Manchester United v Manchester City: Five Key Battles

The Manchester derby kicks-off at 20:00 GMT from Old Trafford, here are five key battles to keep an eye on.

The Premier League title race could well be over but there are still bragging rights up for grabs as Manchester City head to Old Trafford, looking for a second win on the bounce after beating United 6-1 in this fixture last season.

David De Gea v Joe Hart

This is a match between two teams that like to dominate possession and both should see plenty of the ball. Both sides have teams who create a lot of chances meaning both goalkeepers have to be at the very tope of their game, to keep their sides in with a chance of winning this contest.

Hart is a goalkeeper with a point to prove at the moment while De Gea has been taking criticism for most of the season. It’s an opportunity for both to prove why they are the very best in the division.

Rio Ferdinand v Carlos Tevez

Tevez always seems to raise his game against United because of the fact he didn’t earn a longer contract during his time at Old Trafford. Rio Ferdinand has to keep him quiet because Tevez can take this match away from United in a very short period of time.

Ferdinand will have to play a little deeper to give himself a better chance of coping against Tevez’s movement and pace, but the United centre back has been one of the best defenders in the league this season.

Michael Carrick v David Silva

A battle between two of the most important players for either team. Carrick has a big job to do for United, in terms of stopping Silva from getting the ball because he pulls the strings in the City midfield and will be looking to thread the ball in behind the United defence for the strikers.

If Carrick can cut off angles and space regularly and productively, it will be hard for the City midfield to have any momentum during the game, which will make them slightly easier to dominate.

Wayne Rooney v Yaya Toure

Rooney has a big challenge to be more effective during this game than Yaya Toure. Rooney will drop off from the attack and play a similar role to Toure at times and it’s a simple case of who can be the greater driving force behind their team over the course of 90 minutes.

This is a fixture that Rooney has done very well in recently but Toure has just got his new contract sorted out, which means he should be on a high and looking to build on his success already with the club.

Robin Van Persie v Vincent Kompany

Van Persie could have ended up as a Manchester City player but he signed for United and it seems to have been the right decision. He needs to turn up in a big way because United may not create too many clear cut chances over the course of the game and it’s a finely balanced battle because of the Dutchman’s form.

Kompany is City’s captain and he’s a big game player so he’ll be up for marking Van Persie out of this game and he’s good enough to cope with the movement of Van Persie, as the forward tries to drag him out of position.

What do you see as the key battle?

image: © Gordon Flood

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