest moments in the history of the Premier League.

‘Why Always Me’ – Man Utd 1 – 6 Man City, 2011

During the Manchester Derby in October 2011, Mario Balotelli scored the opening goal for Manchester City and celebrated by revealing a shirt underneath that read ‘Why Always Me?’.

The phrase was a reference to his reputation as a controversial and unpredictable player. He had often made headlines for his off-field antics and his sometimes erratic behaviour on the pitch. The ‘Why Always Me?’ message was seen as a tongue-in-cheek response to the media scrutiny he had faced throughout his career.

In the years since the celebration, ‘Why Always Me?’ has become a catchphrase associated with Balotelli and the Manchester Derby and remains a memorable moment in the history of English football.

Roy Keane v Alfie Haaland – Man Utd 1 – 1 Man City, 2001

The Manchester Derby in April 2001 was marked by the infamous feud between Roy Keane and Alfie Haaland. Haaland had accused Keane of feigning a knee injury during his time at Leeds, and tensions were already high between the two players.

Keane responded with a brutal knee-high tackle on Haaland during the game, which left the Norwegian writhing in pain and effectively ended his career. Keane was hit with a three-game ban and a fine for the tackle, but the incident was more significant for the bad blood it created between the two players.

The Keane-Haaland feud became a defining moment in the history of the Manchester Derby and a cautionary tale about the dangers of letting personal animosity interfere with the game.

Manchester Derby Statistics

Head-To-Head Record

Here is the head-to-head record between Manchester United and Manchester City since their first meeting in 1881:

Manchester United and Manchester City have played each other a total of 192 times in all competitions, with United winning 78 of those matches, City winning 61, and 53 ending in draws.

In the Premier League, United have won 25 times, City have won 20, and there have been 9 draws.

United have won the FA Cup 6 times, City have won it 4 times, and there have been no draws.

City have won the EFL Cup 5 times, United 4, and there has been 1 draw.

In other competitions, such as the European Cup, UEFA Cup, and Charity Shield, the two teams have met twice, with United winning on both occasions.

Although the Sky Blues are one of the most dominant forces in world football today, Manchester United still have a far superior head-to-head record.  

Manchester Derby Top Scorers

  1. Wayne Rooney - 11 goals: Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney played for the club from 2004 to 2017. He is the all-time leading scorer in the Manchester derby with 11 goals and holds the record for the most goals scored for Manchester United.
  1. Joe Hayes - 10 goals: Hayes is a former Manchester City winger who played for the club in the 1950s and 1960s. He was a tricky and skilful player who was known for his ability to beat defenders and create scoring opportunities. Hayes scored eight goals in the Manchester derby during his career, making him the second-highest scorer in the fixture.
  1. Francis Lee - 10 goals: Lee is another former Manchester City legend who played for the club in the 1960s and 1970s. He was a prolific goal scorer who helped City win the English league title in 1968. Lee scored 10 goals in the Manchester derby during his career, making him the joint second-highest scorer in the fixture.
  1. Sergio Aguero - 9 goals: Aguero is Manchester City’s all-time record scorer with 260 goals. The former Manchester City striker played for the club from 2011 to 2021 and scored eight goals in the Manchester derby, making him the joint third-highest scorer in the fixture.
  1. Bobby Charlton - 9 goals: Red Devil’s icon Bobby Charlton played for the club from 1956 to 1973. He is regarded as one of the greatest players in English football history and was a key member of the England team that won the World Cup in 1966. He scored nine goals in the Manchester derby during his career, making him the joint third-highest scorer in the fixture alongside Sergio Aguero.

Biggest Manchester Derby Wins & Losses

Over the years, the Manchester Derby has produced some incredibly entertaining and high-scoring clashes between the red and blue sides of Manchester. Here are the top three biggest wins in Manchester Derby History.  

  1. Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City, 2011: This thrashing of United at their home stadium, Old Trafford, was one of the most shocking results in Premier League history. City took the lead through Mario Balotelli, who unveiled his infamous ‘Why Always Me’ celebration. The Sky Blues led 3-0 at halftime and doubled that advantage in the second half, with United's only consolation being a curling Darren Fletcher strike in the 81st minute.
  2. Manchester City 5-0 Manchester United, 1955: City’s 5-0 beating of Man United at Old Trafford in 1955 is another Manchester Derby moment that Red Devil’s fans will want to forget. City dominated throughout the match, with Joe Hayes and Paddy Fagan scoring twice and a further goal from Johnny Hart sealing the comprehensive victory for the Citizens.
  3. Manchester United 5-0 Manchester City, 1994: United's 5-0 win at Old Trafford was their biggest-ever derby victory over their local rivals. Andrei Kanchelskis scored a hattrick, with further goals from Eric Cantona and Mark Hughes. The result reflected United's dominance in the 1990s, winning five Premier League titles under manager Sir Alex Ferguson in that time.

Total Goals Scored

The total number of goals scored in the Manchester derby across all competitions is 545.  

This includes goals scored in matches played in the English Premier League, the FA Cup, the League Cup, and various other competitions. Manchester United scored 273 of these goals, while Manchester City scored 272.

With many legendary players and moments associated with this historic fixture, the Manchester derby remains one of world football's most fiercely contested and entertaining rivalries.

Trophy Records

As well as more wins in the Manchester Derby, Manchester United also have a more extensive trophy record than Manchester City, winning more than double the honours. United have won 67 major trophies, while Manchester City has won 34.

Manchester United's trophy haul includes 20 English league titles (the most of any English team), 12 FA Cups, 3 European Cups/Champions Leagues, 1 Europa League, and numerous other domestic and international trophies.

On the other hand, Manchester City's trophy record includes 9 English league titles (5 of which have been won in the last decade), 6 FA Cups, 8 League Cups, and 1 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

While Manchester City's recent success has seen them become a dominant force in English football, Manchester United's rich history of success sets them apart as one of the most successful clubs in the world.

However, both clubs continue to compete for trophies each season, and the rivalry between the two clubs will only grow as they compete for further silverware.

With the upcoming clash on the calendar now, it remains to be seen whether Manchester United will be able to defend its illustrious past, or if City will continue on its astronomical rise and secure a back-to-back FA Cup win.

City & United in the FA Cup 2024

After winning their semi-final matches last weekend, The Sky Blues and The Red Devils are gearing up for a titanic FA Cup Final clash on 25th May.

Don’t miss out on watching the historic derby Final from the best seats in the house with a VIP ticket or hospitality package from Seat Unique.

VIP tickets offer an unparalleled matchday experience for football fans. These tickets typically provide access to exclusive hospitality areas, premium seating options, and additional amenities that elevate the overall matchday experience.

Hospitality tickets for the 2024 FA Cup Final match are on sale now on our website. Get yours now!  

Buy City v United FA Cup Final Hospitality

Tickets and hospitality for all of Manchester City and Manchester United’s home fixtures are available to purchase now from our website.

Buy Manchester United hospitality

Buy Manchester City hospitality

If you’re a big football fan, why not take a look at some of the other football hospitality packages available on our website?