The time has arrived when the whole of Manchester comes to a standstill again. Red v Blue, United v City… one of the Premier League’s most eagerly anticipated games and one which rarely fails to disappoint. This edition should prove no different with the Pep v Jose, attack v defence narrative already written.
There is a small selection of players that have bravely crossed the divide into ‘enemy territory,’ so let’s take a look at five of them…
#1 Peter Schmeichel
Surely the best-ever goalkeeper of the Premier League era.
He was a colossus in every way, winning a Champions League, three FA Cups and five Premier League titles during his tenure at Old Trafford.
Moreover, he played the fullest part in those achievements. His last-minute save from Dennis Bergkamp in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final vs Arsenal is just one of many instances that spring to mind.
After brief sojourns to Sporting in Portugal and Aston Villa, the Dane made his way back to his adopted city, only this time it was City who signed him.
#2 Owen Hargreaves
There’s reason to believe that had Owen Hargreaves not had so many problems with injuries during his career, that he would never have left Manchester United.
He was clearly well liked by Sir Alex Ferguson and his staff and also a popular member of the dressing room, but 39 appearances in four years tell its own story.
Joining in 2007, Hargreaves did at least win the Premier League and Champions League double for the 2007/08 season.
He left at the end of his contract in 2011, and joined City, but never made enough appearances to earn himself another league winner’s medal.
#3 Carlos Tevez
Just as his first move to England was shrouded in mystery, much fact-checking was undertaken before United bought Carlos Tevez from West Ham.
Not a few weeks earlier, the Argentinian had scored the goal, at Old Trafford, to keep the Hammers in the top flight.
He couldn’t be described as a regular, but neither was he a stop-gap signing. His presence in the team helped the Red Devils to two successive titles and he was also a member of the Champions League winning side.
Joining City in a highly controversial move, publicised by a ‘Welcome to Manchester’ banner on the motorway into the city, he was part of City’s title winning side in 2012, and his 73 goals in 148 games ensured he was a success.
#4 Andrei Kanchelskis
An out and out winger the likes of which we rarely see in the modern game, Andrei Kanchelskis was a revelation at United.
He starred in their first-ever Premier League title season (92/93) and was still an integral element of an incredible squad the following year when a league and cup double was won.
It was in 1995 when he moved to Everton, before subsequently turning out for Fiorentina and Rangers, and during his spell at the latter, he went on loan to City scoring just once in his 10 fleeting appearances.
#5 Andy Cole
It’s often forgotten that Andy Cole, one half of United’s deadly strike force in the Treble era, spent some time towards the end of his career at City.
By then 33 years of age, his stint was fairly unremarkable but nine goals in his short spell was a reasonable return.
He will always be remembered and revered by the Old Trafford faithful, even if he wasn’t Teddy Sheringham’s cup of tea, because his goals helped propel United to five Premier League titles, a Champions League and two FA Cups in his six years at the club.