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Ahead of the latest Manchester derby, former City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips believes victory in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final was the turning point in the Blues’ rivalry with United.
Yaya Toure’s goal settled a tight derby match at Wembley to send City through to the final at the expense of their long-time foes.
City went on to beat Stoke City in the final to secure a first major trophy for 35 years.
“That game was clarification things were starting to turn in Manchester.” Wright-Phillips was quoted in The Sun .
“That day was significant. It was a huge occasion — Wembley, a derby, a cup semi-final.”
Twelve months later, the club lifted the Premier League in dramatic fashion thanks to Sergio Aguero’s famous last minute goal against Queen’s Park Rangers.
Shaun Wright-Phillips in action for Manchester City against United
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The last-gasp 3-2 win saw City pip United to the title on goal difference to become champions of England for the first time in 44 years, and they have since added three more Premier League crowns to their collection.
City have also won the EFL Cup five times since then and added another FA Cup in 2019 as part of a historic domestic treble.
United meanwhile, despite winning the league in 2011 and 2013, have since found trophies hard to come by with just one FA Cup, an EFL Cup and Europa league trophy in the last eight years.
“For so long United had been the dominant force but the feeling was that our time was coming — when we’d start winning some trophies,” Wright-Phillips added.
“That’s what they’ve been doing since — with City at No 1 and United at No 2 in Manchester. And that is how it is going into this derby.”
Table-topping City welcome second-placed United to the Etihad looking to extend a 14-point advantage over their rivals as they close in on a third title in four seasons.
Yaya Toure celebrates his famous FA Cup semi-final goal against United in 2011
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Pep Guardiola’s side are also on a 21-game unbeaten run in all competitions with 15 wins in row in the league.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in contrast has seen his side’s title challenge stutter, having won just twice in their last eight Premier League games.
Wright-Phillips attributes the transformation in fortunes between the clubs to that afternoon at Wembley in 2011.
“They were a top side, winning a lot of trophies and our form hadn’t been great going into it,” said the forward who was in his second spell with the Etihad club at the time.
“Of course they were the favourites in many people’s eyes. But it was an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley — so we didn’t let recent results bother us.
“It was an amazing atmosphere at Wembley with half of it red and half blue and City fans were doing the ‘Poznan’ after the goal.
“We managed to hang on and for us, it almost felt like we’d won the Cup that day — even though we had to play Stoke in the final and prepare in the right way.
“But it felt significant and there was a great feeling in the dressing room afterwards.”