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Man Utd v Man City key battles

MOVEMENT: Sergio Aguero in action against United in pre-season.

MOVEMENT: Sergio Aguero in action against United in pre-season.

‘Win your personal battles’ is a line often delivered by players and pundits when reflecting on the key to victory in the biggest games.

The Manchester derby certainly falls into that category and there are likely to be intriguing duels across the Old Trafford pitch on Sunday afternoon.

We could have picked 11 match-ups, but here are four potentially enthralling battles...

Sergio Aguero v David De Gea

Amongst the world’s best in their respective positions, the face-off between Aguero and De Gea could go a long way to deciding the result.

The Spaniard – who is arguably United's most important player – will know City carry goal threats all over the pitch, but will be equally aware Kun will lead the assault on his clean sheet ambitions

The Argentine has netted seven times in nine Premier League games against the Reds and if chief string puller Kevin De Bruyne can unlock the defence, De Gea will need to be at his best to repel the Blues’ marksman.

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Nicolas Otamendi v Romelu Lukaku

The imposing Belgian striker has endured something of a lean spell in recent weeks, netting only twice in 13 games, but he scored midweek in the Champions League and there’s no doubt he remains a threat.

Blessed with pace and power in abundance, it’s likely to be the sort of physical duel that Otamendi will relish – he kept Lukaku quiet in three of their five meetings whilst the striker was at Everton

United’s No.9 has previously admitted he loves to use his size to spin defenders, so the centre-half could enjoy his best success if he can get in early to nip the ball away.

Fernandinho v Jesse Lingard

Can City’s Mr Consistent shackle United’s man of the moment?

Such is 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 the so-called dirty work on Sunday.

With three goals in his last two league games, Lingard comes into the game in a rich vein of form, thriving in the space left in behind Lukaku.

It's space often occupied by Fernandinho and if he can bring the nuisance factor, the 32-year-old can prevent the Red’s academy graduate from finding time in the final third.

THROWBACK: A look back at the classic Manchester Derby at Old Trafford in 2008.

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Raheem Sterling v Ashley Young

A player who has developed the welcome knack of scoring when it matters most, derby day arrives when Sterling’s confidence is surely at its peak.

Whether Young is deployed as a traditional left back or a left-wing back could be key to deciding this battle.

If the 32-year-old takes up a more advanced position it could leave space in behind for Sterling to exploit, but similarly, he’ll have to mindful of his defensive duties.

Two speedsters, watch out for this one if it's level in the final five minutes...

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