Ashley Young

AP Photo/Dave Thompson

Key battles in the Manchester Derby

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Paul Pogba‘s suspension has changed the dynamic of Sunday’s huge Manchester Derby at Old Trafford.

The tantalizing concept of a duel between Pogba and Kevin De Bruyne has been stripped from the Top Two tilt, leaving Jose Mourinho likely to resort to defensive-first tactics in a bid to close the table gap to five points by handing Man City its first league loss of the season.

[ MORE: Champions League favorites ]

It was never going to be easy, and City was able to rest many of its top players at midweek while United mathematically needed its result to clinch a spot in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds.

Sergio Aguero and/or Gabriel Jesus vs. United’s center backs

There’s a question whether City’s all-time leading scorer will play against Manchester United, though his days of dominating the derby go back in time. Aguero scored six goals in four Manchester Derbies culminating with a brace to finish the 2014-15 season, but an injury, a suspension, and two shutouts mean he hasn’t scored against United since then. United has allowed a Premier League best nine goals this season, one fewer than second-best City.

Romelu Lukaku versus himself

Manchester United’s eight-goal striker has not been able to escape criticism of his record against the top teams in Europe, and Sunday provides a huge chance to shut up his critics. Sure he scored against Real Madrid in the Super Cup, but he’s been kept off the score sheet this season against Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool (He posted a critical assist against Spurs).

It seems odd to say, but City could provide some comfort to Lukaku. The 24-year-old Belgian scored against City twice last season for Everton in a 1-1 draw at City and a 4-0 win at Goodison Park.

Dominant De Gea versus everyone but Ederson

Manchester United’s incredible Spanish keeper conspired with a trio of Arsenal defensive flubs to pick up a 3-1 win over the Gunners last weekend, but De Gea was the primary reason for the win (including a remarkable double save). De Gea allowed a pair of goals to City at Old Trafford last season before posting a clean sheet at the Etihad Stadium, and he’ll be dealing with Leroy Sane… and Kevin De Bruyne… and Raheem Sterling… and on… and on…. and on.

Bonus: What happens out wide?

Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have been very good for Mourinho, and have plenty of derby experience. Kyle Walker is no shrinking violet, either, and the battles to send in crosses could make as much of a difference as the incisive ideas in the middle of the park.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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It is time to take stock on who’s on fire in the Premier League right now.

[ MORE: Power Rankings archive ]

Players from Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man United dominate our rankings, which is no surprise given that they’re the form teams in the PL.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections of the top 20 players in the PL right now.

  1. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Up 1
  2. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Down 1
  3. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – Down 1
  4. David De Gea (Man United) – New entry
  5. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) – Up 3
  6. Raheem Sterling (Man City) – Down 3
  7. David Silva (Man City) – Even
  8. Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) – Down 4
  9. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – New entry
  10. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – Down 4
  11. Alvaro Morata (Chelsea) – New entry
  12. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) – New entry
  13. Paul Pogba (Man United) –  Down 2
  14. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) – Down 4
  15. Ashley Young (Man United) – Up 5
  16. Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) – New entry
  17. Jesse Lingard (Man United) – New entry
  18. Richarlison (Watford) – Down 2
  19. Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford) – Even
  20. Charlie Austin (Southampton) – New entry

Premier League player Power Rankings

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With the games coming thick and fast, there has been plenty of movement in our Power Rankings over the past seven days.

[ MORE: Power Rankings archive ]

Players from Manchester City, Arsenal and Man United dominate our rankings with multiple players from Liverpool and Leicester also popping up and plenty of new entries.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections of the top 20 players in the PL right now.

  1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Up 1
  2. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Down 1
  3. Raheem Sterling (Man City) – New entry
  4. Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) – Up 1
  5. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – Down 1
  6. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – Down 3
  7. David Silva (Man City) – Up 1
  8. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) – New entry
  9. Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) – New entry
  10. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) – Down 3
  11. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Up 4
  12. Paul Pogba (Man United) – Down 7
  13. Kyle Walker (Man City) – Even
  14. Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
  15. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – Down 3
  16. Richarlison (Watford) – Up 1
  17. Wayne Rooney (Everton) – New entry
  18. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – New entry
  19. Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford) – New entry
  20. Ashley Young (Man United) – New entry

Ranking the golazos from a dazzling Premier League day

AP Photo/Rui Vieira
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There were only four Premier League matches to kick off Tuesday’s midweek fun, and all but one had a sensational goal.

If not more than one.

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to wild win ]

It’s hard to put them in order, but it’s easier to put them in one place. Here’s our best quick-fire guess. VOTE at bottom, and hit the comments to let us know if we’re off.

BONUS: Sam Field opens his Premier League account thanks to Matty Phillips’ impeccable cross in West Brom’s 2-2 draw with Newcastle United.

5) Jesse Lingard dribbles for days to restore Manchester United’s multi-goal lead.

4) Ashley Young hits an acute shot through traffic to give Manchester United an early lead.

3) Leicester City gets Riyad Mahrez to call back to his Premier League title-winning years with a gorgeous left-footed effort.

2) Jamie Vardy‘s deft pop helps Leicester upset struggling Tottenham Hotspur.

1) Ashley Young’s free kick fit for the all-time highlight vault.

Young’s beautiful brace leads Man Utd

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  • Young scores pretty pair (video)
  • Martial makes it 3-0
  • Rojo concedes PK
  • Lingard solo dribble ends it

Ashley Young scored two goals and Anthony Martial also netted as Manchester United used a huge first half to beat Watford 4-2 at Vicarage Road on Tuesday.

Jesse Lingard put the match to bed after Troy Deeney and Abdoulaye Doucore scored second half goals to pull Watford within one.

United is now five points back of Man City, which plays Wednesday versus Southampton.

Watford fails to reach the Top Four, and remains eighth with 22 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Victor Lindelof bodied Richarlison off the ball before a cross could reach him in the seventh minute as Manchester United dodged the first threat of the match.

And Watford was largely on the front foot for the first quarter hour, as Will Hughes continued his prominent role in the team and Richarlison remained a challenge for the opposition.

Young gave United a second goal in as many matches, this one credited to him, as he hit a shot from the left that beat Heurelho Gomes to the near post.

Paul Pogba won a 24th minute free kick during a 50-yard dribble through the heart of the midfield. Abdoulaye Doucore saw yellow, and Young stepped to the plate with a fantastic, swerving free kick goal.

Martial added a third in the 32nd minute, running to the top of the 18 to hit a low shot to the left of a diving Gomes.

Romelu Lukaku‘s 45th minute rip was stopped by a Gomes dive, and the keeper popped up to stop Jesse Lingard’s rebound.

Richarlison missed a header just before the halftime whistle.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Lukaku had a sadly funny miss in the 75th minute. Cued up alone with an empty net, he dribbled out of a chance to make it 4-0 to compound his struggles and confound his supporters.

Roberto Pereyra won a penalty in the 77th minute, dribbling past Marcos Rojo. The back’s rescue tackle was quite poor, and Deeney didn’t miss from the spot.

Deeney then got higher than Chris Smalling to head on goal.

Watford continued to control play, and Marco Silva‘s men pulled within one when Doucoure connected with a cross. The Hornets would have seven minutes to find an equalizer.