Manchester United and Manchester City combined XI
As Manchester United and Manchester City prepare to lock horns on Saturday, RealSport have drawn up a combined XI from both teams.
Manchester City can win the Premier League title in Saturday’s derby against Manchester United, breaking several records in the process.
With a number of other records still up for grabs – total points, goals scored, etc – for Manchester City, Mourinho will hope to delay the coronation for another seven days for when Guardiola & Co. travel to Wembley to face Tottenham.
Despite the positives, City will also have an eye on their Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Liverpool after losing heavily in the first leg.
For Manchester United, losing local bragging rights aside, they will want to keep hold of second place with Liverpool and Spurs hot on their heels as the seasons enters the final few weeks.
Here is RealSport’s combined XI composed of players from the two Manchester rivals:
GK – David de Gea
This was a tough decision.
Sweeper-keeper Ederson has been superb for Manchester City this season. Regularly mopping up attacks, the Brazilian’s ability to play out from the back is mesmerising with the former Benfica man displaying a range of passing most midfielders could only dream of.
However, De Gea gets the nod for this combined XI. He’s been Manchester United’s best player this campaign, with most critics agreeing that the Spaniard is the most talented goalkeeper on the planet.
A keeper’s primary function is to prevent the opposition from scoring, De Gea, with his superior shot-stopping ability, would be preferable to Ederson in a last ditch situation.
The stats don’t lie: De Gea has kept 16 Premier League clean sheets this season to Ederson’s respectable yet inferior tally of 14.
RB – Kyle Walker
Kyle Walker is having a stellar season in light blue following a reported £50 million move from Tottenham Hotspur last summer.
Under the tutelage of new boss Guardiola, the former Sheffield defender has developed a cute range of passing and his decision making has undoubtedly improved.
The 27-year-old’s lightning pace from right-back would make him an asset for most sides in world football, with the ability to overlap his attacking colleagues leading to a tally of six Premier League assists this campaign – proving that the Englishman isn’t a one-trick pace pony.
CB – Vincent Kompany
When Vincent Kompany is fit, he plays in this combined XI.
A demonstrable authority in defence, the former Anderlecht man gets the nod ahead of Manchester United’s solid but inexperienced Eric Bailly.
Kompany has most assets you’d want from a top-class central defender: experience, leadership, strength, intelligence, positional awareness – the only real flaw to the 31-year-old’s game is a lack of pace. But there are younger, faster colleagues to counteract that problem in this team.
Those dubious over the Belgian’s sublime defensive capabilities would do well to remember that he was named 23rd in a list detailing the 100 best footballers in the world by The Guardian’s in 2013.
And the stats back this up – in ten years at the Etihad Stadium, Kompany has made 1,470 clearances, 501 interceptions and won 1,160 duels. A mammoth in the pantheon of great Premier League defenders.
CB – John Stones
On paper, the perfect partner for Kompany, the former Barnsley boy’s pace would be enough to cover his defensive partner’s ageing, injury prone legs.
Stones also possesses an effective range of passing, the 23-year-old often steps out of defence to launch cunning and daring attacks for Guardiola’s men – even finding the net three times in five Champions League appearances.
The 24-time England international has been ever-present for the champions-elect and his improvement on last season’s sometimes shaky defensive displays optimises City’s progress.
Ashley Young – LB
Despite recently telling ESPN’s reporters he still sees himself as a winger, Ashley Young has readjusted his career and is now one of the most reliable left-backs in the Premier League.
The 32-year-old is just six games away from equalling his highest number of appearances in a season for Manchester United, having made 27 so far this term compared to the 33 he tallied during his first campaign in red in 2011-12.
The former Aston Villa man forced his way back into Gareth Southgate’s England and was praised for his man-of-the-match performance at fullback during United’s 2-1 Premier League victory against Liverpool last month.
Young, formerly of Watford, is a composed, dependable pick for this combined XI.
CDM – Nemanja Matic
As defensively-minded holding midfield players go, Nemanja Matic is about as consistent as they come in the Premier League.
The big Serbian has become a stalwart of Mourinho’s struggling midfield, leading the Portuguese supremo to dub his Matic an “island of personality” as he criticised the mentality of his Manchester United players after booking a place in the FA Cup semi-finals.
The 29-year-old adds a good engine to this combined XI, with the midfield general’s doggedness, determination and work rate allowing players with flair to wreak havoc in attack.
CM – David Silva
What can you say about David Silva that hasn’t already been said? The Spaniard has always been a classy operator but, under the wing of Guardiola, he has kicked on to world-class levels of performance.
The former Valencia player has scored eight times for the Citizens this season, adding 11 assists, and has been City’s most creative force over the last eight seasons, with no other player making as many assists (75) or creating as many chances (663) as the Spaniard since his arrival in England at the start of the 2010-11 season.
CM – Paul Pogba
Although Paul Pogba has flattered to deceive for much of Manchester United’s season so far, his talents still earn him a place in this combined XI.
With Matic and Silva emulating the skills of Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo during their time with Pogba at Juventus, the Frenchman would play from a proper platform, in a role in which he is more familiar.
Having Silva as a midfield companion would mean creative responsibility would be shared and Pogba, who has nine Premier League assists to his name this season, would be afforded the opportunity to shine once again.
RF – Kevin De Bruyne
Top of the Premier League assists chart with a remarkable 15, Kevin De Bruyne walks into this combined XI.
De Bruyne has attempted more crosses and played more through balls than anyone else in England’s top flight so far this campaign – but it’s the variety of passing that captures the imagination and memorises many, he is a creative genius.
The Belgian believes he is a shoe in for Premier League player of the year and, at present, only Mohammad Salah can seriously argue against the former Chelsea man.
ST – Marcus Rashford
The choice between Marcus Rashford, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus was difficult, however, the Englishman gets the nod.
Rashford’s pace is phenomenal and his finishing clinical, the 20-year-old forward would score a hat full playing alongside assisters supreme Leroy Sane, Pogba, Silva and De Bruyne.
Rashford has that big game temperament, too. He scored twice in his first-team debut in the Europa League, twice in his first Premier League match against Arsenal, also netting in his first Manchester derby match, his first League Cup match and his first Champions League match.
LF – Leroy Sane
Second in the Premier League assists stakes to teammate De Bruyne with 11 to his name, Leroy Sane has been a revelation for Guardiola’s table-topping side.
Scarily, the German attacking midfielder is just 22-years-old and has plenty of time to improve on an already stellar skillset. Chelsea legend recently Frank Lampard compared Sane to United legend Ryan Giggs due to his movement, intelligence and speed – and he’s onto something.
The former FC Schalke 04 man is often happiest completing the simple fundamentals and, crucially, likes to move the ball quickly.
We’ve all been impressed with Sane, who has scored 13 times for Pep Guardiola’s outfit this season, making him a solid pick for this combined XI.
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