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Three huge duels that will decide the weekend’s Manchester derby

Manchester City

Three huge duels that will decide the weekend’s Manchester derby

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The coming Manchester derby is set up to become one of the greatest rivalry fixtures in recent Premier League seasons, with managerial masterminds Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola going head to head for the first time since their Spanish La Liga days.

With both teams registering a number of incoming signings throughout the summer transfer window, there are likely to be key battles on and off the field at Old Trafford on Saturday – with Mark Clattenburg given the keep the game under control.

New and old faces will meet in defensive, midfield and attack, yet contrasting formational tactics may lead to fresh rivalries. We take a look at three potentially crucial match-ups which could determine who tops the Premier League table heading into the fifth week of the current regime.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs John Stones

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You could call it experience versus youth, but this match-up is set to be most defiant at Old Trafford this Saturday and will no-doubt determine the result of the game come the final whistle.

Both players arrived in Manchester following transfers this summer, with John Stones becoming one of the most expensive defensive professionals at £47.5million from Everton.

Although Zlatan became available as a free agent following another successful season at Paris Sain- Germain, it would be difficult to argue against the striker proving his worth with his tantalising start of four goals in four competitive starts this season.

The battle on the field will in the most part demand Stones to contain the physicality of the Swedish international, known for his acrobatic finishing techniques and aerial threat.

Whether Pep Guardiola will deploy two central defenders to mark Ibrahimovic is yet to be seen, however it is likely that the new 22-year-old Manchester City centre-half will be thoroughly tested in his first Manchester derby in a blues shirt.

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