1) Anthony Martial versus Vincent Kompany
Vincent Kompany has been scrutinized lately and some reports say he may not start at the weekend. His form hasn’t been great since the side won the league two seasons ago. Kompany will come up against Wayne Rooney, who isn’t really in the goals but more importantly against Anthony Martial, who has been in fine form of late. Having introduced himself with a wonderful individual goal against Liverpool Martial has gone on to score three in five in the Premier League as well as scoring to equalize in the sides last Champions League game. Martial looks a fine prospect and Kompany needs to be in good form to be able to handle the dynamic forward, who can come in off the flanks and cause all sorts of problems.
2) Kevin De Bruyne versus United’s midfield pivot
Like Martial, De Bruyne scored a crucial goal in Man City’s Champions League tie in the form of an injury time winner to clinch three points for the league leaders. City spent £55 million to bring the former Chelsea player to the club and it appears to have paid off. De Bruyne has scored three and registered three assists in the league so far (having started just four times). His productivity will be critical against United. United’s midfield pivot which will likely involve Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick. The pairing will need to be on their game if they are to contain the Belgian playmaker.
3) Raheem Sterling versus Antonio Valencia
Raheem Sterling cost a huge amount of money for a player who hasn’t achieved a lot. His form was poor until he managed to score a hat-trick against Bournemouth. This goal glut made people take notice for the first time, having scored against Estonia on international duty prior to this. Sterling will go into the tie with United with a point to prove and in reality he needs a big performance against a side that are bigger than Bournemouth after another average mid-week European outing. If he plays off of the left he’ll feature against Antonio Valencia, who isn’t a natural right-back. Valencia is strong, athletic and capable of recovering well, but in theory it could be a good game for Sterling to find his form, given his pace and ability on the ball. Whoever comes out on top of this battle could have a key influence on the game.