Premier League: Five Controversial Manchester Derby Moments

On Sunday, Manchester City will host Manchester United in the Premier League, and as you may expect in a derby, it will be a febrile atmosphere, and neither side will hold back.

There is plenty riding on this game, as City seek to maintain their title challenge, while United will be hoping to consolidate a top-four spot, as the race for a coveted Champions League berth intensifies.

Freebets can’t wait for the Manchester Derby, and ahead of this high-profile fixture, we look back at five memorable, but also rather contentious moments.

Denis Law buries old club

If you’re old enough to remember, then Denis Law’s contribution to the Manchester Derby in 1974 was probably one of the most controversial of the lot. Well, it certainly fanned some flames as Law scored a sumptuous back-heeled goal to give City a 1-0 win, and it condemned his former club United down to Division Two.

Law refused to celebrate the goal, and he admitted it left him a bit depressed after. While there have been a few players that have crossed the Manchester divide over the years, it seemed to hit Law harder than most!

Gary Neville gaffe

He may have been one of the top right-backs of his generation, but for Gary Neville, he will no doubt want to erase the Manchester Derby at Maine Road in 2002 from his mind!

The game was finely poised at 1-1, and when an overhit bit was played long, Neville tried to shepherd the ball out of play. However, Shaun Goater had other ideas, as he pinched the ball before slotting home from a tight angle under Fabien Barthez.

Reflecting on the moment, Neville said: “It was the first time I ever captained the club, I was subbed after 47 minutes and I just remember that night drowning in a crate of Peroni at home on my own, just absolutely depressed at how I’d played and what had happened.”

Roy Keane goes over the top

Roy Keane, as we all know, likes to live dangerously, and he was certainly a hostile character on the pitch. The Irishman had a long-running feud with City’s Alf-Inge Haaland dating back to the time when the Norwegian was at Leeds.

Anyway, Keane produced a cynical challenge on Haaland, which earned him a straight red card, and Keane later admitted the tackle was premeditated – shocking stuff!

Mario Balotelli – Why always him?

Perhaps one of football’s most lovable rogues, Mario Balotelli was a bit of a maverick and he didn’t always play by the rules. Setting off fireworks in his house ahead of a big game is a prime example of this.

Anyway, he made his mark in the 2011 Manchester Derby as he scored twice. After his first goal, the fiery Italian lifted his shirt, and he was wearing a T-shirt bearing the words ‘Why Always Me?’. City ended up running riot, as they cantered to a 6-1 win, but Balotelli’s contribution was unforgettable. 

Michael Owen leaves it late

When Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge of the Red Devils, his side had a penchant for scoring late winners, and it was commonly referred to as ‘Fergie Time’.

In 2009, City looked like they were heading for a draw. However, there was a dramatic twist deep in stoppage time when Michael Owen collected an inch-perfect pass from Ryan Giggs to score with the outside of his right boot to send Old Trafford into pandemonium. Ferguson’s counterpart, Mark Hughes, was left incensed as he remonstrated with the fourth official, wondering where all the added time came from. Owen, no doubt, cared very little. 

Can Manchester City complete league double?

The stakes are huge for both sides for very different reasons. City will be desperate to try and keep Liverpool at bay in the title race, and this weekend, they will be hoping to complete a league double over United after a 2-0 win at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign.

City are at a short looking 11/25 with Unibet to pick up all three points at the Etihad, while if you fancy a draw, then Paddy Power is serving up a tempting price of 7/2.