The 170th Manchester derby between United and City will happen in few hours at Old Trafford and fans across the world will be glued to their television sets in anticipation of an epic encounter as we’ve witnessed in previous seasons.
Your number one football portal 366football.com, takes a deep look at the key battles in the game and highlight where it may likely be won or lost.
Wayne Rooney vs Vincent Kompany
Both are tough lads and captains of their respective sides. Rooney is the highest goalscorer in the history of the derby and will hope he good fortune continues against the citizens.
If Kompany is fit enough to start, it will be interesting to watch the battle between him and the England man who just turned 30 this week. Vinny’s task will be to deny Rooney space and time on the ball as he has a reputation of notching up early goals against the Etihad lords.
Morgan Schneiderlin vs Yaya Toure
Schneiderlin will have his hands full trying to contain four-time African Player of the Year, Yaya Toure and that holds the biggest key to the game.
If Yaya Toure dictates the midfield then City will dominate possession like they want and hurt Manchester United but if the Frenchman is able to contain the Ivory Coast international then the Red Devils can play freely upfront allowing Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney to cause havoc upfront.
Chris Smalling vs Kevin de Bruyne
De Bruyne has played the David Silva role effectively in his absence and he is expected to continue there against Manchester United and Smalling, despite being one of the top performers for the Red Devils this season needs to be at his best to cut out supply from the Belgian to Wilfred Bony who will start due to injury to Sergio Aguero.
However, de Bruyne is a very good goalscorer who can poach from any parts of the pitch even in tight situations like he did against Sevilla during the UEFA Champions League played in midweek.
Matteo Darmian vs Raheem Sterling
Darmian has proved to be one of the best right backs in the premier league since he signed from Torino but he will be put to test against the pacey Raheem Sterling who joined Manchester City from Liverpool in the summer.
The former Queens Park Rangers trainee is still buzzing from scoring his first hat-trick and enters the game with a lot of confidence but will meet a very stubborn customer in the Italian.
Louis van Gaal vs Maunel Pellegrini
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has ordered his team to get goals while Louis van Gaal already conceded that the Citizens are a massive favourite to win the match.
The way they use their bench will matter a lot in this encounter – Manchester United can decide to bring in Valencia if things are going wrong at the right side of defense or if they want to put more pressure on City’s left back in search of a goal.
Manchester City can count on the bravery of Nigerian youngster Kelechi Iheanacho if they need a late push for a goal like the Crystal Palace game where he got the match winner late on in that game.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City