David de Gea
It is Manchester United v Manchester City. The top of the table clash between city-rivals is more important than ever considering what the stakes are- Pride and Points.
Manchester City’s unbeaten run across competitions ended midweek, after a second-string City side lost 2-1 to FC Shakhtar Donetsk. Pep hailed it as a much-needed defeat to his side.
This week, his side will go head-to-head with the best defence in the Premier League until now. Arguably the best goalkeeper in the world right now, David de Gea is a wall.
After his record equalling 14 saves against Arsenal, he is all set to face the likes of Aguero, Sane, KDB, Silva, Sterling and Jesus.
If United are to win, they need their shot-stopper on top form. Even his distribution of the ball to the forwards will be key when United counter-attack! Look out for the Spaniard.
Kevin de Bruyne
On the blue side of Manchester is the best midfielder in the Premier League this season-Kevin de Bruyne. The Belgian has been immense throughout the season almost running the entire show from defence to attack, single-handedly.
His linkup with the defence, the wingers and the way he switches the speed of play has been paramount in City’s success this season. It is interesting to note that over half of De Bruyne’s chances have come from set-piece situations.
ALSO READ : Jose beats Conte in the transfer market again!
When City break quickly, as they can do from defence with the pace of their front players and the distribution of Ederson and John Stones, they aim to get five players forward. De Bruyne is equally comfortable joining this attack or sitting, while his running style might seem languid he is a deceptively physical player.
Matic or Herrera, whoever is appointed the duty of tracking him need to do a stellar job, or the game will be over, just like last time in the same fixture.
The other infamous derby we get to witness this week is the Merseyside derby. The high-flying Liverpool host the resurgent Everton at Anfield. Blood will boil and nerves will crackle as the whistle will blow for kick-off.
Liverpool are on the back of a whopping 6-0 win in the Champions League. Everton too have been finding their form off-late and won 2-0 in the Europa League.
Liverpool are unbeaten against their neighbours since 2010, a run that stretches across 14 games in all competitions, and Jürgen Klopp’s side have won their last three league meetings against the Toffees.
Coutinho, with his first club-level hat trick under his belt, will be looking to leave a mark on the much-awaited match. He has been knocking on his best form off-late. The 4-man defence has allowed him to make late runs and go more forward with increased confidence in the defensive setup.
He will be key to the entire transition of play for the Reds, with Salah and Mane creating havoc on the wings and Firmino up top.
Keep your eyes on the Brazilian and his Samba moves.
Charlie Austin has been Southampton’s shining light for the last two gameweeks. He scored three goals in the last three games for the Saints.
He is in top form after returning from injury and is up against Arsenal at home. Austin could score again with Arsenal’s away weakness. He is good in the air, strong on his feet and aggressive. He can be handy for the Arsenal defence as they like to move forward with the team.
We think he will create some nuisance in the box and you must keep an eye on him.
Wayne Rooney will return to Anfield on Sunday. The ex-Manchester United forward will play against his old enemy for his boyhood club for the first time since returning.
He visited Manchester City and scored. He visited Arsenal and scored. With a hattrick in the last game and the team picking up form, he will be more than motivated to prove himself to be a nemesis for Liverpool.
The Liverpool defence is shaky when put under pressure and Wayne Rooney’s instinct and hunger can be the stimulus to break them. Liverpool will be looking to negate his influence and leadership.
Rooney must have dreamt of a fantastic homecoming but it has not been near any. With change in the management, Everton have won back-to-back league games following Allardyce’s appointment last week to climb up to 10th in the table.
The fire in Rooney’s belly is not out. He will look to wreck Liverpool’s ship and we will look out for him.