One of the biggest matches of the 2018-19 Premier League season so far takes place on Sunday when Manchester United make the short trip to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City.
Jose Mourinho’s United have had a resurgence of late but their tally of 20 points from 11 games is still below expectations, while Pep Guardiola’s table-topping City have continued their fine form from last season and remain unbeaten in the league.
Every time two of the Premier League’s elite go head-to-head, you can expect to see people comparing the teams by putting together a combined XI from both squads.
With City boasting one of the best groups of players that English football has ever seen, it’s unlikely that many United players would be able to break into Guardiola’s side.
So, to mix things up a bit, let’s take a look at how many United players would likely get into a matchday squad of City’s best players, based on the following 18 names: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho, D. Silva, De Bruyne, B. Silva, Sterling, Aguero. Subs: Bravo, Kompany, Otamendi, Gundogan, Sane, Mahrez, Jesus.
David De Gea is one of the world’s best goalkeepers. The Spaniard would obviously get in the City squad in place of Claudio Bravo and, even though Ederson perfectly suits Guardiola’s playing style, there’s a good chance he would be the club’s No.1.
City have one of the meanest defences in the league (four goals conceded in 11 games), while United have conceded 18 in the same amount of time. So, needless to say, there isn’t much chance of a United defender getting in the City squad. The most realistic option would be Luke Shaw, but even then he would likely only start on the bench in place of a centre-back.
Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Marouane Fellaini, Fred and Ander Herrera are six of United’s most frequently used midfielders, but it’s doubtful that any of them would get into City’s best matchday squad. Paul Pogba, despite his critics, would likely replace Ilkay Gundogan on the City bench but he would find it tough breaking into the starting XI.
This is where it gets tricky. Nobody would replace Sergio Aguero up top for City, while Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez’s places in the squad are safe. Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus are two of the brightest young talents in the Premier League, but would their places be safe if Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku were around? If all five men were in their best form, Sane would probably keep his spot in the squad and Lukaku would come in for Jesus.
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