Manchester City clinched the Premier League title in the most dramatic of fashions against QPR on the final day of the season. Sergio Aguero wrote his name in City folklore with that vital strike right at the death to pip rivals United to be crowned champions of England. But was that the greatest game in City's history? It will certainly take some beating!
Squarefootball writer Steve Coulter takes a look back at some of the club's biggest triumphs.
Manchester City 3 QPR 2
Premier League, May 2012
City have been involved in many great games but nothing can top this classic. The Blues had to beat QPR to secure their first League title in 44 years. Anything less would have opened the door for Manchester United who could have won the title with victory at Sunderland. The game was equally important for Rangers. They needed a point to avoid relegation.
Roberto Mancini's men finally broke the deadlock on 42 minutes. Yaya Toure freed Pablo Zabaletta inside the Rangers box. The Argentine full back's shot appeared comfortable for Paddy Kenny yet somehow the Hoops keeper allowed the ball to squirm from his grasp and into the net.
But Manchester City never do things the easy way and this game was no exception. Two minutes into the second half Joleon Lescott misjudged his clearing header. Djibril Cisse pounced on the error to put QPR in sight of safety. City were handed an unexpected lifeline on the hour. Rangers skipper Joey Barton was sent off following an incident with Carlos Tevez. In the aftermath Barton completely lost his head, aiming a kick at Sergio Aguero before attempted to headbutt Vincent Kompany.
Amazingly the incident appeared to inspire 10-men Rangers. Armand Traore found acres of space on the City left. His perfectly judged centre found Jamie Makie unmarked. The former Plymouth striker made no mistake and the visitors were 2-1 up.
For the next 20 minutes City huffed and puffed to little avail. As the match entered five minutes of injury time the tittle appeared to be heading for Old Trafford. Dzeko gave City hope when he headed in a 91st minute corner. What happened next will go down in football folklore. As the clock ticked past the 93rd minute news filtered through that Manchester United had beaten the Black Cats. The dream looked over until Mario Balotelli picked up the ball in the Rangers box. With the clock edging towards the 95th minute the maverick frontman managed to smuggle a pass to Aguero. Showing composure beyond his tender youth, the striker worked some space before blasting past the hapless Kenny. City had done it in the nick of time. What a finish to a fantastic season.
Gillingham 2 Manchester City 2 (City won 3-1 on Penalties)
League One Play Off Final, May 1999
The seeds of that glorious day were arguably sown a decade earlier. Another miraculous comeback saw City escape the third tier of English football.
Joe Royle had been installed as boss at the start of the 1998-99 season as the Blues plotted a quick return to the Championship. This was the first season in their proud history that City had operated outside the top two divisions.
After missing out on automatic promotion the boys in blue eased past Wigan in the play-off semi-final. Now only Gillingham could deny the Royle family a prompt return to the higher echelons. The Gills, managed by Tony Pulis, (whatever happened to him?) were cast in the role of underdogs. The Kent club clearly hadn't read the script. With 10 minutes remaining Carl Asaba put Gillinghan 1-0 up. Six minutes later strike partner Robert Taylor made it two. This time Asaba turned creator, a well timed back heal putting Taylor clear on goal.
The goal proved too much for some City fans, many of whom trudged towards the Wembley exits. Their journey was interrupted when Kevin Horlock reduced the arrears. The ex-Swindon player netted in the 91st minute. Still looking a beaten side Royle's men conjured up one last attack. A long ball was flicked into the path of Paul Dickov. Gills' keeper Vince Bartram confronted the pint-sized Scot. But Dickov unleashed a thunderous strike into the roof of the net. The iconic image of Dickov sinking to his knees will never be forgotten.
Thirty minutes of extra time failed to separate the sides, so a penalty shoot out was needed to decided the outcome. Horlock opened the scoring before Nicky Weaver saved from Paul Smith. Dickov surprisingly missed City's second penalty. But another miss from Adrian Pennock kept the Blues' noses in front. Terry Cooke successfully converted to put the favourites in the driving seat. Gillingham winger John Hodge and Richard Edgehill both found the back of the net. Guy Butters stepped with Gillingham trailing 3-1, the defender had to score to keep his side in the hunt. Butters could on look on in misery as Weaver saved his tame effort. Within seconds the Manchester City goalkeeper was off on a lap of honour. The long road back had begun.
Manchester United 1 Manchester City
Premier League October 2011
The sweetest of all victories for Manchester's noisy neighbours. Old Trafford was stunned as City thumped the old enemy. Maverick Mario Balotelli put City ahead mid way through the first half. The host's woes deepened at the beginning of the second half, when Jonny Evans was sent off after hauling down Baltotelli. The Italian doubled the visitors' advantage shortly afterwards. The game was put out of United's reach after 61 minutes. Balotelli squared for Sergio Aguero to tap home from close range.
The defending champions briefly threatened a comeback when Darren Fletcher curled in a beauty. Eden Dzeko extinguished any doubts when he scored City's fourth. David Silva's comprehensive finish saw Mancini men go 5-1 up. The Spanish playmaker then showed great vision as Mancini's men had the last word. A delightful volleyed through ball split the Reds defence. Dzeko raced clear before easily beating David De Gea.
This was City biggest win at Old Trafford since 1926. The neighbours had turned up the volume. City fans will never forget that day for the rest of their lives.
Spurs 3 Manchester City 4
FA Cup 4th Round Replay 2004
City were really up for this replay. Victory over Spurs would book a Fifth Round visit to Manchester United. Older Blues fans had the extra incentive of revenge. Tottenham had famously beaten the Maine Road club in the 1981 FA Cup Final replay. The constant replays of Ricky Villa's wonder goal still haunt the blue half of Manchester. It looked a similar story 23 years later.
Spurs were three up by half time. Goals from Ledley King, Robbie Keane and Christan Ziege seemed to have made the second half academic. To compound the misery Joey Barton was sent off as the players left the pitch. The controversial midfielder argued his case following an earlier booking. Referee Rob Stiles took exception and Barton received his marching orders.
Ten-men City looked to have restored some pride on 48 minutes. Slyvain Distin smartly headed home a Michael Tarnant free-kick. Twenty minutes later the game was back in the balance. Paul Bosvelt's deflected drive made it 3-2. With Spurs wilting, City seized their opportunity. With 10 minutes remaining Robbie Fowler slipped in Shaun Wright-Phillips. The England winger drew Kasey Keller from his line, Wright-Phillips let the Spurs keeper go to ground before lifting the ball into the net.
Surely the visitors would settle for extra time. But Manchester City were in no mood to surrender their superiority. In the 90th minute Tarnant swung in a right wing cross. Jon Macken out jumped the Tottenham defence and saw his looping header beat the scrambling Keller. Manchester City led 4-3 and White Hart Lane fell silent, the only noise came from the disbelieving away fans.
City boss Kevin Keegan described it as one of the game's greatest comebacks. Sadly United ended dreams of Wembley glory in the Fifth Round but at least the ghost of Ricky Villa had been partially erased.
Manchester City 5 Manchester United 1
First Division 1989
Way back in the midst of time both Manchester clubs were struggling. Newly promoted City were readjusting to life at the the highest level. While United were enduring a nightmare start to the season. Manager Alex Ferguson was coming under increasing pressure as the Red Devils hovered above the relegation zone. City sensed their arch rivals unease and took control.
David White sped down the right wing before cutting the ball back to David Oldfield. The young Aussie smashed a first time shot past the hapless Jim Leighton. The home side were two up a couple of minutes later. Trevor Morley pounced from close range with the United defence in tatters. Remarkably the Blues led 3-0 at a half time. Another wonderful White cross was headed in by Ian Bishop.
United pulled one back through a Mark Hughes volley but this was only a temporary rest bite for Fergie's men. Paul Lake strolled into the box, his first shot was parried by Leighton. The rebound was collected by Lake who squared for Oldfield to slot home. Manchester City completed the rout with the goal of the game. Man of the match Bishop curled a delicious pass to White. He crossed first time for the onrushing Andy Hinchcliff. The full back couldn't miss and City were 5-1 up. Somehow Alex Ferguson survived the Maine Road thrashing. His counterpart wasn't so lucky. Mel Machin was sacked by Manchester City a few months later.
Are there any other great games that we have missed off the list? If so, we'd love to hear from you.