Manchester United and Chelsea combined XI
As Manchester United and Chelsea prepare to clash on Sunday, RealSport have drawn up a combined XI from both teams
With the battle for top four hotting up, Manchester United welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford on Sunday.
Coming into this fixture off the back of a disappointing 0-0 draw against Sevilla in the Champions League, Jose Mourinho’s side will meet a Chelsea side still buoyed by their game against Barcelona mid-week, a game which Chelsea could, and perhaps should, have won.
Two teams, two draws, and yet two entirely different moods around both clubs.
One thing is certain, though, both teams have enough talent in their squads to make this a memorable fixture.
Here is an XI of players combined from the two teams:
GK – David de Gea
Although this may seem like an easy choice on paper, David de Gea edges Thibaut Courtois as a result of his unique shot-stopping ability.
We are all victims of our circumstances and goalkeepers are no different. Were David de Gea in a team who conceded fewer shots he might not be rated quite so highly. Were Thibaut Courtois a member of a team who did concede more shots he might be rated more highly.
Although Courtois’ all-around game is probably stronger than de Gea’s, in a game like this, you might feel safer with the Spaniard between the sticks.
RB – Cesar Azpilicueta
One of the most under-valued central defenders in world football, Azpilicueta is one of the first names on the teamsheet for this team.
Despite spending most of his career favoured for his remarkable positional flexibility, the man the Chelsea fans call Dave has made the right-hand side of a back three his own in recent seasons.
The Spaniard is not only a defensive asset: his role as a goal provider has also been important this season, building a particularly productive partnership with Alvaro Morata along the way.
CB – Eric Bailly
If Manchester United have looked defensively frail this season, then it is hard to look past the long absence of Eric Bailly as a cause.
With the Ivorian international missing through injury in recent months, Jose Mourinho’s famously ‘tight’ defence has looked a shadow of its former self.
Now that he is back in contention, Mourinho will be hoping his team have enough to keep themselves in the top four of the Premier League and progressing in the Champions League.
CB – Andreas Christensen
Andreas Christensen has been something of a revelation this season. One of the few players in Chelsea’s youth system to knuckle down, head abroad and push themselves through development in another country, he has returned looking everything like a complete central defender.
Extending his competences to include Champions League football this season, there were few who thought the young Dane would topple David Luiz from his position in the centre of a back three but he has.
At this rate, Christensen could become a Chelsea legend.
LB – Marcos Alonso
No surprises here. Marcos Alonso is one of the most accomplished left-sided defenders in the world.
Despite failing to impress at Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland, it wasn’t until Alonso came to Chelsea that he finally attained recognition in England.
With enough of an engine to push forward in attack and recover well enough to defend, Alonso is a real asset for a manager playing a wing back system.
CDM – N’Golo Kante
A player who needs very little introduction, N’Golo Kante is one of the few players who has won the Premier League in consecutive seasons with different clubs.
It isn’t hard to see how, though. With his incorrigible capacity to win the ball back from the opposition before transitioning it into an attacking phase for his team, Kante is probably the best defensively-minded central midfielder in the world.
He isn’t going to win the Premier League this season but he is an easy inclusion in this combined XI.
CM – Paul Pogba
Although Pogba’s star has fallen somewhat in recent weeks, it is hard to avoid his inclusion in this team.
A rangy midfielder with an uncanny ability to dribble past players, he offers an important attacking focal point for Manchester United, leading many pundits to comment on how ‘when Pogba plays well, Manchester United play well’.
Although his defensive role in a midfield has been questioned, alongside N’Golo Kante the Manchester United midfielder would be allowed the freedom to excel – as shown by the pairs performances for France.
CM – Cesc Fabregas
Although there are many miles in his aging Spanish legs, Cesc Fabregas offers a remarkable creativity that both Manchester United and Chelsea have struggled to attain in recent months.
Defensively lax, Fabregas can only really function in a midfield three these days although on Tuesday night, he pulled off an impressive performance against Barcelona playing alongside N’Golo Kante.
With such a talent-filled front three as Fabregas would be playing behind in this combined XI, it is hard not to include him.
RF – Alexis Sanchez
There are those who doubt the usefulness of Alexis Sanchez in a coherent football team and it’s not hard to see why.
The living, breathing instantiation of Nietzsche’s Superman, the Chilean tries to do everything he can to get his team winning.
Whilst this is a problem for most sides, for this stellar cast Alexis would offer an extra je ne sais quoi which could give them the air of unexpectedness.
CF – Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku, we are told, is a flat-track bully.
This, whilst undoubtedly true, is also a little disingenuous. Mourinho’s tactics hardly suit the Belgian who is given chances so few and far between that they accrue pressure that would cause anyone to struggle.
Fed by a midfield of Pogba and Fabregas and flanked by Eden Hazard, it is hard to see Lukaku doing anything short of thriving in this side.
LF – Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard is having an impressive season even by his own standards. Whilst Chelsea have hardly covered themselves in glory this year, the diminutive Belgian player has been a stand-out player regardless of how the rest of his team perform.
Touted to be heading to Real Madrid in the summer, Chelsea fans will be savouring every last moment that they can enjoy from the little attacker.
If he does manage to find his way to the Bernabeu, Hazard could even be an outside contender for the Ballon d’Or.
Disagree with our selections? Let us know by commenting below.