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Premier League 2018-19: 3 key battles that could decide the Manchester United vs Manchester City clash

ANALYST
Feature
489   //    23 Apr 2019, 12:47 IST

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League
Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

The biggest match of gameweek 35 is here as Manchester United host arch-rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men come into this game on the back of a humiliating 0-4 loss to Everton, whereas Pep Guardiola's Manchester City won 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur in their previous game.

Manchester United's defence looks fragile and their players appear to have jumped off the wagon. But the derby on Wednesday night will give them a reason to turn up and give their best. They will try to do absolutely everything to prevent their neighbors from across the city to run away with the Premier League title.

Here, we look at three key battles that could decide the contest:

1. Paul Pogba vs Ilkay Gundogan

Chris Smalling and Paul Pogba
Chris Smalling and Paul Pogba

With Belgian 'artist' Kevin de Bruyne all set to miss the Manchester derby due to injury, Manchester City's German central midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will take his place and will have to step up to the plate. He will have to deal with Manchester United's French stalwart Paul Pogba on Wednesday.

Pogba is one of the most creative midfielders in the Premier League but is not in a rich vein of form at the moment. He showed his goal-scoring and goal-creating prowess at the beginning of Solskjaer's tenure at Old Trafford, but has been quiet ever since.

Pogba was the match-winner for United along with Alexis Sanchez in the same fixture last year (held at the Etihad Stadium), and will be keen on repeating that.

2. Romelu Lukaku vs Aymeric Laporte

Manchester City's David Silva and Romelu Lukaku
Manchester City's David Silva and Romelu Lukaku

United's Belgian centre-forward Romelu Lukaku, who was criticized heavily post his side's 0-4 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday for showing 'a lack of identity', will be keen on turning up against Manchester City.

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On Wednesday, he will be up against City's French centre-back Aymeric Laporte who will do everything in his power to stop the former.

Laporte was brilliant in City's 1-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday, keeping goal poacher Heung Min Son in check. He will be looking to do something similar on Wednesday as well.

3. Victor Lindelof vs Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero, Manchester City's Argentinian centre-forward, is at the top of the Premier League goal-scoring table with 19 strikes. He will be hoping to add to his tally on Wednesday against the old enemy.

Aguero is brilliant with the ball at his feet and can find the goal with ease. On Wednesday, he will face off against the Red Devils' Swedish centre-half Victor Lindelof, who has emerged as the surest bet in his side's fragile defence.

Lindelof has had a good season thus far and will be looking to keep a clean sheet and prevent City from running off with the league title.

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