After losing the north London derby on Sunday, Tottenham have a less-than-ideal match to try and get back to winning ways. Arsenal will be hoping for a favour from their rivals, which will be a big ask, even though Spurs won this fixture last season.
Unsurprisingly, Manchester City are heavily favoured here in our combined XI consisting of players from the Premier League champions and Spurs.
GK: Ederson (Manchester City)
Hugo Lloris couldn’t get in my combined north London derby XI – a decision that was fully justified in Arsenal’s 2-0 win – so there is no chance whatsoever he will usurp Ederson here.
There isn’t much to say here. If you need convincing, I worry for you.
RB: Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
The only player in this team to play for both of these sides at some point in his career, Kyle Walker is one of the best right-backs in Premier League history, if not the best.
Spurs’ weakness is in right-wing-back, so, once again, this was a very straightforward decision that does not merit much of an explanation.
CB: Cristian Romero (Tottenham)
This one probably does need to be explained, though…
Pep Guardiola is experiencing something of a defensive crisis at the minute. Thankfully for him, any headache can be resolved by the plethora of talent throughout his squad. Ruben Dias and John Stones are out, meaning Manuel Akanji should start on Thursday. While the Swiss has been excellent this season, Cristian Romero gets the nod and is my first Spurs player to make this XI.
Romero was not great against Arsenal on Sunday and has probably not reached the heights of last season. Having said that, on his day, the Argentina international is one of the best central defenders in the league.
CB: Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)
Aymeric Laporte has been very consistent for City since he joined from Athletic Bilbao for around £60million five years ago.
The debate between himself and Stones is a big one, but thankfully for me, I do not have to choose between the two due to the England man’s injury. Eric Dier and Clement Lenglet do not come close to beating him or Romero to a place here.
LB: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)
What a player Joao Cancelo is. Despite being a natural right-back he has seamlessly become one of the best left-backs in world football. He makes this team ahead of Ryan Sessegnon and Ivan Perisic with no qualms.
DM: Rodri (Manchester City)
Rodri is just a joy to watch. He is solid defensively – when he actually has to defend – and he is bloody difficult to get the ball from.
Rodri, Thomas Partey and Casemiro are undoubtedly the three best holding midfielders in the Premier League. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg didn’t stand a chance here.
CM: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
He played as winger in my City – Chelsea combined XI, but Bernardo Silva returns in his more comfortable position as a central midfielder.
The little Portuguese is an absolute workhorse, but unlike many who are best known as that, Silva has an incredible amount of technical ability. His flexibility, tactical nous, talent on the ball and off, as well as his ability in front of goal, makes him a desirable player for any team in the world.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Another no-brainer. Notice how every no-brainer is a City player…
AM: Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Phil Foden has said himself that his best position is as a No. 10, so I have given him his chance to shine here in this hypothetical team. Lucky boy!
Neither team use a 10, though nearly every City midfield/wide player occupies that area during matches, but to accommodate for what you are about to read, I felt inclined to include one and Foden is my man ahead of Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish.
ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham)
City tried to sign Harry Kane in 2021; you might have read about it. It is obvious why. He is a world-class striker. England’s only world-class player and starts for any club in the world. Even if you are Barcelona with Robert Lewandowski, you accommodate and adapt to fit in a player of Kane’s ability, just like I have done right here with this formation.
The England captain bossed this very fixture last February. Spurs won 3-2 with Kane scoring twice, including a 95th-minute winner that resulted in some iconic commentary from Jamie Carragher.
Kane will be hoping for a similar outcome on Thursday evening and he knows another brace will make him Spurs’ all-time scorer ahead of Jimmy Greaves – who he is currently one goal behind.
ST: Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
If Erling Haaland does not score against Spurs it will be three games in a row without a goal. Fraud alert.
Manager: Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)
Pep Guardiola has won all there is to win. But can his side reduce Arsenal’s lead at the top of the Premier League?
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