Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Classic derby moments

It may not have escaped your attention that this weekend plays host to a number of mouth-watering derby games. In recent years, Sky’s Super (must-view-mega-grand-slam) Sunday’s have tended to put all the big games on one day and Sunday is no different, with no fewer than three derbies to wet the appetite.

Such is the importance of Spurs v Man Utd, the sub-plot to the David Beckham: will-he-won’t he sign for Harry circus, the Tyne-Wear derby has been cast aside, playing fourth fiddle in a day that also sees the Second City and Merseyside derbies.

To get us all in the mood, here are ten top derbies from bygone years.

  1. Everton 4-4 Liverpool, FA Cup Fifth-round replay, 20 February 1991

Evertonians have this week joked it took two games to get rid of King Kenny last time while now it’ll only take one. The two games they refer to include this gem from Goodison, where Everton levelled the game no fewer than four times. Dalglish has been quoted in saying: “recalling the see-saw sequence of that match is distressing. Liverpool kept taking the lead but Everton kept equalising. It was like watching a car crash and not knowing which emergency service to call first.”

  1. Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City, Premier League, 20 September 2009

City levelled this contest three times, and when Craig Bellamy picked Rio Ferdinand’s pocket in stoppage time to make it 3-3, surely that was it. United’s old-guard had other ideas, however, and when Ryan Giggs picked out Michael Owen with a delightful through-ball in the sixth minute of injury time, Owen rolled back the years to steal all three points for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.

  1. Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, Premier League, 29 October 2008

This game will be remembered for a number things: David Bentley scoring an outrageous volley to open the scoring from 50 yards, Darren Bent netting for Spurs, and Aaron Lennon’s dramatic injury-time leveller. Arsenal were 4-2 up heading into the 89th minute of Harry Redknapp’s first official game in charge, but Jermaine Jenas made it 4-3 before Lennon tapped home the rebound from Luka Modric’s effort that crashed back off the post. Cue carnage in the half-deserted away end. 

  1. Everton 2-3 Liverpool, Premier League, 16 April 2001

A game that quite possibly had everything. Five goals, a sending off, 12 yellow cards, a missed penalty, a converted penalty, an Emile Heskey goal and an injury-time winner. Heskey put the Reds ahead early on, but talisman Duncan Ferguson levelled on the stroke of half time. Markus Babbel restored Liverpool’s advantage before Robbie Fowler missed a penalty, striking against the post. Everton equalised when David Unsworth typically crashed home his effort from twelve yards, but there was to be one final twist in the tail. Look out for where Gregory Vigal is tripped to where Garry McAllister takes, and scores, the free kick.

  1. Chelsea 2-3 Arsenal, Premier League, 23 October 1999

“It’s Kanu, what’s he gonna do?!” shrieks Martin Tyler as the Nigerian curls in an improbable goal from the acutest of angles to score his and his side’s third goal. Tore Andre Flo and Dan Petrescu, names that will resonate with avid Merlin sticker album collectors, put Chelsea 2-0 up. But the magician had other ideas and scored a 15-minute hat-trick to steal all three points. (“Kanu believe it?” was also bellowed by Tyler in this sequence).

  1. Liverpool 3-2 Everton, FA Cup final, 20 May 1989

At a time when Britain was mourning the 96 who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster, perhaps it was fitting the two Merseyside clubs contested the Final. And contest it they did, in one of Wembley’s most dramatic encounters. Liverpool took an early lead through John Aldridge and it was not until injury time that Stuart McCall equalised for the Toffees. Five minutes into extra time, Ian Rush retook the lead, only for McCall to level once more with a stunning volley. Rush and Liverpool had the last laugh though, and just as he did in the 1986 Merseyside derby final, he grabbed a second to give Liverpool their fourth FA Cup triumph.

7.  Manchester United 0-1 Manchester City, Old First Division, 27 April 1974

In United’s last game of the 1973–74 season, they needed to beat their city rivals at Old Trafford to stand any chance of remaining in the top flight. United legend Denis Law, now at City, scored an audacious back-heel to give City a 1–0 win. Thinking his goal had relegated United, he did not celebrate and walked off the pitch with his head down immediately after scoring. As it transpired, United would have been relegated even if the match had been drawn.

  1. Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham, Premier League, 10 November 2010

Spurs staged a stunning fight-back to claim their first league victory over Arsenal in 17 years thanks in no part to their two outstanding performers, Welsh wonderkid Gareth Bale and Dutch maestro Rafael van der Vaart. The hosts were ahead 2-0 at the break, but Spurs had other ideas and when Bale reduced the arrears in the 50th minute, the alarm bells began ringing in the Arsenal rearguard. Van der Vaart’s penalty levelled the game, before Younes Kaboul headed the Dutchman’s freekick past a shell-shocked Lukasz Fabianski with just five minutes remaining.

  1. Newcastle 1-2 Sunderland, Premier League, 25 August 1999

Leave Alan Shearer out of a Tyne-Wear derby at your peril. This is what Ruud Gullit found out when he took charge of his final game for the Magpies. On a rainy night at St. James' Park, Newcastle took the lead through Kieron Dyer, but a second half comeback saw current Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn equalise. Kevin Phillips capped off the comeback to strike the final nail in Gullit's Toon coffin as the Dutch legend was sacked the next day.

  1. Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal, Premier League, 13 November 2004

It was Martin Jol’s first Premiership game as Head Coach, and what a game it was. Despite Spurs taking the lead, they surrendered their advantage to a Thierry Henry effort on the stroke of half time. When Lauren’s penalty made it 1-2, Tottenham played catch-up for the remainder of this enthralling contest. Patrick Vieira made it 1-3, before Jermain Defoe reduced the deficit to 2-3. Freddie Ljungberg restored Arsenal’s two-goal advantage at 2-4, only for Ledley King to hit back at 3-4. Bobby Pires shimmied his way past Noe Pamarot, Paul Robinson and a match-day programme to make it 3-5 and Freddie Kanoute set up a grand-stand finish at 4-5 with two minutes left. Unfortunately for Spurs fans, there was no dramatic comeback this time.

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