Derby Day Classics: Van Persie wins dramatic encounter

Robin van Persie's injury-time free kick earned United the bragging rights in Manchester around five years ago.

Derby Day Classics: Van Persie wins dramatic encounter
van Persie celebrates his winner | Photo via Getty Images / Clive Mason

With the first Manchester derby of 2017/18 just around the corner, we recall one of the best contests of recent memories - the day a certain Dutchman silenced the Etihad Stadium (spoiler - it's not van Gaal!)

Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United

The game, played five years and a day ago, was the first since Manchester City had snatched the league title from Manchester United in the dying seconds of the previous campaign to claim their first Premier League triumph. Although, it was United who led England's top division by three points going into the game. It was a fiery, dramatic and fast-paced encounter, nothing you wouldn't expect when these two go head to head.

Wayne Rooney recorded a double in the first half to give United (what looked to be) a comfortable lead going into half time. City hit back though after the interval, with Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure levelling the score before the moment of the match occurred in injury-time.

 

"What a game! It was a vital win and a vital goal. It wasn't just three points... this was massive!"

Those are the words of Robin van Persie, the man who would go on to become the central figure in United's last title-winning team, summing up perfectly the feeling you get by winning a Manchester derby.

After being chased by City throughout the summer transfer window whilst still at Arsenal, United's then number 20 dampened the mood of Roberto Mancini further, inflicting misery upon the Blue side of Manchester with almost the last kick of the game.

Van Persie's free kick, which got a flick off Samir Nasri in the City wall, evaded the stretching fingers of Joe Hart to inflict City's first Premier League defeat at home for two years.

The winning goal, which enhanced United's lead at the top of the table to six points, was blemished by detestable scenes as, whilst United celebrated regaining their lead, centre-back Rio Ferdinand was struck above the eye by a coin tossed by a City fan. If anything, it demonstrated the common hatred spread across the two sets of teams.

 

How does Sunday's derby compare?

Sunday's upcoming game at Old Trafford represents possibly the most eagerly anticipated fixture between Manchester City and Manchester United since the game in 2012. With City currently sitting comfortably over the rest of the Premier League sides, it's up to United as the closest challengers to dent their noisy neighbors form and stake a claim for the title.

Not only does the geographical rivalry make this game one of the most spoken about, but with Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola's feud (even with the misleading image above suggesting otherwise), surely neither manager will want to lose this game which is sure to be worth the wait.