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Manchester United vs Manchester City – Combined XI Featuring 6 Red Devils and 5 Citizens

Let the Manchester derby countdown begin! Manchester United ensured safe passage into the Champions League round of 16 with a 2-1 victory over CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Manchester City picked up yet another win against West Ham on Sunday and lost to Shakhtar Donetsk by a 2-1 margin in their final game of the Champions League group stages. However, that did not affect Man City’s progress into the knockout phase as group leaders.

With that done, all eyes will surely now turn to Sunday’s colossal Manchester derby. There is plenty at stake at Old Trafford; City could establish an 11-point gap with a victory, while United could cut the lead to five and give their cross-town rivals a jolt with Spurs a week later.

It is the first meeting between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola this season. Expect all the fireworks as we approach, what is arguably the biggest game of the season. Let the game begin!

Team News

For hosts, Mourinho is facing a midfield crisis ahead of this weekend’s clash with City. Midfielder Paul Pogba, who played against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday, is out of the derby as he serves the first game of a three-match suspension after the club decided against appealing the red card he picked up in the 3-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday.

Eric Bailly and Michael Carrick have been ruled out of the game due to respective injuries, while Mourinho confirmed Marouane Fellaini, Phil Jones and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have chances to feature. Nemanja Matic missed the game on Tuesday with a muscle problem but the United manager confirmed in his presser that the Serbian will play on Sunday.

On the other hand, City have only left-back Benjamin Mendy out with a knee ligament injury. Guardiola confirmed that David Silva is out of the clash against Shakhtar with an unspecified ‘problem’ and is unsure about his availability for the derby.

The Combined XI

Formation: 4-3-3

David De Gea (GK)

Ederson has been immense for City this season, but De Gea is widely regarded as the best in the world and for all right reasons. The Spaniard was the sole reason why United beat Arsenal.

David De Gea

Antonio Valencia (RB)

It is a tough pick between Valencia and Walker, but I choose to go with the former. Valencia led the team from the front at Emirates, scoring the opener against Arsenal. Defensively, he has been solid too and that’s where he eclipses Walker, who has proved to be a tremendous piece of business for Guardiola this summer.

Nicolas Otamendi (CB)

City’s defence has been quite strong, and Otamendi has been a big reason behind that. He gets into this team and surely, he will look to continue his good run of form after bundling home the equaliser against West Ham last weekend.

Chris Smalling (CB)

The Manchester United man has stayed solid at the back for the Red Devils this season and makes it into the side ahead of the likes of City captain Kompany and the injured Bailly. With Jones being doubtful to feature, Smalling is my choice.

Ashley Young (LB)

Who would have thought about Young making it to this side as a left-back? Not me, to be very honest. Well, that’s how the 32-year-old has performed since getting an opportunity, keeping the likes of regular full-backs Luke Shaw, Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian out of the picture.

Young has not only turned his Old Trafford career around, but he’s developing his leadership skills too. Easy pick to select him ahead of City’s Fabian Delph.

Nemanja Matic (CM)

Matic has arguably been United’s best player of the season so far since moving from Chelsea, wasting no time in reinforcing the midfield and giving France international Pogba the freedom to roam forward and pick holes in the opposition defences.

Despite having muscle issues, Mourinho confirmed that the Serbian will start the game, after having missed the win over CSKA Moscow.

Kevin De Bruyne (CM)

Arguably the best player in the Premier League right now, De Bruyne will certainly be the biggest threat to United on Sunday. The Belgian is enjoying the form of his life and demonstrated his class against West Ham with a chipped cross for Silva to score the winner.

Fernandinho (CM)

Fernandinho has been quite brilliant for Manchester City this term and the entire City team’s balance depends on his performance. Pep has made wonderful use of Fernandinho and he makes it to this team ahead of David Silva, who might not feature against us, as Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

Anthony Martial (LW)

A ruthless and relentless Anthony Martial is making great strides this season. He was wonderful against Watford and even better in the massive victory over Arsenal. The second season syndrome is over for the Frenchman as he looks to make United’s left-wing position his own.

No offence to Leroy Sane, who has also been breathtaking for City this campaign. The jet-heeled German has scored and assisted goals in premium but just drops out of my combined XI simply because of his current form.

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling (RW)

It’s astonishing to learn how many times has Sterling rescued City this season! With his late goals in numerous games which saw City pick up wins, the winger, who has been reborn under Guardiola, is a menace to the opposition all day long.

Currently, the world is at his feet!

Sergio Aguero (ST)

When there is Aguero in the mix, it becomes really hard to choose anybody else over him. A combination of explosive pace and deadly finishing, the Argentine wins the race against Gabriel Jesus and Romelu Lukaku with ease for a place in my line-up.

Here’s the line-up:

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Man United keen to reinforce midfield with this 24-year-old La Liga ace

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Manchester United are keen on signing Marcos Llorente

Manchester United are keen on reinforcing their midfield by signing Spanish midfielder Marcos Llorente. (h/t Manchester Evening News)

The 24-year-old who plays for Atletico Madrid has impressed at the Wanda Metropolitano following his move from city rivals Real Madrid.

Llorente has made 17 appearances for Atletico this season , with a majority of them coming off the bench.(h/t Whoscored)

Marcos Llorente

Having started just 3 La Liga matches this season, a loan move to United could be of interest to both parties.

The Red Devils are currently short of players in midfield after the injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay.

Llorente is an assured passer of the ball and can play in central midfield in both a defensive and a holding role.

He is also an aggressive ball winner and will add much-needed energy in the United midfield. At 6 feet tall, Llorente is also an imposing presence who can deal with the physical aspect of the Premier League.

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Inter Milan have agreed on the transfer of Manchester United captain Ashley Young for £1.3million in the January transfer window. (h/t Guardian)

The 34-year-old will undergo a medical on Friday prior to signing an 18-month deal with the Italian giants.

Young will join up with former United teammates Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez as Antonio Conte’s side aim to win their first Serie A in 10 years.

Ashley Young
Ashley Young

Antonio Conte has been a long term admirer of Young and even tried to sign him when he was at Chelsea. United were initially reluctant to sanction the player’s move in the middle of the season.

With the player keen on the switch and the prospect of losing him on a free in the summer seem to have convinced the United hierarchy to cash in on the veteran in the January transfer window.

Young joined United in the summer of 2011 and has gone on to make 261 appearances for the English giants.

The veteran, who started off as a winger has predominantly played at full-back for United the previous few seasons.

He took over as captain from Antonio Valencia at the beginning of this season

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Manchester United have reportedly agreed on terms with Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United have reportedly agreed on terms with Portuguese star Bruno Fernandes. (h/t Sun)

The player has reportedly agreed on a Manchester United contract until 2025 worth £5milion-a-year ahead of a £51m transfer in the January transfer window.

The 25-year-old has played 25 times for Sporting this season and has scored 13 goals and 10 assists. (h/t Whoscored)

Bruno Fernandes

United were to make their first formal offer for the player. It is being reported now that the deal has already been agreed upon. (h/t Sun)

It’s claimed that Fernandes has been offered a deal nearing £100,000-a-week at United.

The signing of the Sporting skipper should provide the United midfield with numbers and an attacking impetus.

The midfielder has an £85million release clause in his contract but Old Trafford bosses have been working to drive the price down. The club were also open to offering two players to bring the price down. (h/t Sun)

Fernandes was part of the Portuguese squad that won the UEFA Nations League in 2019.

He has won 19 caps for the Portuguese national side and has scored 2 goals since making his debut in 2017.

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The Portuguese midfielder is also keen on a move to Old Trafford with a fee of £60m being touted. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and assistant, Mike Phelan, watched Fernandes play against FC Porto on 5th January.

Midfield is a position where United are thin in numbers. Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini weren’t replaced and the likes of Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba are out injured.

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Bruno Fernandes

Signing Fernandes will not just give United options in a depleted area of the squad but also add some much-needed quality to the attack. Sporting are already in the process of replacing the midfielder and are exploring alternatives. (h/t Guardian)

United were constantly linked with the player in the summer but it amounted to nothing. Fernandes extended his contract at Sporting until 2023 in November.

The 25-year-old has played 25 times for Sporting this season and has scored 13 goals and 10 assists. (h/t Whoscored)

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