Manchester United will host Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, in a match that could be decisive in the race for the second place in Premier League this season. Ahead of the clash, we look at combined XI consisted of players from the two teams. We will try and make it in a formation that would best the players at our disposal, not necessarily the best individuals.
Goalkeeper – David De Gea
This is an obvious pick. Thibaut Courtois is a great goalkeeper that offers a lot to this Chelsea team, but David De Gea’s heroics for United have been far more crucial for his team. He has the best save ratio of all Premier League teams (81.9 percent) and made eight saves this week against Sevilla. Easy choice.
Centre-Backs – Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Eric Bailly
We chose here a different type of 3-5-2. For that, we needed three centre-backs and that is where Chelsea are stronger. That is why two of their players were chosen. Azpilicueta is one of the best centre-backs in the league, that has been consistent for the Blues for many years at several different positions. Christensen showed great progress in recent months, while Eric Bailly is United’s best central defender. His composed displays earned him place in this team.
Wing-Backs – Antonio Valencia, Marcos Alonso
A good 3-5-2 formation needs two wing-backs. Here we have a perfect combination. Manchester United have a better player on the right flank, as Valencia is better choice compared to Victor Moses. Both players are wingers converted into more defensive players, but Valencia’s experience and pure quality for years gives him place in this XI. Marcos Alonso is by far the best option on the left flank, especially as Manchester United have weaknesses on that side. Ashley Young and Luke Shaw are far from Alonso’s level of performance.
Central Midfield – N’Golo Kante, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba
Here we opted for players everyone would like to have in their squad. A central midfield trio would consist of two slightly more defensive players. Kante’s ability to break opponents’ play is a great quality any side in the world would like to have. Nemanja Matic, on the other hand, offers a bit more technicality to the game, measuring rhythm and being a shield in front of the back line. Paul Pogba would be the third man, the one that would have all the freedom to roam and go forwards, especially as Kante and Matic would stay behind him. That would be a perfect situation for him and his qualities.
Forwards – Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku
And then, the attacking line. We were thinking about United’s wingers like Martial, Rashford and Sanchez, and also Willian from Chelsea. There were also Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud as classic strikers from the Blues, but this is our choice.
Romelu Lukaku would be a typical number 9, while Eden Hazard would be more of a second striker. He would have the freedom to switch sides around Lukaku, while Pogba, Valencia and Alonso would also run forwards. The wing-backs would give the width to this team and their great crossing towards Lukaku. Pogba’s late runs and Hazard’s pure dribbling skills and long range shooting would also complement well.