Sunday evening marks the 191st Manchester derby, as Manchester United welcome Manchester City at Old Trafford in the Premier League.
While both teams come into the game off the back of a Premier League and Champions League victory, Manchester City will be firm favourites for the contest. The balance of power in Manchester has shifted in Man City’s favour and they are now chasing a record fourth straight Premier League title. They are yet to hit their stride in the league this season but have shown glimpses of their quality over the past week.
On the other hand, Manchester United have endured a difficult start to the campaign and languish eighth in the table. The Erik ten Hag-managed side’s form have improved in recent weeks but have plenty of issues to address before the derby.
On that note, we have compiled a combined Man United and Man City XI based on performances and form so far this season in the Premier League. Let’s roll.
Ederson edges out Onana
Man City’s Ederson is arguably the Premier League’s best goalkeeper and will be hoping to win the Golden Glove award this term. He has got off to a good start, keeping three clean sheets in eight league games.
In contrast, Andre Onana has copped criticism this term following his summer move to Man United from Inter Milan. He has endured a shaky start to life at Old Trafford and has made several mistakes since which have cost his side. Despite, the Cameroonian becoming a hero in midweek by saving a last-gasp penalty against FC Copenhagen in the Champions League to give Man United a crucial 1-0 win, Ederson remains the safe bet.
Man City dominate the backline
Man City have conceded six fewer league goals than Man United and rightly dominate this combined XI’s defence.
Injuries to Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka has disrupted stability at the back for Man United, forcing Ten Hag to constantly chop and change personnel. In contrast, City have had a steady backline led ably by Ruben Dias.
Dias partners Nathan Ake in central defence in the absence of Manuel Akanji, who is suspended for two bookable offences in City’s 2-1 win over Brighton last weekend. Kyle Walker gets the nod over Diogo Dalot at right-back, while summer signing Josko Gvardiol—primarily a centre-back—has impressed playing mostly at left-back and should complete the team’s rearguard.
Man City’s supremacy in midfield continues
Midfield sees the first addition of a United player, as Bruno Fernandes joins Rodri and Julian Alvarez. With Kevin de Bruyne out injured, Fernandes has to come in to offer creativity and vision alongside the red-hot Alvarez, who has registered four goals and three assists in nine league games.
Rodri is the best holding midfielder in the division, and with Fernandes’ creativity and Alvarez’s goalscoring form, that would be an insane midfield troika to have.
Erling Haaland leads the attack
The inevitable Erling Haaland plays at centre forward in this combined XI. He has nine goals in the league this season ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby—just two less than the tally netted by the entire United team. Phil Foden plays off the right, having flourished in Guardiola’s system this term in the injury absence of De Bruyne. As a result, Bernardo Silva narrowly misses out.
While Jeremy Doku has enjoyed a fine start to his City career, Marcus Rashford makes the cut to become the only second United player in the combined XI. Both players have the same goal contributions in the league but the England star’s remarkable campaign last year just gives him the edge over the City man on the left flank.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.