Manchester derby players rated: ahead of latest clash between fierce rivals United and City, which team boasts the strongest XI?

  • Manchester United welcome rivals City to Old Trafford on Sunday 
  • City are currently first in the league, two points ahead of United in third 
  • Manchester City remain without stars Sergio Aguero and David Silva 

It's the first Manchester derby of the season on Sunday, with Louis van Gaal's United hoping to overtake their City rivals at the top of the Premier League table. 

The 170th meeting of the two 'noisy neighbours' is sure to be a fiercely competitive affair, but ahead of the big clash at Old Trafford, MIKE KEEGAN rules over who has the finest starting XI... 

 

David de Gea v Joe Hart

Impossible to split. Both are excellent shot-stoppers. Hart has a bigger presence but de Gea has arguably won more points for United this year than his cross-town counterpart.

De Gea 9 Hart 9

Manchester United keeper David de Gea launches into another fine save against CSKA Moscow 

Manchester United keeper David de Gea launches into another fine save against CSKA Moscow 

England and Manchester City keeper Joe Hart celebrates another win for Manuel Pellegrini's side

England and Manchester City keeper Joe Hart celebrates another win for Manuel Pellegrini's side

Matteo Darmian v Bacary Sagna

Darmian looked the part following his summer arrival from Torino but was exposed at Arsenal. His battle with Sterling will be interesting. Sagna has plenty of experience and will be happy to be back on the right after filling in at left-back.

Darmian 7 Sagna 7

Right back Bacary Sagna will hope to keep the Manchester United attack quite on Sunday afternoon

Right back Bacary Sagna will hope to keep the Manchester United attack quite on Sunday afternoon

Phil Jones v Vincent Kompany

Will Kompany play? For all Pellegrini's posturing you would imagine so. The captain was back to his best before injury struck and could be key. Jones has been overtaken by Smalling and this will be a big test for him, despite the absence of Aguero.

Jones 7 Kompany 8.5

United centre back Phil Jones keeps his eye on the ball whilst heading a clearance at Goodison Park

United centre back Phil Jones keeps his eye on the ball whilst heading a clearance at Goodison Park

Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany (right) celebrate Manchester City's 2-1 win over Sevilla in midweek 

Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany (right) celebrate Manchester City's 2-1 win over Sevilla in midweek 

Chris Smalling v Eliaquim Mangala

Smalling has arguably been a different player since Van Gaal christened him 'Mike' in the summer and will relish another opportunity to show his progress. Mangala has also improved after a poor start to his City career.

Smalling 8 Mangala 7.5

Marcos Rojo, putting in a tackle on CSKA Moscow's Seydou Doumbia, will feature in the absence of Luke Shaw

Marcos Rojo, putting in a tackle on CSKA Moscow's Seydou Doumbia, will feature in the absence of Luke Shaw

Eliaquim Mangala (right) has improved after a disastrous start to his career at Manchester City

Eliaquim Mangala (right) has improved after a disastrous start to his career at Manchester City

Centre back Chris Smalling, in Champions League action on Wednesday, has been in fine form this season

Centre back Chris Smalling, in Champions League action on Wednesday, has been in fine form this season

Marcos Rojo v Aleksandar Kolarov

It has not been an easy ride but Rojo finally appears to have the boss's stamp of approval, despite the passport issues. Kolarov has been better this season and, although he provides an attacking threat, doubts remain over his defensive abilities against elite opposition.

Rojo 7.5 Kolarov 7.5

Yaya Toure, running with possession against Sevilla, will be needed to control the midfield on Sunday

Yaya Toure, running with possession against Sevilla, will be needed to control the midfield on Sunday

Bastian Schweinsteiger v Yaya Toure

A fascinating battle and one upon which the outcome of the 170th meeting of this pair may hinge. Schweinsteiger, who will battle Carrick for a starting spot, appears to be getting better every week while Toure has been rejuvenated by the arrivals of De Bruyne and Sterling.

Schweinsteiger 8 Toure 8

Bastian Schweinsteiger, firing a pass to a United team-mate, has impressed since joining in the summer

Bastian Schweinsteiger, firing a pass to a United team-mate, has impressed since joining in the summer

City's Fernandinho has become Manuel Pellegrini's anchor in the club's midfield this season

City's Fernandinho has become Manuel Pellegrini's anchor in the club's midfield this season

Morgan Schneiderlin pumps his fists having scored for Manchester United against Everton last weekend 

Morgan Schneiderlin pumps his fists having scored for Manchester United against Everton last weekend 

Morgan Schneiderlin v Fenandinho

Another big match up, although this one may well take place in the background. Both are their side's anchors, the men whose vigilant patrols ensure the glamour boys can do their thing further up the field. Van Gaal did not select Schneiderlin for the Arsenal match and will probably not make the same mistake again.

Schneiderlin 7.5 Fernandinho 7.5

Playmaker Juan Mata (left), jostling for possession at Goodison Park, is a key part of Louis van Gaal's line-up

Playmaker Juan Mata (left), jostling for possession at Goodison Park, is a key part of Louis van Gaal's line-up

Juan Mata v Jesus Navas

The two Spaniards will be looking to grab the headlines. Mata has been superb this season while Navas, who has a knack of getting the ball in space, seems to be finally finding a final touch.

Mata 8 Navas 7

Manchester City's £54million summer signing roars in celebration after scoring the winner against Sevilla

Manchester City's £54million summer signing roars in celebration after scoring the winner against Sevilla

Ander Herrera v Kevin De Bruyne

Herrera is another who appears to have finally won over Van Gaal months after winning over the fans. De Bruyne, the man Pellegrini described as 'the perfect signing' following his late winner against Sevilla, has been just that.

Herrera 7.5 De Bruyne 8.5

Forward Raheem Sterling jumps into the air as he fired in a hat-trick against Bournemouth last weekend

Forward Raheem Sterling jumps into the air as he fired in a hat-trick against Bournemouth last weekend

Manchester United's £36million signing Anthony Martial heads in the equaliser in Moscow on Wednesday

Manchester United's £36million signing Anthony Martial heads in the equaliser in Moscow on Wednesday

Anthony Martial v Raheem Sterling

Two players who have hit the ground running. Martial's task is to show he can do it for a full season, whereas Sterling has already done that.

Martial 7.5 Sterling 7.5

Manchester City's Wilfried Bony, celebrating in midweek, will lead their attack in the absence of Sergio Aguero

Manchester City's Wilfried Bony, celebrating in midweek, will lead their attack in the absence of Sergio Aguero

Wayne Rooney v Wilfried Bony

Rooney excelled further forward against Everton last weekend after his barren run and may stay there. Few would bet against him improving his phenomenal derby record. Bony has huge boots to fill. He has not shown he is capable of doing that. Yet.

Rooney 7.5 Bony 7

TOTALS: United 84.5 City 85 

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, shielding a challenge, will hope to secure another derby victory

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, shielding a challenge, will hope to secure another derby victory

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