Manchester City can rightfully claim to be the most in-form team in world football right now.

With 21 wins in succession, Pep Guardiola's team have extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to 14 points, can still win a historic quadruple, and are just four more wins from breaking the world record for the most wins in a row, set by Brazilian side Coritiba in 2011.

Of their 21 wins, each opponent has given their best shot to upset City, but Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United have all fallen in their wake.

But United will get a second bite at the cherry, and it is one that they have proven they can take.

On Sunday, the pair meet in the third Manchester derby of the season. The first was a 0-0 draw in December, before City squeezed through the Carabao Cup semi-final in January with a 2-0 win.

However, over the past few years, United have more than matched their great rivals. In fact, no team has beaten City more times than United since the start of the 2019/20 season.

With those wins in mind, here are three ways that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team have already proven that they can hurt City.

Unleash Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford has scored four goals in 10 games against Man City. Only against Chelsea and Leicester has he netted more.

The England international has shown he can be prolific in big games - the top-four teams he has scored the most goals against are Chelsea, Leicester, City, and Liverpool.

And against City, he has a special knack for exploding on the counter-attack.

In one of United's best performances under Solskjaer, a 2-1 win over City in December 2019, it was Rashford who caused Kyle Walker problems all game.

Rashford won a penalty with his direct dribbling, converting it himself. He hit the crossbar after another lung-busting break forward off the ball and was a constant menace alongside the speed of Daniel James and Anthony Martial, the latter pair combining for United's second goal.

Whether it's through the middle or off the left flank, United will hope Rashford can rediscover his best form against a formidable City defence.

Compact central areas and counter

It is no secret that City want to dominate central midfield. In a recent 1-0 win over Arsenal, they played without a recognised centre-forward and had Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, and Phil Foden all on the pitch at the same time.

However, in recent contests with City, United have compacted central areas excellently, forcing City out wide and way from the most dangerous zones on the pitch.

The defensive midfield pairing of Scott McTominay and Fred is perfectly suited to this type of game.

They are both extremely athletic and energetic, more than willing to chase the ball for long periods. They can hound and harass opponents, clog up passing lanes, and recover their positions quickly if City are able to work the ball around them quick enough.

The pair proved this in the 2-1 win over City in December 2019. Fred and Nemanja Matic then replicated that performance in March 2020 as Solskjaer shifted to a back three.

In that match, McTominay was introduced off the bench to secure the winning goal after an Ederson error.

And in the 0-0 draw earlier this season, it was Fred and McTominay's tireless work in midfield that mostly held City at bay.

Counter quickly and directly

The emergence of James in recent matches may continue at the weekend. The Welsh international has proven himself in Manchester derbies previously, and his speed is ideal to United's counter-attacking approach.

Alongside Rashford and one of Martial or Mason Greenwood, while perhaps not in the best form, it comprises a direct, ferociously quick, and frightening front three that can expose the space that City will leave when they push forwards.

Of course, this front three have caused City problems in the past. But United also have to get the ball to them in space with accurate passes before City are able to reset and find their defensive structure.

In Bruno Fernandes, United have one of the best passers in the Premier League. He can find raking passes from any part of the pitch. Then there is Fred and McTominay.

While their ability to cover ground and protect the backline is vital, both - and especially McTominay - are powerful and calm enough to break out of the City press.

Manchester United were held to a 0-0 draw by Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players were frustrated for the third goalless game in succession, dropping more points to allow Man City to streak away at the Premier League's summit, on a poor day for the forwards.

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Upon turnovers, they have the quality to protect the ball, the athleticism to carry it forward, and then the quality to feed United's pacier, more dangerous attacking players on the counter-attack.

There are few teams better-suited to a recoiled-spring-like approach, and McTominay and Fred's presence in midfield is crucial to that.

United have proven that they can hurt City in the past. Now, however, they must do it against the very best version of Guardiola's team.