Picking a Combined XI of City & United Players Ahead of the 174th Manchester Derby

erby Although English football has no shortages of derbies and mammoth clashes, the Manchester derby has always been one of the most intense and most satisfying to watch, especially these last few years as the two teams put together some impressive teams. Answering the eternal debate on whether Manchester is blue or red and based on current form and availability for the game, here's what a combined eleven of the Manchester Derby would look like. Enjoy... Had Zlatan Ibrahimovic been available,...

Team Formation (4-3-3)

Manchester United and Manchester City have both enjoyed pretty similar seasons in terms of results (Manchester City sits 4th in the league with 64 points, United is just behind with 63). 

However, the accumulation of greater individual players at United gave a United-dominated combined XI. 

Scroll down to discover the explanations behind these choices!

GK: David de Gea (Manchester United)

Well, was there really a choice to be made here? 

Manchester City's goalkeepers are a mess this year. Kicking Joe Hart out was probably not the best decision Pep Guardiola ever made in his career, especially given how Claudio Bravo turned out to be a huge disappointment. 

On the other side of the pitch, David de Gea has just recently been featured in the PFA Team of the Season for the third consecutive season. No contest.

RB: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

Although it was Louis van Gaal who first used Valencia as a right-back, 'Tony V', as he is affectionately known, has really showed his full potential and talent since Jose Mourinho arrived and is probably having his best Manchester United season yet. At 31 and after eight years at the club, it was about time. 

CB: Eric Bailly (Manchester United)

The first signing of Jose Mourinho's era is having a pretty good season with Manchester United, fixing one of the Red Devil's biggest issues by bringing some solidity and stability to this defense. 

His strength, physical abilities and pace are precious for a center-back, and he has the qualities and potential to stay a long time in this Manchester United team. 

CB: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

When he was injured, Manchester City really missed him. The Sky Blues captain is a natural leader, one of their best players in history and undoubtedly one of the best defenders in the world when he's in form. 

Too bad he's probably gonna be injured once again really soon... 

LB: Luke Shaw (Manchester United)

We had a choice here between Gaël Clichy, Aleksandar Kolarov and Luke Shaw. None of them being really world class left-backs, none of them being crucial 1st team players as well, so the decision rest on the lesser of three evils.

And that happens to be Luke Shaw. 

CM: Ander Herrera (Manchester United)

Many people were skeptical when Manchester United spent £30.6m to sign him in 2014. Three seasons later, it finally seems like Ander Herrera's qualities are finally being found out.

Less defensive-minded than Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera's had a great influence on Manchester United's offensive distribution this season, creating lots of chances and assisting 11 in all competitions. 

CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

After an extraordinary start of the season, Kevin De Bruyne tried and kept a really good rhythm with Manchester City, leading one of the most seducing attacking sides in Europe with his qualities and vision. 

With 13 assists this season in Premier League, he stands second in the assists ranking for the European top five leagues, only behind Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig).

CM: Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

The most expensive player in history didn't feature in the PFA Team of the Year for his first season in the Premier League. He would probably have if Manchester had a better season. 

A lot of people have been very hard on him because his goals and assists numbers are not as high as the previous seasons. But Pogba is not the kind of player that should be defined only by this. Simply, his influence on Manchester United goes far beyond that. 

RW: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United)

Ruling him out was probably one of Jose Mourinho's biggest mistake at the beginning of the season. Thankfully, it didn't take the 'Special One' long to correct himself. 

The Armenian winger has been crucial to Manchester United's first team, taking up the kind of performances he used to pull out back in his Dortmund days. 

LW: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

There was a choice of three young talents for this left-wing position: Anthony Martial at United, Leroy Sané and Raheem Sterling at City. The three of them have their qualities and flaws, making them quite even, but the one having the best season so far is probably Raheem Sterling. 

The young winger didn't really have an extraordinary first season with City after his resounding transfer from Liverpool. This season in the Premier League, he scored six and assisted six, and has one of the best dribbling stats (57% success). 

ST: Sergio Agüero (Manchester City)

Had Zlatan Ibrahimovic been available, maybe there would have been a serious debate on whether him or Agüero should feature in this team. But he's not, and even if he was, Agüero would have probably made it anyway. 

The Argentinian's performances since he joined Manchester City in 2011-12 are simply outstanding. Only once has he scored less than 17 goals in a Premier League season and dropped out of the league's top four goalscorers in six seasons. Simply one of the best in the world. 

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