Premier League history beckons for Manchester City on Sunday (10 December). A victory over Manchester United will not only open up a 11 point advantage over their neighbours but it would also see them step ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea and confirm a new all-time Premier League record of consecutive victories with 14.
It was City who condemned Jose Mourinho to his first defeat as United boss last season as Pep Guardiola sealed an eighth career victory over his old La Liga nemesis. Since then, United have not lost on their own turf in all competitions and can break a club record if they can make it 41 undefeated on Sunday.
While it is United who face the biggest selection headache with Paul Pogba suspended, Guardiola set some alarm bells ringing this week after revealing the irrepressible David Silva is also a doubt. Not everyone is convinced, mind. Still hurt after seeing Alexandre Lacazette start for Arsenal against his side last Saturday despite Arsene Wenger ruling him out, Mourinho isn't buying it and believes the Spain international will somehow make a miraculous recovery in time for kick-off.
Guardiola opted to leave Silva in Manchester for City's trip to Shakhtar Donetsk, telling reporters earlier this week the midfielder suffered a "little problem" in the win over West Ham United, adding "hopefully he can play on Sunday."
While Mourinho is sceptical, we are inclined to believe Silva has picked up a small knock, although judging by his manager's comments, we don't expect it to rule him out. That means he and Kevin de Bruyne, who will be fresh from a midweek rest after being suspended for the Shakhtar game, could start together to wreak havoc. Fernandinho, left out of the starting XI against West Ham United with the threat of a fifth yellow card looming over him, will be back in to anchor the midfield.
Kyle Walker and Nicolas Otamendi both made the trip to Ukraine but didn't come off the bench in the 2-1 defeat. With John Stones not expected to return from a hamstring injury until after Christmas, Vincent Kompany is expected to partner the Argentine at the back, although the captain's omission from the squad on Wednesday [6 December] night was a strange one. Guardiola has explained Kompany "didn't feel good" with Fabian Delph also not featuring due to illness.
Raheem Sterling's recent form commands a place on the right, with Leroy Sane's substitution after an hour against Shakhtar suggesting he will start once again on the left. With Guardiola averse to picking both of them up front – at least until Benjamin Mendy is back from injury – he has a decision to make over whether Sergio Aguero or Gabriel Jesus leads his attack.
So who will it be? Aguero only played 20 minutes midweek, with the plan maybe to preserve him for the weekend until it became clear his services would be needed. Combine that with his fearsome record in Manchester derbies of seven goals in nine games and it should see him given the nod.