Arsenal vs Manchester United: Combined XI

Reuters / Phil Noble

The clash between Arsenal and Manchester United is one of the biggest fixtures that the Premier League has to offer.

An event studded with iconic and golden moments; from THAT Thierry Henry goal, to the 8-2 thrashing from the Red Devils, and from the violent Ruud van Nistlerooy incident, to the end of Arsenal’s unbeaten run.

The historic fixture has always been something that not only supporters of these clubs looked forward to, but also a match that attracted a huge crowd of neutral fans who wished to witness top-class players and football.

And so, let’s take a look at the best names from the Emirates and Old Trafford to create a perfect combined XI:

Goalkeeper: David De Gea (Manchester United)

Hardly any Gooner will try to object this pick. The Spaniard has been consistently displaying the highest level of shot-stopping performances, and could well be the best goalkeeper in all of Europe at the moment.

Left-back: Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal)

To be fair, hardly any left-back from Old Trafford could make it into a combined XI with a top-tier club, with all due respect.

Considering Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian have hardly made an impact this season, it’s the former Schalke man who makes the list. Though Ashley Young has been in top form lately, the fact that he is not a natural left-back saw him off the list.

Moreover, Kolasinac’s ability as a wing-back and as a left-back, clubbed with the 4 assists he has recorded so far in the league, makes him the best choice.

Centre-back: Skhodran Mustafi (Arsenal)

Unlike many, the German has returned from injury in stunning fashion. Mustafi has been a force to be reckoned with alongside teammate Koscielny. The pair have played a vital role in their side’s retention of back-to-back clean sheets, which includes one against rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Eric Bailly or Phil Jones could’ve easily made the list, but injuries have sadly ruled the pair out.

Centre-back: Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)

Koscielny’s consistency and command over the defense is a vital factor that was considered, alongside his intelligence defensively. The Frenchman is more disciplined compared to his fellow teammate, and also a huge threat during corners, thanks to his height.

Overall, as most Gunners faithful would agree, Arsenal’s best defender.

Right-back: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

Versatile as a wing-back and right-back, and has been a consistent performer since last season.

Valencia is widely considered one of the best full-backs in league, and he has certainly proved why. The Ecuadorian plays as a great supporting player during counter attacks and while going forward, and he also tracks back to reestablish his position seamlessly.

Defensive midfielder: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United)

What a signing the former Chelsea man has been since his switch. The Serbian has managed to grant the freedom Paul Pogba was in desperate need for, and has been happy to sit back and maintain order in the midfield.

Matic’s ability to be a threat with pinpoint crosses, and willingness to switch to a completely defensive role has been the key factor that edged him over the rest.

Central midfielder: Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)

The in-form Welshman is currently Arséne Wenger’s best central midfielder. Though not a usual sight on the scoresheet, Ramsey has been a significant presence in the midfield behind Mesut Özil.

Moreover, the midfielder’s form seems a lot more incredible when considering his partner is the lacklustre Granit Xhaka. On the other hand, the Wales international has secured 3 goals and 5 assists in the league this season – stats that are strangely stats better than Pogba’s.

Central midfielder: Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

It would be ridiculous if the Premier League’s record signing didn’t make it to any combined squad. The Frenchman has been on a journey to completely disprove his critics this season.

Pogba has already won back the hearts of the fans that doubted him, and is certainly a key player for Jose Mourinho. Moreover, despite the injury setback, the former Juventus man has secured 3 goals and as many assists in the league so far.

Central attacking midfielder: Mesut Özil (Arsenal)

Özil is undoubtedly the most creative player among the two sides, and easily makes it into the list.

The German has finally found his groove again, whilst some argue he never lost it. Nevertheless, the 29-year-old has secured 2 goals and 5 assists so far, with a goal and 2 assists coming in the span of a mere 4 minutes against a very well organised Huddersfield.

The former Real Madrid star has already taken home the man of the match award against Spurs and Huddersfield, which shows his worth.

Forward: Anthony Martial (Manchester United)

Though many would argue that Romelu Lukaku should’ve made the list, his poor form has made the choice difficult.

Besides, with Alexandre Lacazette ruled out due to a groin problem, Martial looks to be one of the most technically gifted players who can operate in the 6-yard box. With 6 goals and 2 assists in a mere 6 starts in the league, it would be criminal to not include the talented youngster.

Forward: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Though late to the goal-scoring party, there’s no doubting Sanchez’s quality. There’s no doubt that a team with the Chilean would only benefit, despite his recent antics off the pitch.

Surprisingly, the forward has already secured 4 goals and 2 assists in the league, with the latest coming through a wonderful volley against Huddersfield. And as a hungry player, the former Barcelona man would be keen on adding more numbers to his name.


Formation: 4-3-1-2


Written by Ashish Sreejith 

Have had two addictions in life- playing football and watching football. Usually described as introverted but not when it comes to speaking and writing about the beautiful game of football.


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