Who can add their name to list of Man United derby heroes?
To say that Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao have failed to live up to expectations at Old Trafford this season would be something of an understatement but both players, along with many other Old Trafford new boys, have a chance to write their name into United folklore.
This weekend sees the return of the Manchester derby and nothing would endear the likes of Di Maria, Falcao, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo to the Stretford End more than a winning goal against their bitter rivals.
Here we look at five United derby day heroes who could inspire events this Sunday.
Michael Owen – United 4-3 City
Owen’s Old Trafford career offered little in the way of highlights but this close-range finish deep into “Fergie time” had then City boss and former United favourite Mark Hughes fuming but Red Devils fans saluting a new hero.
Craig Bellamy had run Rio Ferdinand ragged all afternoon but it was all for nothing as Owen latched on to a superb Ryan Giggs through ball to hit the winner.
Paul Scholes – City 0-1 United
For all his contributions to the United cause over the years Scholes is afforded god-like status in the Salford area and while his highlights reel could fill a DVD box set this last minute header to break Sky Blue hearts in the dying seconds will be among his personal favourites for sure.
Wayne Rooney – United 2-1 City
Coming in the 78th minute Rooney’s winner may not be as dramatic as some of the others on this list but the way he took his chance makes this strike stand out.
Nani lofts a high ball to the far post and it seems beyond Rooney’s reach but an acrobatic bicycle kick has Joe Hart rooted to the spot as he watches it fly into the top corner to give United all three points.
Nani – City 2-3 United
The Community Shield may be just a glamorous friendly but there are no friendlies when the Manchester derby is concerned.
United found themselves 2-0 down by half time at Wembley and on course for another City hammering but Sir Alex Ferguson’s team talk had the desired effect and the Red Devils were level within 15 minutes of the restart through Chris Smalling and Nani.
The Portuguese underachiever went one better late on though, showing electric pace and awareness before rounding Joe Hart to hit a 90th minute winner and ensure bragging rights and 2011’s first piece of silverware.
Robin van Perise – City 2-3 United
The Dutchman had a derby debut to remember despite United being pegged back after going 2-0 up through a Wayne Rooney brace.
Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta seemed to have earned City a share of the spoils but they didn’t count on RVP’s left foot, with the former Gunner hitting a sweet free-kick into the bottom corner to gain instant Red Devils adulation.
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