Manchester derby poised to become most expensive and most watched Premier League game in history


Yaya Toure believes Manchester City’s firepower will leave Manchester United fearful in Sunday’s derby at Old Trafford as football braces itself for the most expensive and possibly the most watched Premier League game in history.

City have the chance to open up an 11-point lead over their nearest rivals at the top of the table with a record equalling 14th consecutive league win in a game that will be beamed into one billion homes across 189 countries and could go a long way towards shaping the title race.

There are only four UN registered countries where the game will not be broadcast – North Korea, Cuba, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Moldova – and the match could yet challenge the biggest live audience in the Premier League era, when 4.081 million viewers watched City beat United 1-0 in April 2012 en route to lifting their first title for 44 years.

With the combined transfer value of the two teams’ starting XIs likely to top £650 million, despite the absence of almost £220 million of talent in Paul Pogba, who is suspended, and the injured trio of John Stones, Benjamin Mendy and Eric Bailly, the game is also expected to be the most expensive football has staged.

City suffered a first loss of the season in their 2-1 Champions League dead rubber defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in sub-zero temperatures on Wednesday night and only returned to Manchester on Thursday afternoon after a gruelling four-day stay to Ukraine.

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