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City v United: Key battles

Premier League leaders Manchester City host derby rivals United on Sunday in a game that has captured everyone's imagination.

Here we weigh up some of the key personal duels which could prove crucial in Sunday's Etihad showdown.

Raheem Sterling v Luke Shaw

Buoyed by signing his new contract with the Blues, Sterling is arguably in the form of his life and has raised his game to new levels this season with Manchester City.

With seven goals and seven assists across all competitions, the 23-year-old attacking winger has arguably been City’s stand-out performer so far this campaign and he will be one of City’s main attacking outlets on Sunday.

Sterling is set to lock horns with England left-back Shaw who has enjoyed a renaissance in fortunes this season.

READ: David Silva | The derby power balance has shifted

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Now over the injury issues which blighted the first few seasons at Old Trafford, such has been Shaw’s consistency and all-round impact this season he too, like Sterling, recently signed a new long-term contract committing with United.

Kyle Walker v Anthony Martial

Walker has again been in outstanding form, marrying solid defensive work with explosive raids along City’s right flank.

A powerful physical presence, the England man also has an impressive turn of pace and will look to supplement the Blues’ forward forays wherever possible.

He is likely to be also entrusted with shackling French forwards Martial who, since being recalled to United’s starting eleven last month, has made a big impact for Jose Mourinho’s side with his attacking impact down United’s left flank.

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The 22-year has scored five goals in his last six games and his upturn in form was rewarded with a recall to the French national squad earlier this week.

Fernandinho v Paul Pogba

Memorably described as a ‘gift’ by City manager Pep Guardiola earlier this season, Fernandinho has again been a model of efficiency and consistency this season.

Such has been the Blues’ dominance this season, the Brazilian has shone in the defensive midfield role for the manner in which he links defence and attack, but he may have to do some heavy duty lifting on Sunday in restricting the impact of Pogba, assuming the Frenchman recovers from his injury scare.

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A World Cup winner with France in the summer, Pogba has helped drive United’s recent upturn in form and shone again in midweek on his return to former club Juventus in the Reds’ Champions League triumph.

Pogba is at his most dangerous when driving forward into the opposition box where he uses his power and pace and physical presence to great effect.

Sergio Aguero v David De Gea

Amongst the world’s best players in their respective positions, the personal battle between Aguero and De Gea could prove pivotal.

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Aguero has been in imperious form for the Blues this season, looking razor-sharp and eager for the fray and he also boasts a formidable derby record, having scored seven goals in 10 Premier League clashes against the Reds.

De Gea, a former team-mate of Aguero's at Atletico Madrid,  has been kept busy this season and, to date, has only kept one clean sheet so far this season.

The Spaniard is arguably United's most important player and will know City carry goal threats all over the pitch, with Kun training his sights on United’s goal in particular.

Media Watch

Media: Sterling praise and derby predictions

MEDIA WATCH: It's your Saturday media round-up!

It’s your Saturday media round-up!

In this morning’s media watch, there are plaudits for Raheem Sterling after signing his new contract, a word from a former player and a sprinkling of derby day predictions.

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