Everyone loves thrilling matches. And good rivalries produce great matches. It’s exactly what pulls in the mass, the people and the media. These games create indelible moments in a fan’s life while a lifelong misery in the other. Over the years, the top tier of English football has witnessed some of the fiercest rivalries in world football.
In this article, we focus on the new big boys of the Premier League, Manchester City. City notably played derbies against Manchester United back in the days but since the club’s resurgence to power in the English League, rivalries against the top sides were inevitable.
Manchester City’s domestic success of late has seen the team compete against the big clubs in the Premier League along the way. Be it Roy Keane’s whip at Alf-Inge Haaland in the Manchester Derby or Aguero’s nasty lunge at David Luiz in 2017, the blue side of Manchester has had quite a bit of intense rivalries in the archives. Here’s a look at some of the most hated rivals of Manchester City.
[nextpage title=”1″ ]
Not a hot derby but surely a mouth-watering encounter to watch as Manchester City caused quite a few problems for Arsene Wenger back in the days. Arsenal remained unbeaten against City in the Premier League till 2006 but after Sheikh Mansour’s takeover, things got worse for the Gunners as Wenger managed to win just twice at the Etihad ever since. The first match between Arsenal and City was played on 11th November, 1893 which the Blues lost 1-0.
Head-to-head: Played- 197 (all competitions)
Arsenal win- 96
City win- 56
One of the most heated ties between the two teams took place in 2009 in which Emmanuel Adebayor ran the full pitch to celebrate his goal and rile up the traveling Arsenal fans. The forward had recently switched clubs which caused quite a bit of outrage against the Togo international.
In December 2013, the two played out a 9-goal thriller where Pellegrini’s City emerged 6-3 victorious at the Etihad. Now with Mikel Arteta leaving Pep’s camp to join Arsenal as their head coach after the departure of Unai Emery, the future games promise to create many more enjoyable encounters between the two.
Most recent result– Arsenal 0-3 Man City (PL, 15 December 2019; de Bruyne 2’ 40’, Sterling 15’)
Notable players to have played for both the clubs– Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, Bacary Sagna, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Patrick Vieira
Manchester City’s run against Chelsea is not that good, they have lost 25 times against the Londoners, their highest against a single Premier League opponent. Chelsea won the league under Antonio Conte during Pep’s first season at Manchester, who succeeded in doing the double over the Catalan for the first time in the latter’s career. The two outfits met for the first time on 7th December, 1907 which finished in a 2-2 draw at the Stamford Bridge.
Head-to-head: Played- 164 (all competitions)
Chelsea win- 67
City win- 58
Sergio Aguero has netted the most league goals against Chelsea than any other player in the league’s history (10).
There has been a number of high-intensity matches between the two since City came into power.
On 27th February 2010, City defender Wayne Bridge denied shaking John Terry’s hand before kickoff over allegations about Terry’s relationship with Bridge’s ex-partner which was all over the media. The game ended 2-4 as Chelsea lost their first home match in that campaign.
Another unforgettable match was the 6-0 defeat of Chelsea at the Etihad as the visitors were left in shambles who were four goals down within 25 minutes as Sergio Aguero recorded a hattrick equaling Alan Shearer’s count.
Most recent result– Man City 2-1 Chelsea (PL, 23 November 2019; Kante 21’/ de Bruyne 29’, Mahrez 37’)
Notable players to have played for both the clubs– Frank Lampard, Shawn Wright-Phillips, Willy Caballero, Kevin de Bruyne, Nicolas Anelka, Daniel Sturridge
[nextpage title=”2″ ]
3. Tottenham Hotspur
After the takeover in 2009, with City focusing to play regular European football found themselves competing against the likes of a consistent Tottenham team to secure a Champions League spot every year. While Tottenham were usually the dominant force before the 2000s, City steadied their course throughout the years.
Since the arrival of Jose Mourinho at Tottenham in 2019 to restart his managerial career, the tie looks crunch as ever with his arch-nemesis Guardiola in the opposition dugout. Spurs’ former manager Pochettino has quite a bit of history with Pep too, being regarded as “Anti-Guardiola” in the press while at Espanyol for his ability to think through the Barcelona defense.
Head-to-head: Played- 161 (all competitions)
Spurs win- 62
City win- 63
The two faced off in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2019 where VAR stopped Pep’s party as Sterling’s late strike was disallowed in the second leg which allowed Spurs to win 4-4 on away goals.
Tottenham was also successful in handing Guardiola his first league defeat as the City boss back in October 2016 where a disciplined Spurs side won 2-0 at the White Hart Lane.
Spurs also made a dent on City’s fight to retain the league title for the second time in 2019 as Mourinho recorded his first win as Spurs boss against City, winning 2-0 at home. Now with the ‘Special One’ as the Spurs manager, one can only expect thrillers when the two sides next meet.
Most recent result– Spurs 2-0 Man City (PL, 2 February 2020; Bergwijn 63’, Son 71’)
Notable players to have played for both the clubs– Kyle Walker, Emmanuel Adebayor, Vedran Corluka, Paul Stewart.
City’s rivalry with Liverpool, also known as the M6 derby, intensified when Pep Guardiola arrived at the helm in 2016. Both the managers had successful stints in Germany as Klopp’s Dortmund put on fierce title races against Pep’s Bayern Munich. Guardiola has the worst winning run against Jurgen Klopp, losing 9 out of 18 matches against the German.
The first ever encounter between the two clubs took place on 1st January, 1896 with the Reds emerging 3-1 victorious over the Blues.
Head-to-head: Played- 182 (all competitions)
Liverpool win- 88
City win- 48
The rivalry ripened after City went winless against Liverpool in Guardiola’s inaugural season where the Blues finished 3rd in the league table, 2 points above the Reds. This faceoff became a highly contested tie owing to the attacking ideologies of both the managers.
The next year saw City thump Liverpool 5-0 at the Etihad which saw Sadio Mane being sent off after his high kick to receive the ball caught City goalie Ederson on the face in the first half. The return leg was another enthralling match which ended 4-3 in favor of the Reds.
The two met in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2018 where Klopp ran riot over Guardiola winning both the legs with an aggregate score of 5-1.
Most recent result– Liverpool 3-1 Man City (PL, 10 November 2019; Fabinho 6’, Salah 13’, Mane 51’/ Bernardo 78’)
Notable players to have played for both the clubs– Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Dietmar Hamann, Daniel Sturridge, David James, Kolo Toure, Nicolas Anelka, Mario Balotelli
[nextpage title=”3″ ]
1. Manchester United
Taunted as the ‘Noisy Neighbors’ by Sir Alex Ferguson, it’s pretty self-explanatory why the red side of Manchester absolutely disgusts the blue side. The bragging rights are at stake as the Manchester Derby is that one match United fans hope they don’t lose. The first derby took place in 1881 which United (then Newtown Health) won 3-0.
Head-to-head: Played- 182 (all competitions)
United win- 76
City win- 54
The top goal scorer in this encounter is Wayne Rooney with 11 goals while City front-man Sergio Aguero is slightly behind with 9 goals.
Some of the most memorable Manchester derbies include the 6-1 thrashing of United at the Old Trafford which is infamously remembered where Mario Balotelli displayed his ‘Why Always Me?’ vest while Yaya Toure’s match-winning strike against the Reds in the FA Cup semi-final in 2011 still feels sour in United minds.
Wayne Rooney’s outrageous bicycle kick goal against City in February 2011, which the striker feels was his most important goal ever turned the Old Trafford alit as the Reds registered a vital victory over the Blues on their course to win the Premiership.
In 2020, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became only the third manager to do a league double over Guardiola.
Most recent result– Man Utd 2-0 Man City (PL, 8 February 2020; Martial 30’, McTominay 90+6’)
Notable players to have played for both the clubs– Denis Law, Peter Schmeichel, Andy Cole, Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves