Let’s not stand on ceremony here; City have by far been the best Premier League team this season. Pep Guardiola’s side have dismantled the opposition ruthlessly this season and just when you presumed they ran out of steam, they left it late to prove you wrong against Southampton and the West Ham.
The free-flowing football that City play is extremely easy on the eye and thus City have garnered praise from fans and pundits alike. However, on the other side of Manchester, Jose Mourinho has battled some key injuries to pose a good challenge to Manchester City.
United trail City by eight points in the league and have a good opportunity to reduce that further. However, their top of the table bids took a blow as Paul Pogba was sent off in the game against Arsenal and hence the Red Devils will miss the talismanic Frenchman in this crucial fixture.
Going by the current scenario, it is quite widely believed that the trophy would be heading to Manchester this season. Ever wondered how a combined lineup of these two teams would look like?
So, here I pick a team with best players from both the teams, but only the ones who are available to take the field on Sunday.
David de Gea is possibly the easiest pick in this combined lineup. He was the standout performer against Arsenal and again proved his class and big game temperament by making an astonishing 14 saves in the entire course of the game.
Kyle Walker makes it ahead of Antonio Valencia, though the Ecuadorian has done pretty well this season as well. However, I feel that Walker has improved his defensive game ever since joining City and can be a better threat going forward than Valencia. Ashley Young faces mere competition from Fabian Delph for the left-back slot. Young is in the form of his life currently and it would be criminal to leave him out of this team.
Vincent Kompany and Phil Jones make up for my centre-half pairing. Kompany is a true leader for Manchester City, and though injuries have limited his involvement this season, one must expect him to upgrade his game in such an important match. Phil Jones has been strong and aware of his position this season. Jose would be delighted to have him back after the Englishman has missed six competitive games for United.
Fernandinho has been the anchor in midfield for City and his ability to protect the backline has given others the luxury of going forward. Sadly, the Brazilian is trumped by Nemanja Matic who has been no less impressive for his new team.
Matic is stronger defensively and boasts of a better physical presence, which gives him an advantage in the box. The other two midfield slots are relatively easier as in Paul Pogba’s absence there is more or less no competition for David Silva for the left-sided midfield position.
On the other side would be Kevin de Bruyne and I feel stupid by even justifying or explaining his presence in this lineup. De Bruyne has undoubtedly been the best midfielder in the league as his creation of chances and the knack of scoring important goals are unmatched. Expect him to have a deciding impact in the derby.
There is a stiff competition for the striker position as both Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku are undergoing rough patches since the past month. Gabriel Jesus just has not played regularly for winning this position and hence I would choose Aguero to lead the lineup front. The Argentine’s experience and record in this derby is a factor in this decision.
Leroy Sane and Anthony Martial occupy the wide areas in this formation. Both players have shown tremendous improvement this season and Sane has proved that he is capable of playing the right wing too, which in turn gives Martial the luxury of playing on the left flank.