Only weeks ago, Manchester City had their title ambitions written off by practically every football pundit in the land, as well as their own manager. However, with just three games left of the current season, they have crept back into title race. They face their neighbours Manchester United tonight, in a fixture being heralded as the title decider – if City slip up against United, the trophy will, in all likelihood, go to Old Trafford.
Down the years, there have been many great battles between the red and blue halves of Manchester, and the Guardian's coverage of these encounters still makes for fascinating reading. Here we pick five match reports, starting with a fine win for Manchester City.
12 February 1955: Manchester United 0-5 Manchester City
A harsh lesson for the Busby Babes as they failed to cope with the "Revie Plan". The Manchester City forward, and future England manager, Don Revie, sat deep and controlled the game, his team scoring almost at will.
6 November 1971: Manchester City 3-3 Manchester United
A strong police presence kept rival fans apart, but a largely well behaved crowd enjoyed a thrilling 3-3 draw and the spectacle of George Best and Francis Lee squabbling over who was the biggest diver.
27 April 1974: Manchester United 0 Manchester City 1
A result that most reds would prefer to forget. Already plunged into a relegation scrap and feeling jittery, the last thing United needed was a derby encounter. In a tight match, it was their former idol, Denis Law who scored with a backheel to put City in front. Some United fans ran on to the pitch, whilst others lit small fires in the Stretford End using toilet paper and programmes. The game was restarted and the result stood; so did United's relegation.
10 November 1994: Manchester United 5 Manchester City 0
Manchester United claimed bragging rights over City with this emphatic win in front of their own fans. Eric Cantona was at his most imperious and helped Andrei Kanchelskis to score a memorable hat-trick.
20 September 2009: Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City
For the first time in years City had money to spend, putting them in a better position to compete with their fiercest rivals. The game itself didn't disappoint, and both teams had scored three each as full-time beckoned. The stage was set for a derby day hero, and Michael Owen delighted United fans with a fine finish deep into added time.