Manchester City will have the chance to open up a 12-point gap over rivals Manchester United in the Premier League when they welcome Jose Mourinho’s men to the Etihad on Sunday for the first Manchester derby of the season.
And one man Pep Guardiola is almost certain to look to in his side’s chase for all three points is Raheem Sterling.
The 23-year-old has been in terrific form this campaign, scoring five goals including a brace in Manchester City’s recent 6-1 win over Southampton.
As for Manchester United, Anthony Martial will be their danger man after finding the back of the net on four occasions last month.
With that in mind, how do the two young forwards compare?
Speaking on Sky Sports’ recent Monday Night Football about Sterling, pundit and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher told viewers: “We always talk about Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, but he [Sterling] is now in that company.” And he could not have been more right.
Sterling’s numbers alone suggest he is equally as important if not more than the above names.
In Manchester City’s record-breaking title win last season, the England international managed to score 18 league goals while providing 11 assists along the way — tremendous numbers he is well on course to matching again or even possibly beating this term.
That, on top of the overall threat Sterling brings to attack with his pace and dribbling, has seen him become such a pivotal figure in the Manchester City squad for Guardiola.
And at 23 years of age, the ex-Liverpool man will only get better, especially if his development continues to be overseen by his Spanish boss.
TT Grade: A+
Martial’s numbers over the last couple of Premier League seasons are not as good as Sterling’s, but that is largely down to the fact that he has not been an automatic starter under Jose Mourinho.
Ability wise, there is nothing stopping the Frenchman from reaching the figures of his Manchester City rival. When it comes to finishing, Martial may just be the best in the Premier League.
As well as his skill in front of goal, Martial is also a terrific dribbler, capable of beating any of the division’s full-backs in a 1v1.
Considering all of that, Manchester United must do all they can to get the 22-year-old to put pen to paper on a new contract.
Under the right circumstances, Martial could easily become a world-class left winger or No.9.
TT Grade: A-
When comparing technical ability, Martial probably edges Sterling. The Manchester United man is the better finisher and a more dangerous dribbler.
However, of late, in terms of impact and influence, Sterling beats the France international by some distance.
Sterling has been way more consistent and played a momentous role in his side’s recent title triumph. Therefore, the Manchester City forward is the victor in this battle.