Flashback: Top five Manchester derbies – Man United vs. Man City

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It’s derby day in Manchester, and you can watch Manchester United host Manchester City in the 167th Manchester Derby live on NBCSN from 3 p.m. ET and online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

But if you need a little something to whet your appetite before then, here’s a look back at five memorable Manchester derbies from the Premier League era.

In the last 20 plus years we’ve been treated to some stunning matches, as the Red and Blue halves of Manchester try to dominate the metropolis in Northern England. Earlier this season City hammered United 4-1 in a demolition job at the Etihad Stadium, so the Reds will be looking to avenge that humbling as bragging right have been with the Blue half of Manchester since September.

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Head-to-head it couldn’t get much closer looking back at the games which have taken place at Old Trafford. Man United have won six, Man City have won seven, while their have been three draws.

So, City have the slight edge heading into this match, but let’s take a look at how some of the most famous derbies of the past two decades played out.

Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United – December 9, 2013

On the way to winning the Premier League title in 2013, Manchester United secured a pivotal win away at the then reigning champions, City after letting a 2-0 lead slip. Robin van Persie sent the away end into raptures, as his last-gasp free kick deflected off Samir Nasri and beat Joe Hart to hand the Red Devils a late, late win. Fergie time indeed. A young City fan tried to get on the pitch and attack United’s players, but luckily Hart was on hand to give him a right good telling off and defuse the situation. Fiery, goals galore, inspiring comebacks and late drama, this had it all.

Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City – October 23, 2011

This match will always be remembered for Mario Balotelli’s celebration. When he scored the eccentric Italian lifted up his shirt to reveal a message stating “Why always me?” Priceless. What was also invaluable was the momentum Roberto Mancini’s City side gained from this record 6-1 win as they used it to surge towards their first-ever PL title, which they eventually won on the final day in the last minute to stop, who else, United from lifting the crown. It remains the Red Devils’ heaviest home defeat since 1955.

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City – February 1, 2011

Wayne Rooney wrote himself into derby folklore with one of the best goals ever scored in the Premier League era. A cross from Nani on the right found Rooney, who jumped up and swiveled to smash home a bicycle kick in the 77th minute to seal a crucial win in the title race. United went on to win the league that year, and after a strong start in that derby for City, Rooney’s wondergoal was deemed as the turning point in United’s campaign.

Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City – September 20, 2009

Michael Owen didn’t do too much in his injury-hit spell with Manchester United, but that doesn’t matter… who scored a winner in the derby. The former England international popped up in the 94th minute to seal a spectacular comeback for the home side, as Sir Alex Ferguson called it “the best derby of all time”… it was hard to disagree. What a game. Rooney put United ahead early on, but then former United striker Carlos Tevez leveled for City, before Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy both scored to make it 2-2. Fletcher then scored again to make it 3-2 to the home side, but Bellamy popped up in the final minute to make it 3-3. However Owen had the last laugh, as his calm finish sent over 70,000 fans wild.

Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United – March 14, 2004

One of the unluckiest derby wins in recent history, as City had only just been promoted back to the Premier League and United’s team was far superior to their neighbors. But Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jon Macken, Robbie Fowler and Trevor Sinclair were all on target to dispatch a poor United team who were in transition as Arsenal continued to dominate the Premier League. Sweet victory for City’s long suffering fans, as the start of a new era at Eastlands was still a few years away.

LVG would only return to club football to get at Man Utd

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Leave it to The Daily Mirror to find that last bit of juice when it comes to Manchester United and former manager Louis Van Gaal.

Well, probably the last bit.

The Dutch manager said he does not expect to return to club football, unless one of the big boys in the Premier League offered him the chance to take a run at United. The Red Devils, of course, fired him shortly after an FA Cup title in order to hire Jose Mourinho.

[ MORE: WBA 1-2 Man Utd | Bournemouth 0-4 Liverpool ]

From The Mirror, quoting LVG at a Sunday night function in Rotterdam.

“I will probably not manage a club anymore,” Van Gaal said. “I would make one exception: If a big English club comes for me, than I would do it. Because then I can get the chance to get one over on Manchester United.’’

Could you see him getting a run at any of the Top Four contenders, even on a caretaker basis? Could Liverpool come calling if they tired of Jurgen Klopp one season, or might Arsenal or even Everton need a stopgap (should the Toffees spending come good)?

Suspended Villar says Spain in danger of missing World Cup

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The suspended president of the Spanish soccer federation, who is under investigation for corruption, tried Monday to stoke up fears that the country could be kicked out of the World Cup because of government interference.

Angel Maria Villar, who is free on bail, spoke at a news conference in Madrid and again denied any wrongdoing. He also blamed the government for meddling in the federation’s affairs by suspending him.

“This government is putting Spain’s participation in the World Cup at risk,” the 67-year-old Villar said in his first news conference since being arrested in July along with his son, Gorka Villar, and two other officials.

[ BLANC: I turned down USMNT talks ]

“The risk is serious,” Villar said. “The only party responsible for Spain not going to the World Cup will be the Spanish government.”

Villar spoke three days after FIFA said it was concerned about the independence of the Spanish soccer federation and that it would soon send a delegation to analyze the situation. FIFA made no mention of a possible suspension of the federation, which could keep Spain out of next year’s World Cup in Russia or even knock Real Madrid and Barcelona out of the Champions League.

Villar, who has spent time behind bars to impede the possible destruction of evidence, and the other three officials are being investigated for alleged improper management, misappropriation of funds, corruption and falsifying documents.

Villar resigned his vice presidencies of both FIFA and UEFA following his arrest. But he tried to stay on as the head of Spanish federation, a post he held for three decades.

His refusal to listen to pleas for him to step down led the Spanish government to suspend him from the post for one year pending the outcome of the investigation. Court documents allege that besides misappropriated funds, Villar is suspected of corrupting several regional federations by offering favors in exchange for votes.

Villar fired back at the government, saying his suspension had broken FIFA rules since it represented interference in the federation’s management.

“It’s easy to see that the source of concern was my arbitrary and unjustified removal from the presidency of the federation and for not respecting the presumption of innocence,” Villar said, adding that other teams are ready to take Spain’s place at the World Cup.

“Be careful. There are other powerful countries that didn’t qualify like Italy that are waiting to pounce and take our place,” Villar said.

Spain, which won the World Cup in 2010, is considered to be among the favorites for next year’s tournament.

Blanc: I turned down USMNT talks

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U.S. Soccer has not been inactive when it comes to the USMNT coaching search, despite its uncertainty with an impending presidential election.

Le Parisien has an interview with Laurent Blanc in which the ex-Bordeaux, France, and Paris Saint-Germain boss says he was approached by the United States Soccer Federation, but was not interested in the gig.

[ MORE: Making sense of the PL table ]

Blanc said an international job would have to touch his roots, and he’s most certainly not American. The tall 52-year-old had a glittering playing career with Saint-Etienne, Barcelona, Marseille, Inter Milan, and Manchester United amongst other stops.

More important, it shows that Sunil Gulati and his men have to some degree moved forward with keeping their imprint on the national team.

That’s a little worrying on any team: A hierarchy that may not be around much longer may be working to fill a position arguably more important than its own. It’d be nice to have them commit to not hiring anyone until after February’s election.

Premier League Preview: Everton vs. Swansea City

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  • Everton leads all-time 15W-9D-3L
  • BUT Swans unbeaten in 7 vs. Toffees
  • Toffees go ninth with win
  • Swans four back of safety

Everton hopes its up-turn in form can end three seasons of futility against visiting Swansea City when the two sides meet at Goodison Park on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

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Gylfi Sigurdsson gets a chance to face his former club for the first time, while longtime Swans man Ashley Williams may also feature for Sam Allardyce.

Swansea has no time to focus on the past, as Paul Clement‘s men sit deep in the drop zone. The last place Swans are four points shy of safety.

What they’re saying

Everton’s Ashley Williams on facing his former club (again)“The game is a little bit more important to me, I would be lying I said it wasn’t. You always want to play against your old teams and it’s a fixture you always look for.  I have been looking forward to this one and it will be nice to see old faces and old friends. It is a game we want to win and to keep a clean sheet in, especially at home, in order to keep our momentum going.”

Swansea City’s Roque Mesa on the match“This is a massive game for us. We need to pick up points because we are bottom and we need to improve our position. Everton have a new manager and their players have done very well under him – you can see their confidence has grown since he joined. But we did well against West Brom and picked up three points, which was very important. Then we faced Manchester City and they proved too good for us. They are the best team in the league, and unfortunately, we couldn’t match them on the night.”

Prediction

Swans need to move past that Man City loss and build on a 1-0 win over West Brom a few days previous. That may not be possible at Goodison, and the Welsh side would be thrilled to escape with a draw. It seems unlikely. Everton 2-1.