Manchester City’s 3-2 defeat at home to Tottenham last month places added importance on the big game of the weekend, a derby meeting with rivals Manchester United at the Etihad.
What had appeared to be a procession for City to defend the Premier League title this season now looks like more of a scrap considering Liverpool’s ominous run of six straight league wins.
The Reds have a game in hand over City and go to the Etihad in April so Pep Guardiola’s side can ill afford many slips. While United remain maddeningly inconsistent under Ralf Rangnick, the form book tends to be rather irrelevant whenever derby day rolls around in Manchester.
Here are four of the most memorable Manchester derby meetings that were hosted by City.
City 2-3 United, November 1993
United were on their way to a second straight league title under Sir Alex Ferguson, but they made the trip across Manchester for this derby clash just a few days after they had been knocked out of the Champions League by Galatasaray.
It looked to be going from bad to worse for United when City raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to a double from target man Niall Quinn.
But an error from Michel Vonk proved key, the defender’s misplaced header giving away possession to United, as his poor mistake allowed Eric Cantona to halve the deficit.
Cantona then struck again to level it up for United before Roy Keane marked his first appearance in the Manchester derby with a late winner to spark delirium in the away end.
City 3-1 United, November 2002
The last Manchester derby to be played at Maine Road was one to remember for City fans.
Shaun Goater was also in his last season at the club and the striker wrote another chapter in his personal glorious City history with a starring role in this unforgettable home victory.
Goater’s future had been in doubt after Nicolas Anelka and Jon Macken had been signed for a combined £18 million, but the Bermudan struck twice to reach 100 goals for City.
Anelka and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had both struck early goals but Goater had the decisive impact, robbing Gary Neville to put City in front before sealing victory with an impudent finish.
City 2-3 United, December 2012
There was another five-goal thriller in the 2012-13 season as Ferguson’s men earned a measure of revenge for being pipped to the title in the most dramatic fashion months earlier.
United were quick out of the blocks at the Etihad with a first-half double from Wayne Rooney putting the Red Devils in full control at the home of their noisy neighbours. Goals from Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta drew City level, however, setting up a frantic finale.
City had tried to sign striker Robin van Persie from Arsenal in the summer and the Dutchman showed Roberto Mancini’s side what they were missing by scoring the winner in added time.
Van Persie’s free kick somehow made its way into the City net and United went on to reclaim their title at a canter, while Mancini’s time in charge at the Etihad would soon come to an end.
City 2-3 United, April 2018
City would have secured the Premier League title with a victory but United acted as the party poopers as Jose Mourinho’s side staged a superb comeback at the Etihad four years ago.
Guardiola’s men had put the champagne on ice when they took the lead thanks to a header from captain Vincent Kompany before their lead was doubled by Ilkay Gundogan’s smart finish.
Paul Pogba had other ideas, though, making City pay for a couple of bad misses from Raheem Sterling that would surely have kickstarted a huge party. Not long after half-time, Pogba cut City’s lead and a couple of minutes later the midfielder struck again with a header to make it 2-2.
City were suddenly on the ropes and United’s comeback was completed when Chris Smalling, who was to blame for Kompany’s opener, stole in to beat Ederson and snatch the points.
This season, City are again on track for the title but United could yet have a big part to play.