Ahead of the much anticipated Manchester Derby this Saturday, I put together my combined Manchester United – Manchester City Combined XI, based on current form and my own opinions.
David de Gea – The obvious choice for goalkeeper in this team. Not only is he the best goalkeeper between the two Manchester clubs but he is also one of the best goalkeepers on the entire planet. Time will tell how Claudio Bravo settles at the Etihad but, for now, it has to be David de Gea.
Antonio Valencia – Not only is Valencia underrated in the role but he has also reinvigorated himself under José Mourinho who has transformed him once again into a nuisance going forward. Valencia has also been part of a defence that has only conceded once this Premier League season to date.
Vincent Kompany – Vincent Kompany is a shoe in for any team. He has been the standout for Manchester City for many, many years now and remains one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, if not the best.
Daley Blind – The Dutchman has garnered many plaudits at the start of this season for his performances, and deservedly so. He has grown immensely into his role at the heart of the defence by making up for his height and strength deficiencies by using his pure intelligence when it comes to positioning. He also meshes so well with Eric Bailly that Chris Smalling will find it difficult to get into the team.
Luke Shaw – Much like Kompany and De Gea, Shaw is a certainty for the left-back. Always willing to go forward while also being sound defensively, Shaw is certainly one of the stand-out left-backs in the Premier League. He will be looking to have the breakthrough season he could have had last season if it were not for his horrific injury vs PSV Eindhoven.
Fernandinho – I am a sucker for balance in any XI I choose so, while it was incredibly tempting to put Kevin De Bruyne into this team, I have opted for Fernandinho as a holding midfielder. Acting as an enforcer in front of the City back 4, it is Fernandinho who allows the flair players such as Silva, Sterling, De Bruyne and Nolito to do damage at the other end of the pitch. He has also chipped in with a goal and assist so far for City this season.
David Silva – The maestro of Manchester City, David Silva has remained one of the club’s standout performers for many years. Having already registered a goal and assist this season, Pep Guardiola will hope that Silva stays fit as the Spaniard will be key to whatever success City have this season.
Paul Pogba – I just could not leave him out of this team, could I? The world’s most expensive player will hope to leave his mark on the derby this coming Saturday. While the price tag is difficult to justify, the Frenchman will still be a thorn in the side of Manchester City if given the freedom he was not afforded at the Euros this past summer. A powerful, quick, and creative player, Pogba is someone that could truly change the game this weekend.
Sergio Aguero – It speaks to the importance of Aguero to this Manchester City team that, with him now suspended for the game at Old Trafford, City’s chances of winning have shrunk. The Argentinean has been nothing short of a sensation since he has arrived at the Etihad, scoring 105 goals in 152 games for the club in the Premier League. He will be a massive miss for City this weekend and his absence will give United a huge boost.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Well, obviously! The big Swede arrived to England with a massive reputation and an even bigger amount of expectation, and with good reason. He has scored 372 goals in his entire career, spanning 8 clubs, and 6 countries. He has not disappointed in the Premier League so far either, having scored 3 goals in 3 appearances. He will be full of confidence going into this Saturday.
Raheem Sterling – Rounding out the XI is a player who has reinvented himself under Pep Guardiola this season. After a difficult debut campaign last season, Sterling appears to have found his footing in the team and his form reflects that. He has contributed 2 goals and 3 assists so far this season which sees him edge out Anthony Martial who, while having an immense amount of raw talent which will see him become one of the world’s finest someday, has not had the same impact on this season as Sterling has.
Final XI (4-3-3) – De Gea – Valencia – Kompany – Blind – Shaw ;Fernandinho – Silva – Pogba ; Aguero – Ibrahimovic – Sterling.