Jose Mourinho meets Pep Guardiola yet again in the next round of Premier League fixtures as Manchester United meet Manchester City in the first Manchester Derby of the season. The old foes will go head-to-head at Old Trafford both looking to get one over one their counterpart.
Both clubs have invested heavily in their squads this summer with City using Guardiola’s knowledge of the Bundesliga to sign the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane whilst United have recruited the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and resigned Paul Pogba for a record transfer fee.
But who would make a combined XI of the two Premier League heavyweights?
Goalkeeper – David de Gea
Despite City signing ex-Barcelona keeper, Claudio Bravo, following Joe Hart’s loan move to Torino, Manchester United’s David de Gea is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world. After a shaky start to life in England, de Gea has blossomed into a fine shot-stopper at Old Trafford and is vital to the success of the Red Devils. His performance is likely to impact the result of the early kick-off on Saturday.
Right-Back – Antonio Valencia
Antonio Valencia has developed into a quality right-back following his move to defence under Louis van Gaal. The former Wigan winger was initially tested at the back due to an injury crisis but Mourinho has opted to move the Ecuadorian back to defence in place of Matteo Darmian. Valencia has hit top form this season already and will be looking to influence the game from the back.
Centre-Back – Eric Bailly
Manchester United’s Chris Smalling may have been in top form last season but new signing, Eric Bailly, has kept the English international out of the side thanks to some top drawer performances. Signed from Villarreal for around £30m, the Ivorian has settled in quickly to life in England and looks at home in the United defence. He will have his hands full on Saturday but will be hoping for another assured performance.
Centre-Back – Vincent Kompany
For all of his injury troubles, Vincent Kompany remains one of the best defenders in the world. The Belgian has been plagued with numerous issues over the last few seasons which has severely limited his appearances for the Citizens. As a result, City’s form has slumped and many defenders have been signed to try and fill the void left by the former Hamburg defender. Whilst he might not have an impact on the field, his experience will be vital to Guardiola and the likes of John Stones.
Left-Back – Luke Shaw
Ex-Southampton defender, Luke Shaw, has his career back on track following a horrendous leg break in the Champions League last season. Following a £30m move from the Saints, Shaw struggled initially as a lack of fitness hurt his progress at Old Trafford. However, following a return to full fitness, Shaw is back to his best. The 21-year-old might be a doubt for the Derby after returning from international duty with a small problem but should win a late race for fitness.
Right Midfield – Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Mourinho has also confirmed he will have Henrikh Mkhitaryan fit to face City after an injury scare whilst on international duty with Armenia. The Portuguese has eased his new signing into life in England and the former Borussia Dortmund winger is yet to start a game for his new club. However, Mkhitaryan was arguably the best player in the Bundesliga last season scoring or creating 49 goals for his side last season. Mourinho has preferred the likes of Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard so far this season but is adamant his £25m signing will be a hit in the Premier League.
Centre Midfield – Kevin De Bruyne
Ex-Wolfsburg playmaker, Kevin De Bruyne, was one of the best players in the Premier League last season as he easily adjusted to his move to Manchester City. De Bruyne added to City’s wealth of attacking quality perfectly and it was no surprise to see their title bid derailed as a result of a long-term injury to the Belgian. The former Chelsea man has already started to repay his £54m price tag and will be hoping for another top performance to help his side beat their arch-rivals.
Centre Midfield – Paul Pogba
Most of the attention on Saturday will be focused on the performance of the £90m midfield maestro, Paul Pogba. All eyes will be firmly fixed on how the former Juventus midfielder will fare in his biggest test since resigning for the Red Devils. Pogba impressed in his two appearances before the international break and will be hoping to pick up where he left off with a big performance against Guardiola’s side.
Left Midfield – David Silva
David Silva looks like a player reborn following the appointment of Guardiola and will be a key part of City’s attack against United. Silva has been utilised in a deeper role which has suited the Spaniard perfectly. His expert vision has allowed the likes of Raheem Sterling and De Bruyne to flourish further up the field. He was used in various positions under Manuel Pellegrini but looks to have found his place in Guardiola’s plans.
Striker – Sergio Aguero
City were dealt a huge blow when the news broke that the FA handed Sergio Aguero a three-match ban for an elbow on Winston Reid in their last game against West Ham. Guardiola will have to find a way to beat Mourinho without the help of his star striker, who has been in fantastic form already this season. The Argentine already has three Premier League goals this season and United will feel their chances of winning is vastly improved due to Aguero’s absence.
Striker – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Legendary striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, completes our combined XI following his move from PSG to Manchester United this summer. The Swede has been an instant hit with the United faithful following three goals in three games. His troubles with Guardiola were heavily publicised and the 34-year-old will be looking to get one over on his former boss and win even more plaudits with his new side.