Football

Manchester derby: Key battles

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Fascinating battle between Ferguson and Mancini awaits. (©GettyImages)
Fascinating battle between Ferguson and Mancini awaits. (©GettyImages).

Manchester United meet Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday in one of the most eagerly awaited derbies between the two in recent memory.

City currently sit top of the Barclays Premier League - one point about their Manchester rivals - and know victory will further reinforce their quest for the title.

United, however, have been in free scoring mode this term, and a win will take them back to the summit of the table.

Here, GMF outlines some of the key battles that will take place this weekend...

Wayne Rooney v Vincent Kompany

Should Wayne Rooney make a significant impact at Old Trafford on Sunday, he is likely to have to get the better of City captain Vincent Kompany.

The imposing Belgian has become Roberto Mancini's lynchpin over the past 12 months and is now, arguably, the most consistently solid centre-back in the league.

Rooney, though, has been in imperious form this term, and has 13 goals in as many games for club and country.

Two penalty conversions against Otelul Galati in midweek will have renewed the confidence of the 25-year-old, but Kompany will provide the sternest of examinations.

Nemanja Vidic v Sergio Aguero

At the other end, City's new goalscoring hero Sergio Aguero will be pitted against United skipper Nemanja Vidic, on his return to domestic action.

Vidic has not featured in the Barclays Premier League since the opening day of the season, and experienced a somewhat unceremonious comeback on Tuesday in the Champions League.

Aguero, meanwhile, fared far better in Europe than Vidic; scoring a dramatic late winner for City against Villarreal, having come off the bench.

The Argentine striker has netted nine times for City this season, and will come up against one of the finest defenders the Barclays Premier League has ever seen in Vidic.

Darren Fletcher v David Silva

Although he enjoyed a fruitful first season at City, David Silva has really shot to prominence this term.

The Spanish playmaker has looked slick and sleek in the City midfield, and is the key to unlocking the door for his team's strikers.

However, Silva will have his work cut out against Darren Fletcher, with the United star famed for his ability to shut out the opposition threat in the middle of the park.

There is no guarantee Sir Alex Ferguson will select the Scotland captain on Sunday but, if anyone can ensure Silva stays quiet, it is Fletcher.




 

Ashley Young v Micah Richards

Ashley Young has been in fine form for United since joining the club from Aston Villa for £17 million in the summer.

With the ability to speed past the full-back on the touchline or cut inside and shoot with his right foot, Young is one of the most dangerous wingers in the league.

But Richards will be able to match Young for pace and make sure he does not enjoy an easy ride on the left flank on Sunday.

Young will also be required to demonstrate his defensive abilities against Richards, with the 23-year-old often keen to gallop forward.

Sir Alex Ferguson v Roberto Mancini

Unlike Sir Alex Ferguson and numerous other rivals, there seems to be some affection between the United boss and City counterpart Roberto Mancini.

Both, it has been revealed, sent letters of congratulations to each other following their respective triumphs last season and, on Friday, Mancini said he is always learning from his illustrious rival.

"He is a teacher and I can learn from him," explained the Italian.

"It is not just me, it is all the managers. He has won everything for 25 years but he wants to continue to win."

However, both will be focused on securing maximum points at Old Trafford on Sunday in what could prove to be a fascinating tactical battle.

Topics:
Football
Manchester City
Premier League
Manchester United
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