Manchester United host Tottenham Hotspur in a epic Premier League clash on Saturday and with both sides full of sensational talents, one has to address the elephant in the room.
Which players would make a combined XI from the Manchester-London duo?
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The Statesman has taken the liberty of picking XI of the best players from the Red Devils and the Lilywhites, in 4-2-3-1 formation, for you:
Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United)
Considering Spurs captain Hugo Lloris’ form, it would be slightly unfair to not include him in this combined XI but United’s shot-stopper holds the edge in this battle.
Lloris is the best exponent of the sweeper-keeper, however, he is susceptible to the odd error whereas de Gea remains the epitome of consistency.
Spurs have a great custodian in their ranks, just that United’s No.1 is perhaps the finest goalkeeper in the world at the moment and would walk into any side bar none.
Left-Back: Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur)
United have had plenty of troubles over the past few seasons in this position as their first-choice, Luke Shaw, has been perpetually injured.
Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young have done a fine job of filling in for the Englishman but neither can come close to matching the players Spurs have in this position.
Danny Rose remains one of the finest left-backs in the Premier League and despite a lengthy injury lay-off, is clearly better than teammate Ben Davies.
The Welshman is ultra-consistent player but Rose’s explosiveness and all-round physical attributes make him a sure-shot starter when fit.
Centre-Back: Eric Bailly (Manchester United)
In Jan Vertonghen, Spurs have an excellent all-round defender, but United’s Ivorian recruit has been seriously impressive since his arrival from Villarreal last season.
Tough and uncompromising, bordering on rash, the 23-year-old Bailly has emerged as a force to reckon with and many see him as a future Old Trafford legend already.
Again, it’s not that Spurs’ option in this position is a bad player, far from it in fact, but the experienced Belgian just about falls short of his United counterpart.
Centre-Back: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur)
Is Toby Alderweireld the best defender in the Premier League?
He’s certainly up there and had he been playing for a more high-profile club, would definitely been in contention for the FIFA FIFPro World XI.
It’s hard to pinpoint a significant weakness in the Belgian, who remains unflappable at all times.
The enigmatic Phil Jones has shown some semblances of consistency this season, but the oft-injured centre-back still has a long way to go before he can claim to be on Alderweireld’s level.
Right-Back: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
Antonio Valencia may have his detractors but the converted winger has come into his own since playing as a right-back for the past couple of seasons.
Another supremely consistent player, the Ecuadorian may not be full of tricks but gets the job done with minimum fuss.
Kieran Trippier is stepping out of Kyle Walker’s shadow at Spurs but the the 27-year-old will have to consistently churn out performances over the course of a season before he can be picked ahead of Valencia.
Central Midfield: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United)
At this time, you would be hard-pressed to find a better defensive midfielder in the Premier League.
In fact, United’s summer acquisition is an early favourite to feature in the Premier League team of the year, such has been his impressive form for the Red Devils.
The underrated Eric Dier has plenty of heart and promise but he is not quite in the league of United’s Serbian enforcer, even Lilywhites fans would have to admit.
Central Midfield: Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Paul Pogba, after a difficult start to his second stint at Manchester United, had truly found his groove this season.
The flashy Frenchamn’s on-field exploits were being talked about more than his haircuts and his love for bling before a hamstring injury interrupted his season. United have been missing his powerful presence in recent weeks, with many citing his absence as the sole reason for their downturn in fortunes.
Of course, United have plenty of quality and shouldn’t be losing games simply because Pogba isn’t available but that just goes on to tell you how integral he is to their set up.
Spurs have plenty of central midfielders, from Moussa Sissoko to Harry Winks to Mousa Dembele and while all three have their own distinct strengths, none can quite match Pogba, who deserves the nod.
Left Wing: Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
After seemingly falling out of favour under Jose Mourinho last year, Martial has looked rejuvenated this season. Still only 21, there is plenty of upside to him and big things are expected from the pacy Frenchman, especially with a World Cup on the horizon.
A contentious pick considering Martial is not yet a confirmed starter and is regularly rotated with Marcus Rashford but the Frenchman’s quality is too good to ignore.
Spurs have a fine winger in Son Heung-min but is the Korean really better than Martial?
A close call considering the Korean’s sensational form last season (14 goals in the Premier League), but United’s No.11 just about shades this.
Central Attacking Midfield: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur)
Christian Eriksen continues to rack up assists and goals at an impressive rate and coupled with his excellent work-rate, is in the conversation to be crowned the Premier League’s finest No.10.
The Dane ticks all the boxes for a creative midfielder with consummate ease.
United man Henrikh Mkhtiaryan was blowing everyone away at the start of the season but has since then fizzled out and has to up his consistency by several levels if he is to be considered as a serious challenger to Eriksen.
Right Wing: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)
Dele Alli may not be a proper winger but his versatility allows him to play across the forward lines and the 21-year-old is fast developing into one of the first midfielders in the English top-flight.
A bit naughty at times, the former MK Dons man is a major reason why there is so much optimism among the Spurs faithful for the future.
Juan Mata starts, more often than not, on the right for United but the diminutive Spaniard is being played out of position and as a result, cannot be expected to selected ahead of Alli.
Centre Forward: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
The 4-4-2 formation is, barring some exceptions, more or less dead as most managers prefer to overload the midfield.
Playing without a second striker allows you to monopolise the possession battle and with support from the wings, teams pour forward in attack while having the security of an extra man tracking back.
So with a single striker system the norm, this was a shootout between Spurs’ golden boy and United’s £75 million acquisition.
Kane has won the Premier League Golden Boot for the past two seasons running and currently is ahead of Romelu Lukaku in the scoring charts as well. The Spurs frontman is a complete striker and you wouldn’t want any other striker leading the line for your side.
Lukaku has been impressive since moving to Old Trafford this summer, but until he proves otherwise, is a notch below Kane.