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Manchester City v Manchester United: Who are the real comeback kings?

by Josh Powell | December 6, 2012
FEED THE GOAT: Shaun Goater rescues City in the dying minutes back in 2003

FEED THE GOAT: Shaun Goater rescues City in the dying minutes back in 2003. Please note this is Mikael Silvestre’s idea of good defending.

By Josh Powell | Sports writer

Manchester United have made their name over the years by snatching late goals, rescuing games and, very much like Hulk Hogan in that dodgy video, doing some of their best work from behind.

But Manchester City are making their presence felt and aren’t Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘noisy neighbours’ anymore. They are no longer playing music that is just loud enough to slightly irritate you. No, their party is in full swing, the bass is sending tremors through your living room and half of the mob has spilled out on to the road, tipping over bins and keying your car. After doing the double over United last year and snatching the title in ‘Fergie Time’, City went from being the ‘noisy neighbours’ to the Premier League Champions.

This year both sides have come from behind to snatch a result on seven occasions and we’ve broken down the figures to crown the real comeback kings.

  • Since the start of the 2008 season both Manchester clubs have gained points from losing positions 28 times
  • United have gained 62 points, winning 17 times and drawing 11 games
  • City have earned 52 points with 12 wins and 16 draws
  • Both clubs tend to have more success with comebacks away from home. United perform 61 per cent of their comebacks outside of Old Trafford and City perform 64 per cent of theirs off home soil
  • United tend to do better against the top teams, with 32 per cent of their comebacks against teams in the top four. City have only snatched a result from the jaws of despair against top sides 21 per cent of the time  

Surprisingly City have comeback from losing positions just as many times as United. The key figure might be that United often comeback and go on to win whereas City tend to pick up a point.

Since 2008 City’s best season for comebacks was 2009/10 when they rescued 19 points from 11 comebacks including coming back from behind to beat Chelsea home and away. United took 13 points from five comebacks in their title-winning season of 2008/09 but this season they have already taken a monster 21 points after falling behind seven times.

So it would appear Manchester United are the comeback kings and should take their rightful place upon our aptly named ‘managing to recover from going behind to either win or draw a Premier League game’ throne of greatness.

Blue Moon rising

But that doesn’t mean they can fall behind and get a result on Sunday. In a twist more shocking than finding out that it was Lisa who shot Phil in Eastenders back in 2001, City are more likely to perform a comeback this weekend meaning the last few hundred words are quite irrelevant in relation to the derby.

In the last 18 years there have only been three occasions in the league when one of the Manchester clubs has fallen behind and gone on to get a result. All three of these matches have seen City rescue a 1-1 draw after United had taken the lead.

So after dropping that unbelievable stat bomb it is fair to conclude whoever takes the lead in the derby will probably go on to win it. Although, if one team were to fall behind, it is City who are more likely to dig themselves out of a hole on Sunday. It is 11/2 that City come from behind to draw and 17/2 they come back to win.

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