Pep Guardiola's side have been almost perfect so far this season, winning 14 of their 15 encounters to sit comfortably clear of the chasing pack at the summit of the standings. They have scored a mammoth 46 goals up to now and conceded only 10, proving too strong for virtually every other team who have stood in their way. It has not all been plain sailing in the 10 days or so, however: City have won each of their last three outings in the top flight by a single goal, beating Huddersfield Town, Southampton and West Ham United 2-1. They have not quite been at their fluent best in those matches, but it is testament to the Citizens’ quality and character that they have nevertheless found a way to collect maximum points on each occasion.
Manchester United were victorious when they last took to the field, overcoming Arsenal 3-1 in an epic encounter at the Emirates Stadium. Jose Mourinho’s men raced into a two-goal lead in the opening 11 minutes, but the Gunners came on strong and United required an exceptional performance from goalkeeper David de Gea to make sure of the triumph. The Red Devils may be eight points adrift of table-toppers City heading into Sunday’s showdown, but they deserve credit for not slipping further behind their rivals after difficult recent assignments at Watford and Arsenal.
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The big loss for United is that of Paul Pogba, who was sent off in the Arsenal victory and will therefore miss out this weekend through suspension. Marouane Fellaini remains sidelined with a knee injury, as do Eric Bailly and Michael Carrick, but Mourinho said in midweek that Phil Jones has a chance of returning in the heart of the home side's backline. Mourinho opted for a three-man defence at the Emirates Stadium but will probably revert to four at the back in this one, with Ander Herrera likely to slot in alongside Nemanja Matic - who is not 100 per cent fit himself - in midfield. Marcus Rashford is another who could start, although Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard will hope to keep their places in the starting XI after terrific displays in north London last Saturday.
Silva will have to be assessed before kick-off, with Guardiola revealing on Tuesday that he "felt something uncomfortable" when stretching to score the winner against West Ham. Benjamin Mendy is a long-term absentee with a knee injury, meanwhile, and John Stones is not yet ready to return from a hamstring issue. Gabriel Jesus could lead the line for the visitors instead of Sergio Aguero, who has looked a little out of sorts in recent weeks, while Fernandinho is set to return to the starting line-up after being rested in the clash with West Ham. Ilkay Gundogan is likely to be the man to replace Silva if the Spain international is not fit enough to feature, with club captain Vincent Kompany in line to continue alongside Nicolas Otamendi at the back.
United may have won every Premier League game at Old Trafford so far this term, but they could come unstuck against their neighbours on Sunday. City have been scintillating up to now and will probably have too much attacking quality for the Red Devils, who will miss Pogba's invention and spark in the centre of the pitch. An away win with both teams to score is one wager worth considering, while over 2.5 goals to be netted in total is another option. As far as an anytime goalscorer is concerned, Jesus could be an astute choice.