Four key matchups to decide the Manchester derby - including De Bruyne, Martial and Sterling

Old Trafford

A look at the key matchups between Manchester United and Manchester City on Sunday that will have a big say in the top of the table clash.

The first Manchester derby of the season takes place at Old Trafford on Sunday, with both sides coming into the tie off the back of UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday.

Manchester City were late 2-1 winners at home to Sevilla in a match which puts them in a very strong position to quality for the knockout stages, whilst Manchester United, 2,000 miles from home, drew 1-1 at CSKA Moscow.

Advantage is certainly with the visitors in terms of fatigue, but they have been dealt the lesser hand when it comes to injuries. Star striker Sergio Agüero and playmaker David Silva are both sidelined. Captain Vincent Kompany is due to make his return, but has missed the past four Premier League games.

Manuel Pellegrini's side are two points ahead of both Arsenal and Manchester United, so this match has a big say in who will lead the Premier League after 10 games.

Here are the key matchups between Manchester United and Manchester City on Sunday:

Kevin De Bruyne vs Morgan Schneiderlin

David Silva's absence gives Kevin De Bruyne the opportunity to play the number 10 role where he was phenomenal for VfL Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga last season. The Belgian international has already made an impressive start to life at the Etihad, and even scored the winner versus Sevilla midweek.

Manchester United were torn apart three weeks ago by Arsenal's midfield as Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger went missing. They were quick learners, though, and performed admirably in beating Everton 3-0 last weekend. The United duo will need to be disciplined and stay tight to De Bruyne to prevent him from being a match winner.

Anthony Martial vs Vincent Kompany

Louis van Gaal has lined his young striker up as the left winger in the past two games. That's not where Anthony Martial is most effective. I'd be surprised if he stays there for the derby, given how lethal he is in front of goal and how poor Wayne Rooney has been this season.

Vincent Kompany has been out for a while now, but is expected to play. How much rust is on the captain is the key question here. And if he were not to play, it would certainly leave City in trouble as their defence has been woeful without the Belgian centre-back. City have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last four league games without Kompany. Martial would certainly enjoy playing up front against a Citizens defence that doesn't contain Kompany.

Juan Mata vs Aleksandar Kolarov

Louis van Gaal rested his star playmaker midweek, so Juan Mata should be fresh for Sunday. He's been both a threat on goal and at creating chances ever since he joined Manchester United, and nothing has changed this season. Cutting inside from the right onto his stronger left foot allows him to shoot or play clever through balls.

Aleksandar Kolarov didn't play last weekend or midweek due to injury but assuming the Serbian is fit to return, he's in for a busy game. He could certainly lose Mata when the Spaniard drifts inside, which will cause the centre of Manchester City's defence some real problems.

Raheem Sterling vs Matteo Darmian

Matteo Darmian had made an excellent start to his United career before Alexis Sanchez tore him apart at the start of the month. Raheem Sterling is not the kind of player who is capable of doing that, but his pace could be a threat to the Italian full-back.

This is a battle Manchester United will want to win because it will take away a lot of City's goal threat. Sterling netted a hat-trick last weekend and gets himself into good positions. His pace also lets him get behind defenders to get into positions to pull the ball back for his teammates in and around the six-yard box.

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