Police detained two young men after pursuing a car which had been racing down Wendover Road near a primary school in Wythenshawe, before crashing into a tree.
A number of cars, assisted by the police helicopter, chased the VW Tiguan as it sped along streets in Brooklands, just a few hundred yards away from Sandilands Primary School at about 2pm.
The car smashed into the tree and five men ran out. Two of them were caught by police.
A witness said the car had been driven along Wendover Road, screeching tyres and screeching round corners. The witness said: “It’s terrible. What if it had been a little bit later with all the children coming out of school. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”