The Argentine, dubbed by the City fans as 'Mr Reliable' for his 100 per cent commitment to the side, has called on his teammates to match his desire to get something out of the game.
"We've got the talent and we've got quality - we've got everything. But behind this the mentality and the attitude for that game has to be more than 100 per cent. I'm sure if we put everything into this game, with the quality we've got it can make the difference," said the City fullback.
After Roberto Mancini's men lost 1-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, many – including the Citizens' boss and Zabaleta – had written off City's chances, as they fell eight points behind United at the summit of the Premier League.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side then picked up only one win in three, following a shock 1-0 defeat to Wigan and an unlikely 4-4 draw against Everton whilst they were 4-2 ahead.
While their rivals have faltered in their three matches, City have picked up a maximum 12 points from their three games, scoring 12 goals and conceding only one.
"We've never stopped believing in ourselves, but to be honest, after the Arsenal defeat I thought our chance had probably gone.
"We've been five points clear before so we know how it feels, but United losing against Wigan and dropping points at home to Everton shows that in football you have to believe, because you just never know," added the 27-year-old.
A win in the derby for Mancini's men would see them move to the top of the table on goal difference. However, on the flip side, a win for United would move them six points clear and would effectively seal the title with two games to play.
"If we have another chance for the title it's because we deserve it. We've kept going and we will continue to do that and see what happens. We know how important this game is. United are the team we want to beat, especially because it gives us the chance to get back to the top," he continued.
City will be hoping to make their home advantage count and Zabaleta has called on the fans to play a role in the match.
"We need the support of the fans as always, but now more than ever. The role of our incredible fans cannot be understated for this game. This is the one we've all been waiting for and we all need to be together, both the players and the fans."