Arsenal and Manchester City resume hostilities this Sunday as they prepare to face off in the Community Shield.
Pep Guardiola’s charges beat the Gunners to the Premier League title last season after Mikel Arteta’s side led the table for the majority of the campaign.
This is the north London outfit’s first chance to gain a measure of revenge, pick up some silverware and lay down a marker for the season ahead.
Arsenal v Man City combined XI:
GK: Ederson – Manchester City
Neither Ederson or Aaron Ramsdale are without their flaws, but the Brazilian shades it. His shot-stopping last season came in for criticism, but his distribution is second to none.
RB: Kyle Walker – Manchester City
The England defender could very well have left the club by next week, but Kyle Walker is the best right-back on either team.
CB: John Stones – Manchester City
Anyone we pick in this position would be contentious, given Man City’s depth of options in the middle of defence. Ruben Dias, a former player of the year, has a very strong shout, but Manuel Akanji has also shown he has the chops to cut it at the top level. John Stones possesses oodles of class and has proven a lot of people wrong in recent years, so he pips it.
💪 Centre-back ➡️ midfield maestro ✨
— Premier League (@premierleague) June 16, 2023
CB: Gabriel – Arsenal
A rock at the heart of Arsenal’s defence last season, Gabriel stepped up a level to help the club to their best finish in a Premier League campaign in seven years. He is a real threat from set-pieces, scoring three times in 2022/23.
LB: Joao Cancelo – Manchester City
He may not be a Man City player for much longer, but Joao Cancelo is still one of the finest creative full-backs around. The Portugal international will have to redeem himself however, after falling out with Pep Guardiola and spending the second half of the campaign on loan with Bayern Munich, where he didn’t exactly shoot the lights out.
CM: Rodri – Manchester City
Arguably Man City’s most important player last season, Rodri is the glue that holds the whole operation together. He rarely grabs the headlines, which are reserved for the likes of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne, although he did score the winner in the Uefa Champions League final to complete the Treble in June.
✍️ Four years since Rodri signed for Man City…
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) July 4, 2023
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
Kevin De Bruyne’s gametime decreased last season as he enters the post-prime years of his career, but no midfielder can light a candle to the Belgian when he’s in the mood. Just look at his performance against Arsenal back in April.
CM: Martin Odegaard – Arsenal
We could very easily have had a midfield three of City players, but Martin Odegaard elevated his game last term to the point where he is now considered among the very best number 8s in the Premier League. The Arsenal captain will play a huge role in Mikel Arteta’s team this season.
This Odegaard assist 🤩 pic.twitter.com/4GeKd7rn9n
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 3, 2023
RW: Bukayo Saka – Arsenal
Sometimes you have to remind yourself that Bukayo Saka is just 21 years of age. He would not be out of place in the Man City team, or any team in the world for that matter. He’s that good, and only getting better.
“He’s phenomenal and it’s my job to help him be the best he can be. There’s always situations where I stitch him up and he gets out of it cause he’s so good, making me look so much better than I am.”
Ben White loves playing with Bukayo Saka ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/QWd3kYS06Z
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) August 4, 2023
CF: Erling Haaland – Manchester City
Was it ever going to be anyone else? 52 goals in all competitions last season speaks for itself.
That Haaland x De Bruyne connection! ⚡️
🧵 (3/5) pic.twitter.com/OmrjW84CrO
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 4, 2023
LW: Jack Grealish – Manchester City
Gabriel Martinelli and Phil Foden can feel hard done by, but neither man is getting past Jack Grealish in this team. The former Aston Villa playmaker was outstanding last season and showed why City were willing to spend £100m on him.