It’s United vs City at Old Trafford on Sunday in the Manchester derby, and with such a big match ahead we’ve chosen our combined XI from both sides.
Six points and six places separate the teams in the Premier League, with treble winners Man City trailing only Tottenham in second place and Erik ten Hag’s United having climbed up to eighth after successive wins.
As one of English football’s most historic derbies approaches, the hosts will be eyeing revenge against their ‘noisy neighbours’ after the Blues’ FA Cup final win in June.
Man United vs Man City: Manchester Derby Combined XI
Goalkeeper: Ederson – Man City
Like every great side, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have had to evolve over the seven years the Catalan has been at the club.
But one man that has been virtually ever-present is Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson, who has now made over 300 appearances for the Blues, racking up 10 major honours.
Widely regarded as the world’s best ‘keeper with the ball at his feet, he has yet to make an error that has led to a goal this season, unlike his United counterpart Andre Onana, and he has conceded just six times across eight Premier League matches.
Right-back: Kyle Walker – Man City
Similarly, Kyle Walker also swapped Tottenham for City in 2017 and has been Guardiola’s most dependable defender.
Having earned worldwide acclaim throughout the Blues’ Champions League winning run last term, Walker has made an excellent start again, often in a more advanced role on the right. Now 33, the unofficial City captain remains one of the first names on the team sheet.
Centre-back: Ruben Dias – Man City
Another regular for the champions, Ruben Dias has won the Premier League title in each of his first three seasons in English football.
🎯 Best final third pass success rates in the #UCL this season (40+ attempted):
🥇 Ruben Dias – 95%
🥈 Matheus Nunes – 93.3%
🥉 Joao Cancelo – 93%
🏅 Warren Zaïre-Emery – 90.7%
🏅 Luka Modric – 89.9% pic.twitter.com/nmGDf24mJq
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 25, 2023
After winning the FWA Player of the Year award in his debut campaign, the Portuguese has gone from strength to strength and continues to stake a claim for the title of ‘world’s best defender’.
With an average pass completion rate of 93.3 percent per match, Dias ranks in the 98th percentile for defenders across Europe’s big five leagues.
Centre-back: Raphael Varane – Man United
World Cup winner and four-time Champions League winner Raphael Varane has brought experience and quality to the United defence in his two years at the club.
With John Stones only having recently returned for City and Manuel Akanji unavailable this weekend, it’s hard to overlook the France international, who won 100 percent of his aerial duels and completed the most passes (84) in the Red Devils’ win over Copenhagen in midweek.
Left-back: Josko Gvardiol – Man City
It is quite rare in football that a club signs a player and everybody knows they will fit in seamlessly but that has exactly been the case for Josko Gvardiol at the Etihad this season.
At just 21, the Croatian is arguably the best young defender in Europe and he has thrived in Guardiola’s left-back/centre-back hybrid role.
His ability on the ball has been just as impressive as that without it; he completes 1.37 progressive carries and 0.60 successful take-ons per match – remarkable stats for a defender.
Midfield: Rodri – Man City
His sending off against Nottingham Forest last month may have been the catalyst for City’s recent slump in form, but Rodri, who scored the club’s Champions League winning goal against Inter, is quite clearly a cut above the rest.
Three defeats from three without the Spaniard is a telling reflection of his importance to the side.
Despite missing two league matches, only Lewis Dunk (834) and Thiago Silva (766) have completed more passes in the league this season than his 735.
Only Thiago Silva betters his 95 percent pass success rate (of players with five or more starts). Everything goes through him.
Midfield: Bruno Fernandes – Man United
With Kevin de Bruyne still out injured, Bruno Fernandes quite clearly gets into this combined XI.
Wasteful finishing from his United teammates has harmed his assist numbers this season; he led the league for big chances created last season (32). Only Mo Salah (9) and Kieran Trippier (7) have created more in this current campaign.
Bruno Fernandes in the Premier League in 2023:
◉ Highest xA
◉ Highest open-play xA
◉ Most chances created
◉ Most open-play chances created
◉ Most successful passes into opp. box
◉ Most Big Chances created
◉ Most through-balls
Somehow, seven players have more assists. 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/AGyCKzqxiv
— Squawka (@Squawka) October 19, 2023
Midfield: Phil Foden – Man City
A key contributor in City’s three successive Premier League title wins, Phil Foden is showcasing his immense talents again this season.
Occupying a more central role has allowed the 23-year-old the freedom to orchestrate things for City in De Bruyne’s absence. Ranking fifth for chances created this year (23), Foden has been a joy to watch.
Right-wing: Julian Alvarez – Man City
He only made 13 league starts last season but Julian Alvarez has been the main man for the champions in 2023/24 and his form certainly warrants a place in this side – even if it is slightly out of position.
The Argentine has started all nine league games for City, scoring four goals and setting up a further three. Add to that his three goals and an assist in Europe and it’s clear to see why the forward is currently undroppable.
Left-wing: Marcus Rashford – Man United
United’s main man Marcus Rashford can be unplayable at his best. Albeit in controversial circumstances, it was his goal that decided the last Manchester derby in the Premier League in January.
His 3.57 shot-creating actions rank him in the 90th percentile for forwards across Europe. A devastating direct dribbler, Rashford will be hoping for a sixth Manchester derby goal and to rediscover the form that saw him register 22 direct goal involvements last term.
Forward: Erling Haaland – Man City
A man who undeniably gets into any ‘best XI’ in the Premier League, Erling Haaland will have his eyes set on one day getting into the league’s ‘all-time best XI’ and he’s certainly on course to do so.
The Norwegian marked his first derby day with perhaps the best performance of his career as he bagged a hat-trick and set up Foden twice in a 6-3 win last October.
115 – Erling Haaland has been directly involved in 115 goals across his last 100 appearances in all competitions at club level (96 goals, 19 assists). Force. pic.twitter.com/0ZHZcykeHl
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 25, 2023
When 11 goals and two assists is considered a subpar record 14 games into a season, he’s clearly doing something right.
Haaland set incomprehensible standards in his debut campaign as he blitzed the goalscoring records, eventually racking up 36 in the league and 52 in all competitions. He leads the league again with nine this time around.