EPL 2015-16: Five things that could determine the Manchester derby on Sunday

Premier League enters another week of enthralling action as season's first Manchester Derby is on its way on Sunday.

By Rajdeep Saha | Last Updated: Oct 23, 2015, 21:12 PM IST
EPL 2015-16: Five things that could determine the Manchester derby on Sunday

New Delhi: Premier League enters another week of enthralling action as season's first Manchester Derby is on its way on Sunday.

Leaders Manchester City will travel to third placed rivals United, as both managers know a victory at Old Trafford could dictate their season from here on.

Last season, honours were shared between the two EPL giants. City beat ten-man United at the Etihad and their rivals then demolished the former 4-2 at Old Trafford.

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For Louis van Gaal's side, a win could see them topple City and gain bragging rights. City meanwhile, have been ruthless in the EPL and go into the game slightly as favourites.

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We look at five factors that could determine to which colour Manchester will bleed on Sunday.

Tactical features to test both managers: The titanic clash between the two city rivals will test both managers' tactical prowess. United's approach under Gaal means they will look to have more of the ball possession and City would prefer a solid counter attack on the run. Both teams need solidity at major areas of the pitch and team selection with introduction of substitutes will hold substance.

City's powerful forward line to test United's defence: Manchester City boasts of a powerful attack line despite missing out on David Silva and Sergio Aguero to injuries. In-form Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne will provide major threats in their 4-2-3-1 formation and United's defence need to be wary about it. The left-back slot remains vulnerable for United given Luke Shaw's injury.

United's strong midfield can set the flow: United have a rich kitty in the centre of the pitch and Van Gaal has rotated his midfield really well this season, apart from the rare blip against Arsenal. Morgan Schneiderlin in the defensive role holds the key as Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ander Herrera's passing range will prove handy for the hosts.

Eyes will remain on Wayne Rooney: The United striker has had a mixed start to the season. Rooney often looks lonely upfront as he prefers to have more of a say on the pitch and his role has certainly diminished. With Rooney turning 30 on Saturday, he will want to add to his thin goal-tally of just two strikes in the Premier League. His positon in the starting line-up could still impact the tie.

David de Gea will need to stand out again for the hosts: The Spaniard has continued his excellent form for the side and looked superb against Everton and CSKA Moscow recently. City have already scored 24 goals, and De Gea will be busy in the lines on Sunday. Keeping off Sterling, De Bruyne and also Wilfried Bony paves a way for an exciting battle.