The Manchester derby takes centre-stage in the Premier League this Sunday afternoon, and there’s plenty at stake.
Hosts United are desperate to keep their top-four hopes alive, while City are eager to avoid losing momentum ahead of a four-game run in nine days.
There’ll be plenty of quality talent on show at Old Trafford, and ahead of the clash, we’ve decided to put together an ultimate 2019-20 Manchester XI.
And it’s worth noting that this is a hypothetical side, so we’re ignoring this season’s injuries and absences…
GK – Ederson – Man City
A year or two ago this might have been a more difficult position to call. But David de Gea’s recent spate of mistakes has answered this one for us. Ederson is arguably the nearest rival to Liverpool’s Allison for best goalkeeper in the Premier League right now.
RB – Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Man Utd
While he isn’t as effective as Kyle Walker going forward, there are few better right-backs in the Premier League when it comes to crunching tackles. The 22-year-old has already produced 91 tackles this term, and we’ll give him the nod over City’s Walker.
CB – Harry Maguire – Man Utd
He isn’t quite as cultured as Aymeric Laporte, but Harry Maguire’s aerial presence alone brings him into our XI. He’s formed a solid partnership with Victor Lindelof this term, with Solskjaer’s side currently owning the fifth-best Premier League defensive record.
CB – Aymeric Laporte – Man City
You wonder where Guardiola’s men would be had Laporte been fully fit this season. The Frenchman is a sublime centre-half, and is perhaps City’s only centre-back capable of filling Vincent Kompany’s void.
LB – Benjamin Mendy – Man City
Possibly the weakest position in the XI. None of Benjanmin Mendy, Oleksandr Zinchenko or Luke Shaw have truly shone this season, with young Brandon Williams doing a sterling job for United at times. We’ll give this one to Mendy, who, on his day, can be properly mega.
CM – Fernandinho – Man City
One of Man City’s biggest concerns is how they’ll replace Fernandinho when he moves on. The Brazilian is 35-years-old soon, but remains a brilliantly composed defensive midfielder, with a fine habit of being in the right place at the right time.
CM – Paul Pogba – Man Utd
He’s missed the bulk of the campaign, but a fully-fit and on-song Paul Pogba waltzes into our eleven. The Frenchman can turn a game United’s way in an instant. Whether or not he’ll be eligible for next season’s XI remains to be seen.
CM – Kevin De Bruyne – Man City
Kevin De Bruyne is the beating heart of this ultimate Manchester side. The Belgian is again producing Premier League magic on a weekly basis. He’s racking up the assists and doesn’t mind a 25-yard thunderstrike either.
FW – Raheem Sterling – Man City
The 25-year-old is enjoying another fine campaign, with 20 goals already in all competitions. A nightmare to defend against, Sterling offers pace, width and great movement in our three-pronged attack.
FW – Sergio Aguero – Man City
Though Gabriel Jesus is rapidly pushing him to be City’s top striker nowadays, you just can’t leave out Sergio Aguero. The Argentine is a Premier League legend, and is without doubt one of the most clinical strikers to have played the game.
FW – Marcus Rashford – Man Utd
Our final spot could have gone to Anthony Martial, who has stepped up his game in recent weeks. But the Frenchman’s off-days remain too frequent, and he doesn’t boast Marcus Rashford’s directness. Despite injury, Rashford’s enjoyed his best season to date, with 19 goals in all competitions.
Man United v Man City Odds
As mentioned earlier, City are handed solid favouritism for victory at Old Trafford at 3/5.
That leaves United very much the underdogs at 21/5, with a draw chalked up at 3/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of date of publishing.