Manchester United host Chelsea in their Premier League opener at Old Trafford on Sunday, in a battle of the two most successful sides of the Premier League-era.
Both teams will be full of optimism ahead of the new campaign, but which players would make a combined XI?
GOALKEEPER: David De Gea
The Spanish shot-stopper has been amongst the world’s finest goalkeepers for several seasons now, his consistent brilliance rewarded with a place in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year on five occasions.
A four-times winner of United’s Player of the Year award, the 28-year-old wobbled last season in a disappointing campaign for the club, though he remains a fine player and earns his spot in our side.
RIGHT-BACK: Cesar Azpilicueta
One of Chelsea’s greatest bargains of recent times, the Spaniard has been a reliable performer since his £7m arrival from Marseille in 2012.
Comfortable at full-back or centrally, Chelsea captain Azplicueta has been a vital member of two title-winning teams, amongst six major honours won at Stamford Bridge.
CENTRE-BACK: Harry Maguire
The world’s most expensive defender, much will be expected of the England international following his record-breaking £80m move to Old Trafford this summer.
The 26-year-old has established himself as the first-choice in Gareth Southgate’s England side and United will hope the defender can bring leadership and solidity to their backline.
A commanding presence who is comfortable bringing the ball out of defence, Maguire will instantly improve a United defence who registered the club’s worst defensive record of the Premier League-era last season.
CENTRE-BACK: Antonio Rudiger
The German is an imposing figure who has quietly become Chelsea’s best central defender, the club will hope to have him back as soon as possible from a knee injury suffered in April.
David Luiz’s departure will see the 26-year-old emerge as the senior defender in Lampard’s new-look side, with the likes of Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma bidding to partner him at the heart of the Chelsea defence.
LEFT-BACK: Luke Shaw
After a difficult period at Manchester United, the 24-year-old has now emerged as a regular at the club and is beginning to show signs of why the club paid a world-record fee for a teenager to sign him from Southampton in 2014.
Injuries and fitness concerns have hampered his progress, however, the eight-cap England international has the talent to become a mainstay at Old Trafford for seasons to come.
MIDFIELD: N’golo Kante
Arguably the world’s finest holding midfield player, the Frenchman had to get used to an unorthodox box-to-box role under Maurizio Sarri last season but is expected to return to his favoured position this season.
A tireless presence in the midfield, the World Cup winner’s famed work-rate and ball-winning ability make him a certainty to feature in the midfield for our combined XI.
MIDFIELD: Paul Pogba
Despite a summer-long transfer-saga, Pogba remains a Manchester United player and will play a key role in their hopes of enjoying a successful season.
The Frenchman has a unique blend of athleticism and technique, and was the creative hub of the United side last season scoring more goals and providing more assists than any other player.
If Pogba can deliver on a consistent basis this season, United are likelier to enjoy a successful campaign.
MIDFIELD: Ross Barkley
Perhaps the most hotly-contested position in our side, with a number of players vying for our final midfield position. United’s midfield options have been depleted with the departure of Ander Herrera, whilst Chelsea have healthy competition in the shape of Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
We’ve opted for Merseyside midfielder Ross Barkley, who has shone for Frank Lampard’s side in pre-season. The England international has been at his creative best during the summer, and could shine having been handed a more attacking role under the new Chelsea manager.
Barkley has bags of talent and has taken on added responsibility with Chelsea’s set-piece duties, and will hope to establish himself as a key figure after featuring intermittently since his move from Everton in 2018.
The Brazil international has been one of Chelsea’s most consistent performers in six seasons at Stamford Bridge, making nearly 300 appearances for the club and winning five major honours.
The 31-year-old possesses work-rate, is technically gifted, and is able to offer pinpoint delivery from wide areas. Twice named Chelsea’s Player’s Player of the Year, the former Shakhtar Donetsk player is a big favourite at the West London side.
LEFT-WING: Anthony Martial
The French forward is full of promise but now must start to deliver on a consistent basis, having produced glimpses of his undoubted ability in four years at Manchester United.
Possessing an ability to beat players and a composed finisher, Martial has been reinstated as the club’s number nine ahead of the new season. The 23-year-old will hoping to improve on last season’s total of 10 league goals in a fluid front line for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
FORWARD: Marcus Rashford
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has placed his trust in the 21-year-old this season, sanctioning the sale of Romelu Lukaku and adding extra responsibility to Rashford to be United’s main attacking threat.
It can be hard to remember that the Wythenshawe-born forward is still just 21, given he has made over 150 appearances for United and played in two major tournaments with England.
The boyhood United fan is a fine talent, if he can amend his often erratic finishing he could emerge as one of the Premier League’s best attacking threats.