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Man City vs Chelsea combined XI if everyone was fit for FA Cup semi-final

Man City and Chelsea face off in the semi-final of the FA Cup this Saturday with both sides bidding to reach next month’s showpiece event at Wembley. 

The west London outfit have drifted way off their northern counterparts in recent years and face a fight just to qualify for Europe next season.

Pep Guardiola’s men, on the other hand, remain the team to beat in the Premier League and are on the hunt for the Double.

The question is, could any of Chelsea‘s players make it into Manchester City‘s supreme starting XI? Let’s find out.

Man City vs Chelsea combined XI ahead of FA Cup semi-final:

GK: Ederson – Man City

Chelsea’s goalkeeper situation means Ederson gets the nod by default. The club sold one Champions League winner and loaned the other out to Real Madrid, bringing in Robert Sanchez, who was Brighton’s second-choice netminder by the end of last season. Djordje Petrovic has since replaced him between the sticks, and while he’s a serviceable ‘keeper, he’s nowhere near the level of Ederson.

RB: Kyle Walker – Man City

Reece James might be the best player in Chelsea’s squad on his day, but Kyle Walker has been ridiculously consistent over the years. Even at 33 his recovery speed is impressive, shutting down opposition transitions on the right flank time and again.

Memorable cup clashes between Man City and Chelsea

CB: John Stones – Man City 

John Stones is lowkey integral to Guardiola’s team, and not just in a defensive sense. His ability on the ball is so important in possession, while he can fill in a number of roles across the backline and in midfield.

CB: Ruben Dias – Man City

Thiago Silva would have walked into this lineup earlier in his career, but all those many miles on the clock finally caught up with him this season; he’s just not the same player he used to be.

Ruben Dias has arguably not had a stellar season, but the former Footballer of the Year remains one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

LB: Ben Chilwell – Chelsea

Josko Gvardiol has been surprisingly effective at left-back for a natural centre-back, but Ben Chilwell would absolutely have to start in this hypothetical combined XI. His attacking prowess would offer so much to the team and he’s a handy defender as well.

RW: Bernardo Silva – Man City

Even the best Chelsea right winger doesn’t get in ahead of an out-of-position Man City player. Bernardo Silva is at his best in the centre, but he has shown on many occasions that he is perfectly comfortable operating on the right.

A little magician with the ball, the biggest attribute he brings to the Premier League champions is his indefatigable workrate. The 29-year-old never fails to put in a shift for the team.

Man City vs Chelsea: Five of the best to play for both

CM: Rodri – Man City

Is there even a conversation to be had here? Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez arrived at Stamford Bridge last year for ginormous transfer fees, but they haven’t looked anything like justifying the money Todd Boehly and co. shelled out for the pair.

Rodri, meanwhile, continues to prove he is one of the most important players in the Premier League, in both phases of the game. He is a metronomic presence on the ball, and his ability to cut out transitions while somehow avoiding yellow cards is second to none.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne – Man City

When Kevin De Bruyne hangs up his boots, he may well go down in history as the Premier League’s greatest ever midfielder, if not player. Injuries have kept the Belgian sidelined for large swathes of this season, but when he returned to action in January he registered two goals and seven assists in his first seven games back.

It was a masterful reminder of what City have been missing in his absence and they haven’t lost a game with him in the team this season.

LW: Phil Foden – Man City

There was a time when Raheem Sterling would have been an absolute lock in this combined XI, but the winger has dropped off to such a degree since leaving City that he’s barely even a consideration.

Phil Foden, meanwhile, has been enjoying the best season of his career to date, showing off his prodigious talent every single time he takes to the pitch. Guardiola finally trusts him to be one of his main guys, handing him 28 starts in the Premier League this term, more than he’s had in any previous campaign. The City boss has been rewarded with 21 goal involvements from the 23-year-old, while he’s also chipped in five goals and four assists in the Champions League.

The favourites for the 2023/24 PFA Player of the Year Award

CAM: Cole Palmer – Chelsea

No one, not even Guardiola, could have predicted what Cole Palmer would manage to do this season. He has been a shining star on a team full of disappointing turds.

The Manchester native is on 20 league goals for the campaign, level with Erling Haaland, and gunning for the Golden Boot. He’s got nine assists on top of that, meaning he’s got more goal involvements than anyone bar Ollie Watkins, who is also on 29.

Chelsea have spent a lot of money badly in the past two years, but the £40m they paid for Palmer looks like an absolute bargain.

Outstanding Palmer should be in Player of the Year conversation

CF: Erling Haaland – Man City

We have seen a drop off in production from Haaland, finding the net ‘just’ 20 times in the Premier League this season. But it says it all that that could be construed as a disappointing return for the Norwegian.

There is simply no one in the English top-flight who compares to the brutish centre-forward. Nicolas Jackson and Christopher Nkunku look like promising players who could come good for Chelsea, but there is no chance either can ever supplant Haaland in a combined XI.

Read – Golden Boot race assessed as Palmer streaks into contention

See Also – Five of the best FA Cup semi-finals of modern times

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