A combined Manchester XI: which United and City players make it into our team?

first_imgShare on Facebook Read more Barney Ronay Premier League Share on WhatsApp Topics Defence Kyle Walker’s greater pace and dynamism gives him an edge over Antonio Valencia. Eric Bailly is the best centre-back at either club but is injured, so Phil Jones, José Mourinho’s other first-choice for United, is an accomplished replacement. John Stones is also out, so Fernandinho can drop back from his normal holding berth. Left-back is a weak position at both clubs apart from Benjamin Mendy, who damaged a cruciate in September. Ashley Young, who with each match in the role convinces more, steps up.Defensive midfield Nemanja Matic is a natural holding player who is at ease controlling the tempo in front of the back four. His presence would free up others to join the attack.Attacking midfield How this quartet would enjoy playing with Matic behind them. Kevin De Bruyne’s cool head and killer touch – see his creation of David Silva’s winner against West Ham last Sunday – combines with a schemer’s 20-20 vision: the Belgian is Paul Scholes‑esque in his ability to mind‑map a contest and fashion it his side’s way. At the start of the year Raheem Sterling’s claim to a place in Pep Guardiola’s team appeared fragile; now he cannot be ignored. With 13 goals in 20 games and at just 23 years of age, he has become a match-winner for City, scoring the decisive goal in a game six times this season. David Silva’s glittering brilliance means he could operate in any of the positions behind the No9. Leroy Sané’s selection ahead of Anthony Martial is marginal. The Frenchman has been a key factor in United’s impressive campaign. His tally of eight in 23 against Sané’s eight in 24 is near-identical. Martial, though, is not yet an automatic inclusion in Mourinho’s best team, perhaps because of a tendency, on occasion, to run up blind alleys.Forwards Sergio Agüero has heeded Guardiola’s promptings to become a more rounded striker, scoring 12 times in 17 games. Romelu Lukaku and Gabriel Jesus may have claims, but the 29-year-old Argentinian walks into this team as the No9. Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter Manchester United features Share via Email Share on Messenger José Mourinho’s harry and hurry battle plan could unstitch Manchester City GoalkeeperSelection elsewhere has been affected by who is available but luckily that is not the case in goal. Ederson has been hugely impressive, so it is no slight that David de Gea, one of United’s two world-class footballers, is my choice. The Spaniard offers the consistent brilliance that marks all elite players and is touching greatness. His startling double save at Arsenal from Alexandre Lacazette’s shot and Alexis Sánchez’s rebound was so good it inspired his outfield team-mates to elevate their performance. The Observer Reuse this content Share on LinkedIn Manchester Citylast_img

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