Manchester United v Manchester City: Biggest Wins & Other Records

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Manchester City outplayed their Manchester rivals United on 29th October 2023 as they won 3-0 at Old Trafford. Given that City had 21 shots (to United’s seven!), it could have been a lot worse for Erik ten Hag and his struggling team.

Winning 3-0 in any Premier League match is impressive enough but in a derby it feels particularly sweet, but it was not the greatest margin of victory in a Manchester derby. In this article, we’ll reveal the biggest derby wins for United and City and we’ll take a look at various other Manchester derby stats and records, beginning with how the sides have performed against one another in the Premier League.

Premier League Manchester Derbies

Despite their recent dominance in the Premier League (not least in terms of winning the title), when it comes to Manchester derbies, the Citizens haven’t always had it their own way. In fact, of the 53 Premier League matches between the sides, it is United who are significantly ahead… though perhaps not for too much longer.

Chart That Shows the Result of Premier League Manchester Derbies up to November 2023

Interestingly, Manchester City did not achieve a Premier League victory over Manchester United until 9th November 2002, though it ought to be remembered that City spent five seasons away from the top flight prior to that. Still, Man United’s early Premier League supremacy over City is still being felt in the stats as they have got six more EPL derby victories on the board than the Citizens.

The tables have turned somewhat in recent years, with City having won five of the last eight league matches at Old Trafford… but, perhaps surprisingly, the Red Devils have often held their own at the Etihad and have won three of the last six league matches between the sides there.

Despite being behind in terms of the number of Premier League derby wins, City’s most recent triumph allowed them to edge ahead of United when it comes to the number of derby goals scored (City now have 77 to United’s 76 in Premier League derbies). City are also ahead when it comes to derby bookings in the Premier League (with 109 to 96), though United have had seven red cards to just a single one for City.

Biggest Manchester Derby Victories

The first official league fixture between the sides, way back on 3rd November 1894, was one of the highest-scoring games ever between the local rivals as United won 5-2 away at City (who then played at Hyde Road). There were almost as many goals scored in a match between them even earlier than that in their first FA Cup meeting on 3rd October 1891 when United once again prevailed, this time 5-1 at home (then North Road). There have been several occasions, however, when one or other of the sides has won by a five-goal margin (though never any more than that).

Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City – 23rd January 1926, Old Trafford (First Division)
Manchester United 0-5 Manchester City – 12th February 1955, Old Trafford (First Division)
Manchester United 5-0 Manchester City – 10th November 1994, Old Trafford (Premier League)
Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City – 23rd October 2011, Old Trafford (Premier League)

It’s interesting to note that all the biggest wins came at Old Trafford and perhaps rather surprising that three of the four went the way of City. The most recent derby in which either side scored five or more goals was Man City’s incredible 6-3 triumph over United at the Etihad on 2nd October 2022. No competitive match between the sides has produced more than the nine goals witnessed that day.

Top Goalscorers in Manchester Derbies

Player
Club(s)
Goals
Wayne Rooney
United
11
Joe Hayes
City
10
Francis Lee
City
10
Sergi Aguero
City
9
Bobby Charlton
United
9
Colin Bell
City
8
Eric Cantona
United
8
Brian Kidd
United & City
8
Joe Spence
United
8
Paul Scholes
United
7
Dennis Viollet
United
7
Carlos Tevez
United & City
6

It will come as no great surprise that Manchester United’s all-time top goalscorer – Wayne Rooney – also tops the list of the number of goals scored in Manchester derbies. City duo Joe Hayes and Francis Lee are the only others to make it to double figures in derbies, while a more recent City star, Sergio Aguero, is tied on nine derby goals with United and England legend Sir Bobby Charlton. Two of the top 12 Manchester derby goalscorers split their goals between the two sides, with Brian Kidds scoring five for United and three for City and Carlos Tevez netting just one for United but five for City.

Of those featured in the table above, only Francis Lee managed to score a derby hat-trick (in a 4-1 triumph over United on 12th December 1970 at Old Trafford). Only seven others have scored hat-tricks in Manchester derbies, including – most recently – both Phil Foden and Erling Haaland in City’s famous 6-3 hammering of United that we mentioned earlier. It is surely only a matter of time before Haaland climbs the above list (he’s currently on five derby goals) and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him top it in due course. Or perhaps next season at the rate he’s going.

Players Who’ve Played for Manchester United and Manchester City

There have been 39 players to date who have played competitively for both Manchester clubs. Many of these plied their trade in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. There have been some big names who’ve appeared for both clubs, including the following:

Denis Law
Brian Kidd
Sammy McIlroy
Andrei Kanchelskis
Peter Schmeichel
Andy Cole
Carlos Tevez

Managers Who Have Played For or Managed Both Clubs

When it comes to managers, it’s worth noting that one of the greatest of all time, Sir Matt Busby, made more than 200 appearances for Manchester City… and more than 100 for United’s other big rival, Liverpool!

Matt Busby and Sam Cowan of Manchester City pic.twitter.com/vqUyH7MYFu

— The League Magazine (@Theleaguemag) July 15, 2017

Meanwhile, both Mark Hughes and Steve Coppell played for Manchester United before going on to manage Manchester City. There has only ever been one man who has managed both sides, namely the rather dapper James Ernest Mangnall. He took charge of United from 1903 to 1912, during which time he guided United to their first two league titles (in 1907/08 and 1910/11) and their first FA Cup (1908/09). He then marched across town to manage Man City (from 1912 to 1924)… and won diddly squat.

Author: Raymond Sanchez