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Sky Blue News: Derby Day Approaching, Haaland v Martinez, Pep Presser, and More...

Saturday headlines as we zero in on derby day.

Manchester City Training & Press Conference Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

We’ve made it to the weekend, and we are now on the final day before Manchester City host Manchester United in the 188th Manchester Derby. Here are the latest headlines from around the web to get you going from Sky Blue News.

Man City vs Man Utd: Erling Haaland vs Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez plus other key battles - Dan Sansom - Sky Sports

Sansom looks at the important matchups for the derby.

City have scored 23 goals in the Premier League so far this season, more than any other side. Erling Haaland has scored almost half of those (11).

The 22-year-old, who has found the net 14 times in all competitions since joining from Borussia Dortmund, is likely to come up against Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez on Sunday. Manchester United’s new centre-back pairing has been key to their recent mini-revival, but there is no tougher test in football right now than facing the world’s most prolific No 9.

City scored 99 goals in the league last season on their way to the title, and that was without Haaland. They hit United for four in the previous derby back in March.

Manchester City v Manchester United: Preview, Team News and Prediction - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue

Saul has your preview, with a look at each club’s current form.

City return from the international break in second place in the Premier League with five wins and two draws from the seven matches so far this season. In the league so far, City have scored 23 goals and conceded just six.

United have 12 points from six matches so far in the league this season, winning four and losing twice. They have a goal difference of 0, having scored and conceded eight goals.

A fun match is ahead as a new matchup provides much entertainment. Ten Haag vs Guardiola!

Which team will come out in front?

‘Keep away from him’ - Carragher offers Martinez strange advice for dealing with Haaland in Manchester derby - Gill Clark -

Erling will be a tall order for Martinez. Can the Argentinian rise to the task?

WHAT HAPPENED? The former Liverpool defender turned television pundit has previewed the Manchester derby and shared his thoughts on how Martinez can cope with the immense threat of Haaland. The City striker has scored 12 goals in his last eight matches for club and country and heads into the game in red-hot form.

WHAT THEY SAID: ”The best advice Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag can offer Lisandro Martínez about dealing with Erling Haaland is to keep away from him,” he wrote in The Telegraph. “Some battles can be won by outmuscling or outplaying an opponent. Other players need out-thinking. Martínez must be at his smartest to get the better of his Manchester City rival this weekend.”

Carragher added that Martinez may need to curb his desire to hunt down and tackle Haaland because the striker: “will be waiting for him to dive into challenges knowing one mistake can be fatal.”

Can Lisandro Martinez stop Erling Haaland from scoring again in Manchester derby showdown? - Mark Ogden - ESPN

Lisandro has helped to keep Haaland goalless before.

If Martinez, likely with the help of defensive partner Raphael Varane, can enjoy another 90 minutes without allowing Haaland to score, then United’s prospects of beating Pep Guardiola’s team will be far greater. Yet Haaland is proving to be almost unstoppable in a City shirt.

In 10 games in all competitions for his new club, the 22-year-old has scored 14 goals and only Bournemouth — yes, Bournemouth, who lost 9-0 at Liverpool — have stopped him scoring in a competitive fixture. And even though he failed to net in City’s 4-0 win against the Cherries, he still registered an assist, finding a way to make a telling contribution.

Pep Talk: “It’s important, big rival. Try to figure out what we’re going to do and what we can do to beat them.” - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue

The boss is ready for United’s best on Sunday at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola is a man confident in his team. He will need it as the gauntlet from now until the World Cup will take its toll on the staff and players. Speaking in is pre game presser he spoke about the Manchester Derby, injuries, match congestion and much more.

Let’s dive in-

On derby

“I always expect the best, they have it for many years, they come with a resolve. Top side, against Southampton, Liverpool and Arsenal at home. The momentum is there...”

“It’s important, big rival. Try to figure out what we’re going to do and what we can do to beat them. You don’t have to make extra emotion. The stadium will be full, supporters behind us, they know we’ll do our best...”

“In Spain, Barcelona and Madrid, it is more noisy in the days before, more media, everything. The rest, in Germany, here, you can work. Enjoy to watch the derby...”

“It’s Man United!” - Pep Guardiola pre Manchester United Press Conference - Colin Cranmer - City Report

Injury updates from Pep. Stones is out, and Aymeric is getting close.

Pep Guardiola is back and he gave fitness updates of several first team players ahead of the Manchester derby this Sunday. The boss also discussed the rivalry with Manchester United, and their manager Erik Ten Hag, as well as touching on Erling Haaland, Manuel Akanji, and others.

John Stones pulled up with a hamstring injury on England duty:

“He will be back then he’s ready. It won’t be four to six weeks, it might be less. I don’t know when he will be back but two weeks, ten days hopefully.”

Aymeric Laporte is nearing a return:

“He’s training really well, [he] trained alone when people were with the national teams...”

“A long time injured, important is [he is] in training [and] he moves well, ability with the pass is exceptional. Important to come back in this crazy schedule. For him as well.”

“It’s different [this season], we had no other option last season [in central defence], we had Fernandinho to help us. If we decide to play with Aymer[ic Laporte], we [will] do it, but we don’t have to urgently [rush him back]. We have Manu[el Akanji], Ruben [Dias], Nathan [Ake]...”

Kevin De Bruyne looking to surpass Steven Gerrard Premier League assist tally - Oliver Thomas - Sports Mole

And finally... KDB looks to pass a Liverpool legend in career Premier League assists against the arch-rivals.

The Belgium international has notched up a total of 92 Premier League assists, which puts him joint-seventh on the all-time list along with Liverpool legend Gerrard.

De Bruyne, who has remarkably reached the same tally as Gerrard in 287 fewer games, will move ahead of the former England captain if he sets up one of his Man City teammates in the Manchester derby this weekend.

Providing one assist would also see him draw level with Citizens legend David Silva (93) in sixth place on the all-time list for assists and move just one behind former Arsenal star Dennis Bergkamp (94) in fifth place.

De Bruyne should have no problems in surpassing all three players at some stage this season, and he will soon set his sights on becoming only the fifth player in Premier League history to record 100 assists in the competition.

Ryan Giggs currently tops the all-time assist charts with a whopping 162 assists during his trophy-laden 24-year career at Man United.

There you have it Cityzens. Enjoy your Saturday., and come back tomorrow for all the latest on derby day from Bitter and Blue.