Bukayo Saka of Arsenal takes on Luke Shaw of Manchester United
Bukayo Saka and Luke Shaw.
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Arsenal vs Manchester United combined XI ahead of Premier League clash

Arsenal and Manchester United resume rivalries in the Premier League this Sunday. 

While the two clubs are not where they were when they were fighting each other, sometimes literally, for titles in the nineties and noughties, they are both plotting a route back to the top after investing heavily in their playing squads.

 

But which of their players make it into a combined XI of the two squads? Let’s find out.

Arsenal vs Man United combined XI:

GK: David Raya – Arsenal

Our pick in nets is someone who won’t even play this weekend, but David Raya is arguably the best goalkeeper out of him, Aaron Ramsdale and Andre Onana. There’s an argument that he was the top player in his position in the Premier League last year.

RB: Ben White – Arsenal

Not a natural right-back, but Ben White showed last season that he is more than comfortable in the role. After playing as a centre-back in the opening three games, the former Leeds defender will likely return to full-back after it emerged that Thomas Partey is injured.

CB: William Saliba – Arsenal

A very classy operator, William Saliba finally got his opportunity to show Arsenal what he’s got last term and proved that he belongs at this level. The Frenchman is indispensable.

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CB: Lisandro Martinez – Manchester United

How do you pick between two World Cup winners? Raphael Varane has a stellar CV, but Lisandro Martinez has made the bigger impact since joining Man United.

LB: Luke Shaw – Manchester United

The England defender, who is currently out with injury, could have been signed by Arsenal from Southampton all those years ago. He’s been through the mill at Old Trafford, but he is a valued member of the first team at United. And, unlike Oleksandr Zinchenko, is an actual left-back.

CM: Bruno Fernandes – Manchester United

Now it gets much harder, as there will be an abundance of midfield talent on show this Sunday. Picking three out of the six that are likely to start the game isn’t easy, but there’s no way we could leave out Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder has provided 34 assists since joining the club and was the first player to create ten chances in the Premier League this season.

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CM: Casemiro – Manchester United

Reader, when I tell you I agonised over this particular position, I left it until last before writing in the name.

When you at look at their respective careers, there is no comparison between Casemiro and Declan Rice. The former is a five-time Champions League winner and one of the most respected defensive midfielders in the world, while the latter is still a relatively young player who moved for £100m.

Rice hasn’t achieved what Casemiro has in the game, and in all likelihood won’t, but he has performed better than the Manchester United man in the opening weeks of the season. But if there’s one man you’d want to shield your backline, it has to be the Brazilian, doesn’t it?

CM: Martin Odegaard – Arsenal

Last season felt like the year Martin Odegaard finally came of age, taking on the captain’s armband and the pressure of being the club’s leader. His performances were immense, contributing 15 goals to the campaign.

RW: Bukayo Saka – Arsenal

Arsenal’s starboy has really come of age in the past year, taking up the mantle as the club’s most important attacker. Saka deservedly won the PFA Young Player of the Year award for his performances last season – could the senior gong be in his future?

LW: Marcus Rashford – Manchester United

There have been a lot of ups and downs in Marcus Rashford’s career, but he came back with a bang in 2022/23 to score 30 goals in all competitions. If it wasn’t for him, United would’ve been in a much worse place over the past few years.

CF: Gabriel Jesus – Arsenal

The Brazilian forward has gotten a lot of stick for his finishing over the years, but Jesus was integral to Arsenal’s play last season after arriving from Manchester City. United could have done with a striker like him.

Arsenal vs Man United combined XI (4-3-3): Raya; White, Saliba, Martinez, Shaw; Fernandes, Casemiro, Odegaard; Saka, Jesus, Rashford.

Read – The Premier League has found its next superstar

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