Manchester United vs Manchester City: A brief history, head-to-head and stats of the Manchester Derby

Discover the rich history of Manchester Derby, with intense battles and key stats of the Manchester United vs Manchester City matches.

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Koushik Biswas
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Manchester United vs Manchester City: A brief history, head-to-head and stats of the Manchester Derby

Manchester United vs Manchester City: A brief history, head-to-head and stats of the Manchester Derby

The Manchester Derby is one of the most fiercely contested rivalries in English football. It pits two of the country's most storied clubs - Manchester United and Manchester City - against one another. Dating back over a century, this clash has a rich history, defined by dramatic moments, iconic players, and intense battles for supremacy on the pitch. In this exploration, we will delve into the depths of this historic rivalry, examining its origins, notable encounters, and key statistics that have shaped the narrative of the Manchester United vs Manchester City match over the years.

When was the first Manchester Derby played and who won the match?

On November 12, 1881, the first Manchester Derby was played between St. Mark's (West Gorton) and Newton Heath, which later became Manchester City and Manchester United, respectively. The match was an important milestone in the history of English football and was played at the Heathens' North Road ground in Manchester. At that time, both teams were amateur sides and the match was a local friendly game. St. Mark's emerged victorious with a score of 3-0, thanks to goals from William Heald, Thomas Davis, and Alf Farman.

Manchester United vs Manchester City: A brief history of the Manchester Derby

After their first match in 1881, during the early years of the Manchester Derby, both the clubs had their share of victories and defeats. The matches were fiercely contested, and the crowds were always loud and enthusiastic. As the rivalry grew stronger, the passion of the fans increased, with every win or loss fuelling their desire to beat the other team.

The first time the teams met in the Football League was in the 1894-95 season, where Newton Heath won 5-2 against Manchester City at Hyde Road. The first-ever match between the clubs at the highest level of English football took place in December 1906, where Manchester City won 3-0 in a First Division match, with the gate receipts exceeding £1,000, a massive amount for that time.

Sir Mat Busby won 15 Manchester Derbies in his career as the head coach of United.  Image | Mirror
Sir Mat Busby won 15 Manchester Derbies in his career as the head coach of United. Image | Mirror

The rivalry reached its peak during the mid to late 20th century, as both Manchester United and Manchester City had their fair share of success in English football. Manchester United, under the legendary management of Sir Matt Busby, won numerous league titles and European trophies, while Manchester City had success of their own, although they had periods of struggle.

The first-ever competitive floodlit derby was the 1956 FA Charity Shield match. Manchester United were defending league champions, and Manchester City were FA Cup holders. It was an unusual game as Charity Shield games were usually played at the home ground of the League Champions. Still, as Old Trafford had not yet installed lights, the game was played at Maine Road.

City won their first honour in 1904, with a victory in the FA Cup, and United won in 1908 with the Football League First Division title. The first Manchester derby following the creation of the Premier League for the 1992-93 season was a 2-1 win for United at Old Trafford on 6 December 1992. Making his United debut on that day was new signing Eric Cantona. Meantime, after few tough seasons, City were relegated to the third tier of English football in 1998 - the first and only time this has happened in their history.

In recent years, the Manchester Derby has become more significant as both clubs have been competing for supremacy in the English Premier League. With star-studded lineups and world-class talent on display, each game has become a must-watch for football fans worldwide.

The rivalry shows no signs of slowing down, with Manchester United and Manchester City pushing each other to achieve greater heights in pursuit of glory. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United won 30 domestic and international titles, and players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, and Ruud van Nistelrooy made a name for themselves in the club.

In 2009, Roberto Mancini took over City and won the League Championship for the first time in 44 years. Pep Guardiola joined the club in the 2016-17 season and helped the team win five Premier League titles in six seasons, along with a treble in the 2022-23 season, where they won their first-ever Champions League title.

Also Read: Barcelona 2008/09 vs Man City 2022/23 – which Pep Guardiola treble team is better?

First Manchester Derby in the Football League and First-Division Football

In the Football League, the two clubs first met in the 1894-95 season, with Newton Heath beating Manchester City 5-2 at Hyde Road. However, it wasn't until December 1906 that the teams met at the highest level of English football in a First Division match, which City won 3-0. This match was a significant one for its era, as the gate receipts exceeded £1,000, a considerable amount at that time.

First Manchester Deby in Premier League

United's Mark Huges celebrating his goal in the first-ever Manchester Derby of Premier League.  Image | Planet Football.
United's Mark Huges celebrating his goal in the first-ever Manchester Derby of Premier League. Image | Planet Football.

The first Manchester derby of the Premier League's 1992-93 season ended in a 2-1 victory for United, who played as the home team at Old Trafford on December 6, 1992. This was also the first game for United's new signing, Eric Cantona, who made his debut on that day.

Most goals in Manchester Derby

Wayne Rooney scored the most goals in Manchester Derby history.  Image - Getty
Wayne Rooney scored the most goals in Manchester Derby history. Image - Getty

Wayne Rooney with 11 goals tops the chart of most goals in Manchester Derby history.

Player Club Goals
Wayne Rooney Manchester United 11
Joe Hayes Manchester City 10
Francis Lee Manchester City 10
Sergio Agüero Manchester City 9
Bobby Charlton Manchester United 9
Colin Bell Manchester City 8
Eric Cantona Manchester United 8
Brian Kidd "Manchester United (5)

Manchester City (3)"
8
Joe Spence Manchester United 8
Paul Scholes Manchester United 7
Dennis Viollet Manchester United 7

Most matches in Manchester United vs Manchester City games

Ryan Gigs with 37 appearances holds the record for playing the most Manchester Derbies.

Apps Player Club
37 Ryan Giggs Manchester United F.C
28 David de Gea Manchester United F.C
27 Bobby Charlton Manchester United F.C
26 Joe Corrigan Manchester City F.C
Paul Scholes Manchester United F.C
25 Alan Oakes Manchester City F.C
25 Wayne Rooney Manchester United F.C
24 Mike Doyle Manchester City F.C
Vincent Kompany Manchester City F.C
Alex Stepney Manchester United F.C
Rio Ferdinand Manchester United F.C

Hat-tricks in Manchester Derby

Erling Haaland and Phil Foden after scoring hat-tricks against United.
Erling Haaland and Phil Foden after scoring hat-tricks against United.

Till now only 8 players have scored a hat-trick inofficial Manchester Derbies. Phil Foden and Erling Haaland are the latest players to score a hat-trick in the United vs City battle.

Player For Score Date Competition Stadium
Dick Smith Manchester United 2-5 (A) 3 November 1894 1894–95 Football League Second Division Hyde Road
Horace Barnes Manchester City 4-1 (H) 22 October 1921 1921–22 Football League First Division Hyde Road
Joe Spence Manchester United 3-1 (H) 29 October 1921 1921–22 Football League First Division Old Trafford
Alex Dawson Manchester United 5-1 (H) 21 December 1960 1960–61 Football League First Division Old Trafford
Francis Lee Manchester City 1–4 (A) 12 December 1970 1970–71 Football League First Division Old Trafford
Andrei Kanchelskis Manchester United 5–0 (H) 10 November 1994 1994–95 FA Premier League Old Trafford
Erling Haaland Manchester City 6–3 (H) 2 October 2022 2022–23 Premier League City of Manchester Stadium
Phil Foden Manchester City 6–3 (H) 2 October 2022 2022–23 Premier League City of Manchester Stadium

Most consecutive wins by a team in the Manchester Derby

United still hold the record for the most consecutive wins against Manchester City during their dominating era of late 2000th century.

Games Club Period
8 Manchester United F.C 7 November 1993 – 18 November 2000
5 Manchester United F.C 31 December 1955 – 31 August 1957
4 Manchester City F.C 25 September 1954 – 3 September 1955
4 Manchester United F.C 31 December 1960 – 10 February 1962
4 Manchester City F.C 8 April 2013 – 2 November 2014

Most wins by managers in Manchester Derby

Rank Manager Club Period Wins
1 Alex Ferguson Manchester United F.C 1986–2013 26
2 Matt Busby Manchester United F.C 1945-1969 15
3 Pep Guardiola Manchester City F.C 2016- 11
4 Les McDowall Manchester City F.C 1950-1963 8

Biggest win margin

Winning margin Result Date Competition
5 United 1–6 City 23 January 1926 Football League First Division
United F.C 0-5 City 12 February 1955 Football League First Division
United F.C 5-0 City 10 November 1994 Premier League
United F.C 1–6 City 23 October 2011 Premier League

Manchester United vs Manchester City head-to-head stats

Till now there have been 191 official games between Manchester United and Manchester City. City won 60 games while United won 78 games. In the Premier League era, United won 25 times while City won 19 times.

Competition Matches City Draw United City goals United goals
Premier League 53 19 9 25 77 76
Football League First Division 104 30 39 35 147 141
Football League Second Division 12 2 4 6 13 21
FA Cup 10 4 0 6 14 19
EFL Cup 10 5 1 4 16 11
FA Community Shield 2 0 0 2 2 4
Total 191 60 53 78 269 272

Manchester United vs Manchester City: Trophy battle

City won their first trophy with FA Cup in 1904, while United claimed their first triumph in 1908 by winning the Football League First Division title. Over the years, there have been five instances where City and United have stood as champions and runners-up in the league. The rivalry has also manifested in seven intense semi-final clashes. United boasts a more illustrious record in terms of overall titles, securing 67 trophies compared to City's 34.

Manchester City Manchester United
League 9 20
FA Cup 7 12
League Cup 8 6
"Community

Shield"
6 21*
"Champions

League"
1 3
Europa League 0 1
Cup Winners' Cup 1 1
Super Cup 1 1
"Intercontinental

Cup"
0 1
"Club

World Cup"
1 1
Total 34 67

*United's 21 Community Shields include 4 shared titles as well.

Note: All the stats are accurate as of 2nd March, 2024.

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Manchester United Cristiano Ronaldo Premier League Manchester City Pep Guardiola Erling Haaland Erik Ten Hag Alex Ferguson Premier League 2023-24 Phil Foden