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Lukaku over Aguero? David Silva or Pogba? Our Manchester derby combined XIs

Man Utd v Man City combined XIs: Lukaku over Aguero? David Silva or Pogba?
Guardiola and Mourinho’s galaxy of stars go head-to-head on Sunday (Picture: Getty)

Sunday’s Manchester derby pits together the best two teams in the Premier League in a mouth-watering contest. United have the best defence in the division, while City have racked up more goals than any previous team at this stage of the season. It is truly a clash of the titans.

Both sides boast a plethora of world-class players who are playing at an incredibly high level, so we thought we’d get our writers to try and piece together a combined XI. There are no restrictions on whether a player is fit or available for the match (the suspended Paul Pogba, for example, can be picked). Go easy on us…

James Goldman’s XI

Man Utd v Man City combined XIs: Lukaku over Aguero? David Silva or Pogba?

The part a new-look Manchester City defence has played in a record equalling run of form has been largely overlooked amid a goal-laden start to the season, but given that Pep Guardiola’s side tends to utterly dominate possession they haven’t actually spent much time on the back foot. United have been to the Emirates, Anfield and Stamford Bridge already this season and conceded just twice, which means I can only find room for John Stones in one of the six defensive positions. Paul Pogba and Kevin de Bruyne, the two most complete midfielders in the Premier League, are automatic picks, while I’ve had to make room for David Silva for the sake of having some craft and variation in my forward line, which includes Romelu Lukaku over Sergio Aguero and Antony Martial instead of Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling.

Man Utd players: 8 / Man City players: 3

Tom Olver’s XI

Man Utd v Man City combined XIs: Lukaku over Aguero? David Silva or Pogba?

United’s talisman, David De Gea, secured his place as comfortably the best goalkeeper on the planet against Arsenal. Eric Bailly and John Stones make the cut at centre-back and would complement each other perfectly. Antonio Valencia is among the most complete full-backs in the Premier League, but the pace and power of Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy gives them the advantage. Chelsea inexplicably let United have Nemanja Matic and he’s been in imperious form since joining the Red Devils. Paul Pogba and Kevin De Bruyne, two of the English top flight’s genuine world stars, get the nod in front of Matic. The pair are a striker’s dream. Sergio Aguero is perhaps the shock omission, but who wouldn’t pay to see Romelu Lukaku flanked by Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling?

Man Utd players: 5 / Man City players: 6

Sean Kearns’ XI

Man Utd v Man City combined XIs: Lukaku over Aguero? David Silva or Pogba?

David De Gea’s the best goalkeeper in the world right now and pips the impressive Ederson as my No.1. Kyle Walker pushes Antonio Valencia close for a place at right-back but the Ecuadorian’s better defensively and just makes the cut. In the middle Eric Bailly is the perfect foil for John Stones – who has improved massively this season. Benjamin Mendy had made a bright start to life at the Etihad before his devastating knee injury and he’s a certain starter given United’s lack of quality at left-back. City and United both have two representatives in midfield and you’ll be hard pushed to find a better midfield four in the league. Nemanja Matic – so impressive since his £40m move from Chelsea – can play at the base of a midfield diamond and he’ll have his work cut out behind an attacking three of Kevin De Bruyne, Paul Pogba and David Silva. Anthony Martial, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane are all having fine campaigns but I’ve opted for Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku up front. The Argentine is the only striker capable of matching Harry Kane in the league and Lukaku offers a greater goalscroing threat than his competitors.

Man Utd players: 6 / Man City players: 5

Ewan Roberts’ XI

Man Utd v Man City combined XIs: Lukaku over Aguero? David Silva or Pogba?

David de Gea just pips Ederson – who has made an excellent start to life in England – in goal, with United teammate Eric Bailly partnering John Stones ahead of him. City spent over £100m on their two full-backs, and for good reason. They’re the perfect blend of pace and power, and allow the forwards to come inside without sacrificing width. Nemanja Matic has received plenty of plaudits since leaving Chelsea, but Fernandinho is the best No.6 in the division and single-handedly ties together what would otherwise be a gung-ho City line-up. Kevin De Bruyne and Paul Pogba are easy picks, the two talismen of their teams. The attack is a little harder. Anthony Martial would combine perfectly with Mendy and has looked rejuvenated this season. Raheem Sterling is the most decisive player in the league, directly responsible for more points than anyone else, and Gabriel Jesus – who has never tasted league defeat with City – is the livewire needed to lead the line.

Man Utd players: 4 / Man City players: 7

Chris Davie’s XI

Man Utd v Man City combined XIs: Lukaku over Aguero? David Silva or Pogba?

David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Kevin De Bruyne are the only three players who I think guarantee their place in a combined XI – the rest is up for debate. David Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Kyle Walker, Fernandinho and Ashley Young have all been in superb form this season and are extremely unlucky to be overlooked because of the competition in their position. Romelu Lukaku has been praised by Jose Mourinho for his contribution off the ball but one goal in his last eight Premier League appearances means he misses out and Sergio Aguero narrowly makes the cut ahead of Jesus. Raheem Sterling is largely uncontested for a place on the right wing, but that should take nothing away from the excellent campaign he’s having under Pep Guardiola.

Man Utd players: 5 / Man City players: 6

George Bellshaw’s XI

Man Utd v Man City combined XIs: Lukaku over Aguero? David Silva or Pogba?

Ederson has been excellent since arriving in England but De Gea has established himself as the world’s best and has to be in between the sticks. At right-back, Walker just about gets the nod over Valencia (although it’s very close), while Bailly and Stones are the standout centre-backs. Left-back is probably the weakest position for both teams on current availability but while Young is performing excellently right now, Mendy is still the strongest option when fit. Matic edges Fernandinho in the holding role, while Pogba and Silva would provide great legs and invention to the midfield. De Bruyne is playing as well as anyone in either side and has functioned out on the right wing, while Sane is favoured to the likes of Martial, Rashford and Sterling. Jesus and Lukaku are high-quality forwards but Aguero still has that magic touch to lead the line.

Man Utd players: 4 / Man City players: 7

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