They might not be playing the best football at the moment, but there’s no doubting the fact that Manchester United and Tottenham are blessed with some of the best players in the Premier League right now.
And the two teams face off against each other this weekend, with Spurs just one place ahead of United in fifth.
This one is a massive fixture of huge importance for both outfits. Lose it, and Mauricio Pochettino’s men could find themselves ten points off the pace which is currently being set by Chelsea. However, a defeat for Jose Mourinho’s side will see them some nine points away from the top five.
We’ve spent the afternoon in the Ladbrokes News office debating over who would make the ultimate combined starting XI.
It took a while, but we finally agreed on this lot…
GK – David de Gea
This was arguably the toughest call to make, given the sheer quality of both goalkeepers. But the United shot-stopper just edged it, boasting a staggering 15 clean sheets last season, two better than his opponent.
It’s said a world-class goalkeeper can win you an average of 15 points throughout a season – take that figure off United’s tally from last year and they’d have finished just ahead of Stoke City on goal difference in ninth place.
There’s a case to be made for both keepers, but we simply couldn’t ignore a man who’s featured in the last two PFA Teams of the Year.
LB – Danny Rose
A slightly easier call to make, given that United have struggled to fill their full-back slots with world-class players since the days of Patrice Evra and Gary Neville.
But Rose hasn’t got here completely by default. He was arguably the best left-back in the division last season, and continues to impress this time out, already with a goal and assist to his name.
RB – Kyle Walker
The second half of Tottenham’s deadly defensive duo, Walker is without question one of the best right-backs in the Premier League right now, and United provide little in the way of competition for this spot, with Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia yet to prove themselves as world-class full-backs.
CB – Toby Alderweireld
There’s only room for one Spurs player at the heart of this defence, and it’s Alderweireld who gets the nod ahead of Jan Vertonghen.
His absence in the last few weeks has been sorely missed, and he’s continuing to prove himself as one of the league’s finest when he is playing.
CB – Eric Bailly
One shining light in United’s otherwise shaky start to the campaign has been the solid performances of summer signing, Eric Bailly.
Arriving for a fee of £30m, he’s well on his way to proving he’s worth every penny, producing consistently solid displays on a regular basis.
He may not have been here for long, but he certainly deserves a place in our team.
CM – Eric Dier
Tottenham did well to keep hold of Dier in the summer, following an incredible 2015-16 campaign. And while he’s yet to reach those heights this year, that Spurs back-four would be a much easier nut to crack were he not playing just in front of them.
Confident on the ball and intelligent off it, we reckon he’d be a great partner for our other man in the middle…
CM – Paul Pogba
There’s no way Pogba doesn’t make this side. Granted, he’s yet to live up to his £90m price tag, but he’s shown glimpses of what he can do – and it’s only a matter of time before he sets the Premier League alight.
To get the best out of Pogba, you have to play him alongside a defensive-minded midfielder and allow him the freedom of the engine room, and that’s why we think Pogba and Dier would make an incredible duo.
CAM – Christian Eriksen
Yep, we’re going all out attack. Two physical presences at the base, and a creative gem playing at the head of a midfield triangle.
And while the likes of Juan Mata and Ander Herrera have impressed in patches this season, when it comes to this number 10 role, there aren’t many better than Eriksen.
He managed six goals and a whopping 15 assists in the league last year for Spurs, and he’s on course to beat that tally this time out, with three goals and three assists to his name since the start of the season.
He has to play – we’ll worry about our formation later.
ST – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
We can’t have an ultimate XI without including Ibrahimovic. The Big Swede already has 13 goals to his name since joining the Red Devils in the summer – despite his team struggling to find any form.
Undoubtedly the most experienced player set to feature in this fixture, Ibra would force his way into any side right now, including this one.
ST – Harry Kane
And it’s frightening to think how many times opponent’s nets would bulge with Harry Kane partnering him up front.
He’s singlehandedly won Spurs a handful of points this season, and Pochettino can always rely on the England international for a goal.
Between them, Kane and Ibrahimovic have 161 goals in all competitions since the start of the 2014-15 campaign. Need we say any more?
ST – Anthony Martial
That’s right, Anthony, you’re playing up-front! Finally!
Playing alongside Ibra and Kane would allow Martial the freedom to play wherever he wanted. And opting to field him in a front three means he doesn’t have to worry about tracking back – something which is stopping him from proving himself as an out-and-out goalscorer under Mourinho.
OK, we’re playing without wingers, but the athleticism of our full-backs means that’s not a problem here. They’ll provide the delivery, and our strikers will do the business!
What do you think? Would these players make your ultimate XI?
Let us know your team in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing