Ten memorable Manchester derby debuts: Van Persie, Aguero, Owen…

Date published: Friday 9th September 2016 1:19

Robin van Persie: Striker hit dramatic winner on derby bow

Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, John Stones and Claudio Bravo are among the players expected to experience their first Manchester derby this weekend. We take a look at ten memorable derby debuts.


Sergio Aguero – October 2011

Sergio Aguero

As far as Manchester derby debuts go, they can’t get much better than Sergio Aguero’s. After already bagging nine goals in his first 10 appearances for City, the striker hit the third goal in the famous 6-1 victory at Old Trafford to seal his place in supporters’ hearts. Aguero is now joint-fifth of the list of top scorers in the derby, providing Pep Guardiola with a huge headache as to what to do in the Argentine’s absence on Saturday.


Patrice Evra – January 2016

Patrice Evra

One to remember for all the wrong reasons. Patrice Evra’s Manchester derby debut coincided with his United bow, having only joined the club in a £5.5million deal from Monaco four days earlier. With City leading 1-0 at the Etihad, Evra was replaced by Alan Smith at half-time. The left-back’s withdrawal did not make much difference though as United went on to lose 3-1, with Cristiano Ronaldo receiving a red card. Sir Alex Ferguson later admitted it was a gamble to select the Frenchman.


Marcus Rashford – March 2016

Marcus Rashford

As the clamour for Jose Mourinho to start Marcus Rashford begins to reach fever pitch in some quarters, it’s hard to forget that the teenage prodigy already has history in this fixture. In only his eighth appearance for United, the 18-year-old coolly collected the ball just outside City’s box, made an utter fool of Martin Demichelis and finished with ease past Joe Hart to net the only goal in a 1-0 win at the Etihad.


Nicolas Anelka – November 2002

Nicolas Anelka

It only took ‘Le Sulk’ four minutes to make City fans smile in the last ever derby to be played at Maine Road, robbing the ball from Rio Ferdinand before firing home after Fabien Barthez had spilled Shaun Goater’s shot. Goater went on to score twice himself as City – back in the top flight for good after their late-90’s/early-00’s spell yo-yoing between divisions – ran out 3-1 victors.


Roy Keane – November 1993

Roy Keane

Niall Quinn had put City 2-0 up at Maine Road, but two second-half goals from King Cantona had drawn the visitors level. With only three minutes of normal time remaining, Roy Keane, who had joined the Red Devils from Nottingham Forest in the summer, stepped up to bag the winner, arriving late at the back post to finish with aplomb.


Benjani Mwaruwari – February 2008

Benjani Mwaruwari

Benjani may have only scored seven goals for City, but his first – which came only five days after joining the club following a somewhat bizarre transfer saga with Portsmouth – forever endeared him with their fans. In a clash which marked the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, City took home all the spoils from Old Trafford with Benjani scoring the second in a 2-1 win, courtesy of a cute glancing header.


Robin van Persie – December 2012

Robin van Persie

The catalyst for Sir Alex Ferguson’s final – and United’s most recent – title victory, things could have been so different had City managed to land Robin van Persie from Arsenal ahead of their fierce rivals in the summer of 2012. Instead, the striker secured a dramatic 3-2 win at the Etihad with a free-kick deep into stoppage time.


Geovanni – August 2007


Thaksin Shinawatra’s brief ownership of City saw a strange amalgamation of characters, with the glamour of Sven Goran Eriksson, Elano and Geovanni meeting the likes of Paul Dickov, Darius Vassell and Georgios Samaras. Geovanni would spend only one season at the Etihad, scoring three times and starting only two of 19 Premier League appearances. However, the Brazilian marked his first start and only derby appearance with a long-distance strike to secure a 1-0 win.


Andy Cole – February 1995

Andy Cole

United may have ended the 1994/95 season without a trophy, but one consolation was the fact they did finish the campaign with an aggregate scoreline of 8-0 from two matches against City. After joining the Red Devils halfway through the season for a British-record £6million transfer, Andy Cole – who later went on to turn out for City – added the third in a 3-0 victory at Maine Road.


Michael Owen – September 2009

Michael Owen

He may have preferred to join Liverpool, but Michael Owen will go down in United folklore having scored the famous winner in a classic derby, which Sir Alex Ferguson described as the “best” of all time. With the scores locked at 3-3 following Craig Bellamy’s dramatic 90th-minute equaliser, Owen latched on to Ryan Giggs’ eye-of-the-needle pass and displayed the predatory instincts of his youth to find a winner in the sixth minute of added time. Cue rapturous celebrations at Old Trafford.


What are your favourite Manchester derby memories? Have your say below…

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