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07th Dec 2017

Who makes our Manchester derby combined XI?

This wasn't easy to make

Matthew Gault

This was a bastard to make.

The headline Premier League fixture this weekend between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford throws up a lot of talking points. With the title race, the Mourinho-Guardiola history and the general intensity of the rivalry between the clubs, there is plenty to discuss ahead of the first Manchester derby of the season.

There is also the question of who would make a combined line-up of the two sides. After plenty of tactical tinkering, statistical comparisons and so on, we have a team.

Here it is *runs for cover*.

David De Gea picked himself really. Ederson is a considerable upgrade for City on Claudio Bravo, but he’s not quite on the same level as the Spaniard. He is getting there though.

Kyle Walker over Antonio Valencia was a tough one, but the England international’s four assists this season helped him edge the experienced United man. John Stones and Eric Bailly have done enough this season to convince us of their credentials. Nicolas Otamendi and Marcos Rojo came close to being included.

Ashley Young has been remarkable for United of late, so he’s earned his berth at left-back.

Assembling a midfield was stressful. It’s obviously a risk not having a naturally defensively-minded midfielder, like Nemanja Matic or Fernandinho, in there but Paul Pogba is more than capable of doing that job, while it allows the Frenchman to spray those heat-seeking passes from deep and allow Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva to influence the game further up.

Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero have nine goals apiece so they were straightforward inclusions, while Anthony Martial’s blistering recent form clinched him a spot on the left over Leroy Sane.