The race for the Premier League title is heating up and two of the main title contenders meet in matchday 14. Manchester City welcome Chelsea to the Etihad in what promises to be a fascinating contest. Chelsea have been flying under Antonio Conte in his favoured 3-4-3 approach while Pep Guardiola is starting to get to grips with his City squad.
Both teams are star-studded with talent all over the pitch, but who would make a combined XI?
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)
In between the sticks, Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois gets the nod ahead of City’s Claudio Bravo. The Belgian has been helped by Chelsea’s defence but has still kept seven clean sheets compared to Bravo’s two. He has made more saves and also is stronger commanding his area as he has made more catches than City’s stopper. Finally, Bravo has made one error leading to a goal whereas Courtois has a clean record. The former Atletico keeper is our number one.
Victor Moses (Chelsea)
At right-back, we go with Victor Moses who has been a revelation since the arrival of Conte at Stamford Bridge. Playing a new right wing-back role, Moses has been key to the 3-4-3 system. He has scored three goals and registered one assist which highlights his importance to the Blues. He has also created eight chances for his team-mates; significantly more than the likes of Bacary Sagna, Pablo Zabaleta, and Branislav Ivanovic.
Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)
Although Vincent Kompany has been plagued by injuries, he remains one of the best centre-backs in the world and gives City a huge boost when he is fit. The Belgian is a natural leader and gives the entire City defence confidence when he is playing. The Citizens can no longer rely on their talisman due to his fitness concerns after his return to the first-team was cruelly cut short following another long-term knee injury.
Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City)Embed from Getty Images
Next to Kompany, we went with his team-mate Nicolas Otamendi who scrapes into the team ahead of Chelsea’s Gary Cahill. The former Valencia defender has received his fair share of criticism but alongside Kompany he has looked a world-class defender. The Argentine has made more interceptions, clearances and tackles per 90 minutes than John Stones, David Luiz and Cahill meaning he completes our centre-back pairing.
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
At left-back it was a no contest as Cesar Azpilicueta easily beats Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov to the starting spot. Although he has been utilised at centre-back this season with Marcos Alonso at left wing-back, he is a natural at left-back and right-back. The Spaniard is arguably the best full-back in the league and earns a place in our side.
Fernandinho (Manchester City)Embed from Getty Images
In our midfield is Fernandinho, who I believe in one of the most under-rated centre midfielders in the league. The Brazilian is the reason Manchester City tick with his energy in the engine room a vital cog in Guardiola’s machine. He has completed more interceptions and clearances than Nemanja Matic and has a passing completion rate of 86% this season.
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)Embed from Getty Images
Partnering him in midfield, we have Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante. The former Leicester midfielder was key to Claudio Ranieri’s title-winning team which earned him a £32m move to Stamford Bridge. He has made an average of 2.33 interceptions and 1.23 tackles per 90 minutes for the Blues. His tough tackling and stamina are another vital component of Conte’s system.
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)Embed from Getty Images
Chelsea’s loss has definitely been Manchester City’s gain as Kevin De Bruyne has blossomed into one of the finest attacking midfielders in the world. He was deemed surplus to requirements under Jose Mourinho and sold to Wolfsburg before making the £55m move to the Etihad. He has scored twice and registered seven assists this season already this season and has looked even better under the guidance of Guardiola.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard couldn’t be left out of the team after rediscovering his form under Conte to put last season’s disappointment behind him. He was named the player of the month for November following a man of the match display against Everton. The Belgian has already scored seven goals this season; three more than his entire total for last season.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)Embed from Getty Images
Picking our strikers couldn’t be easier, and we start with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero. The Argentine is joint-top of the Premier League scoring charts with 10 strikes already – averaging a goal every 92 minutes. The former Atletico striker is one of the most lethal finishers in the world and could fire City to the title if he can keep his fitness.
Diego Costa (Chelsea)
Arguably the player of the season so far, Diego Costa has taken his game to the next level this season. He also has 10 goals already this season but has also registered four assists. He has created 22 chances for his team-mates, 10 more than Aguero and also boasts a higher shot accuracy percentage. A striking partnership of Costa and Aguero could be the one of the best in the world.
How would this combined XI perform in the Premier League?
Using Football Manager 17, we made our combined XI and simulated a season to see how the team would play.
Under the guidance of Guardiola, the team was able to secure a top-four finish in the league. Arsenal were dominant and finished top of the pile on 90 points with just five points separating our XI from Tottenham in second. Aguero and Hazard were named in the PFA Team of the Year for their performances, scoring 33 goals between them.
Our team was knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage, finishing third and moving into the Europa League. They had a great run to the final of the competition but couldn’t overcome Napoli in the final; as they were beaten on penalties.
They suffered similar disappointment in the domestic cup competitions, being knocked out in the EFL Cup by Southampton in the third round and the FA Cup by Newcastle in the sixth round.
Do you agree with our Manchester City/Chelsea combined XI? Comment below!