Only David De Gea and Cristiano Ronaldo would arguably make a Man City vs Man Utd XI combo – and even then the case for 11 City stars is strong
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If, for the first time in this century, I were to choose a combined combination of City and United on the eve of this weekend’s Manchester derby, there might not be room for a single red shirt.
And that says it all about the shift in power along the Mancunian Way since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
This game has often favored the away side and Manchester United’s record at the Etihad is very good.
In the Premier League era, they won more, scored more goals and kept more clean sheets in the derby.
But most of those stats reflect Fergie’s superiority when he ruled English football. This time I see nothing but a Man City win.
It’s quite amazing: when I sit down to consider a combined starting XI based on this season’s form, only two United players even come into the picture.
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Goalkeeper David De Gea has been United’s most consistent player, which is saying a lot, but Ederson is well ahead in the Premier League with a 15-7 clean sheet.
And without Cristiano Ronaldo’s 15 goals, United’s season would look even more flimsy – but could I justify picking a 37-year-old ahead of Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez?
By most standards, a combined City-United XI is a flop at the moment. It’s not just a blue moon, it’s a full moon.
Ever since Sergio Agüero’s famous last-second winner snatched the title away from United in 2012, the move from Old Trafford to the Etihad has been amazing in terms of trophies.
Yes, United won it the following season to gloriously retire Sir Alex, but look at the chest of honor since 2014: City have won four titles, seven trophies and reached a Champions League final; United have won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League.
And the gap seems to be widening.
For me United’s biggest problem this season, despite Ronaldo’s contribution (and Chris Sutton called me his ‘fanboy’), was the last third.
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Jadon Sancho (two Premier League goals) has not been in full swing, Edinson Cavani (two goals) is injured, Marcus Rashford (four goals) is out of shape and Mason Greenwood is suspended.
Critics say United can’t press with Ronaldo on the team – but they don’t press when he’s not on the side either.
What they’ve done well at Etihad in the past is hitting City with pace at the break and that’s their best hope this time – as long as they’re more disciplined in the penalty area, as opposed to last weekend’s lavish finishing against Watford.
Interim manager Ralf Rangnick has to choose his big players for the big occasion. First of all, there are Ronaldo and Paul Pogba.
I remember the disastrous 5-0 home defeat by Liverpool when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left Pogba on the bench and brought him on when he was down 4-0. That’s not how you go against City.
But I’m still struggling to make room for a single United player in my combined XI and I never thought it would come to this.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/manutd-combined-xi-mancity-26388317 Only two Man Utd stars are even in the debate for Manchester Derby Combi XI - Robbie Savage