This will be the game of the year. Two giants going at it against each other for the league title. Manchester United leads the league table with 36 points while Manchester City trails behind in second with 33 points. Both teams need this win, but how far will they go to get it?

United will travel to the Etihad Stadium holding a three-point lead over the champions, with neither team having hit top form so far.

While City remains unbeaten but yet to show the kind of attacking spark that swept the team to the title last season, United has relied on its star-studded strikeforce to make up for its shaky defending.

United manager Alex Ferguson is so exasperated by his side's defending that he compared it this week to a kids' television program in his native Scotland, "Cartoon Cavalcade."

"It's a worry," said Ferguson, whose team has fallen behind in 15 of its 23 games this season. "If we perform like that on Sunday, then God knows what's going to happen to us."

The emergence of big spending City — once famously described by Ferguson as "the noisy neighbors" — has rapidly made the Manchester derby arguably the most high-profile match in English football.

Having lost both league matches to City last season — including a humiliating 6-1 defeat at home — United would take great pleasure in ending the only unbeaten record in all four of England's leagues. "If we win, it will be one of our best ever results," Ferguson said. "They are a really good, powerful team with massive players."

City can focus its attention on the Premier League after getting knocked out of the Champions League, and not even making the Europa League after losing to Borussia Dortmund 1-0 on Tuesday. "Clearly this can help us win the Premier League because we don't play in the Europa League," City manager Roberto Mancini said.