Bukayo Saka will star in attack, Kevin De Bruyne HAS to play and William Saliba is already the best centre-back on offer… but who has the edge in our combined Arsenal and Manchester City XI as the top of the table challengers go head-to-head?
- Manchester City and Arsenal will go head-to-head at the Emirates tonight
- Pep Guardiola’s men are looking to move ahead of Arsenal on goal difference
- Here, Sportsmail puts together a combined XI from both teams ahead of the tie
Arsenal and Manchester City will go head-to-head in their highly-anticipated Premier League clash this evening. The showdown at the Emirates could have huge implications on the 2022-23 title race.
Pep Guardiola’s side will be looking to move above Arsenal on goal difference with a win while the Gunners will be looking to assert their dominance and go clear six points clear with a victory over City, while still having played a game less than their opponents.
As it stands, Arsenal are the favourites to win the Premier League title but they have dropped important points against Brentford and Everton in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, City will be hoping their star striker Erling Haaland will be fit enough for this evening’s fixture after picking up a thigh injury against Aston Villa on the weekend.
Ahead of tonight’s fixture, Sportsmail have selected a combined XI – in the 4-4-3 formation – consisting of the best players from both Arsenal and Manchester City.
Sportsmail have selected a combined XI consisting of the best players from Arsenal and City
GK: AARON RAMSDALE
Aaron Ramsdale edges out Ederson for the No 1 spot between the sticks after excelling with Arsenal this season.
Ederson has performed well for City over the current campaign but Ramsdale’s distributing gives him the edge as his goal kicks and long throws have launched some of Arsenal’s best counter-attacks.
His performance against Tottenham was one of the defining factors for his selection. He made several saves to keep the Gunners in the game and laid the foundations for their attacking play. Therefore, Arsenal were able to win the game 2-0 and secure a derby victory.
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale (above) edges out Ederson for the No 1 spot between the sticks
RB: BEN WHITE
Ben White has been a class act for Arsenal – his return to the squad had been valuable during their pursuit of the title.
White’s one-on-one defence in particular has been impeccable and has become a master in shutting down his opponents and denying them the chance to dribble.
He is also calm and composed when in possession of the ball – making him a good outlet source at the back.
Ben White’s (left) return to the squad had been valuable during their pursuit of the title
Gabriel was labelled as a liability by Arsenal fans in the past but Arteta stuck by the 25-year-old defender.
As a result, Gabriel has become one of the most important and in-form defenders within the current Arsenal squad.
His composure on the ball at the back gives him the ability to outlet well. While his aggressive nature in defence shuts out some of best forwards in the league.
Additionally, Gabriel has scored two goals this season to help the Gunners earn three points on both occasions.
Gabriel (above) has become one of Arsenal’s most important and in-form defenders
CB: WILLIAM SALIBA
William Saliba also comes into the backline after establishing himself as one of the best defenders in the Premier League this year.
Saliba’s return to Arsenal – after his loan spells in France – has provided a timely boost in defence for the Gunners.
The 21-year-old centre-back picked up the Young Player of the Year award in Ligue 1 last season and has continued that form into the current campaign.
William Saliba comes into the backline after establishing himself as one of the best defenders
LB: OLEKSANDR ZINCHENKO
Oleksandr Zinchenko doesn’t always get the credit he deserves. But, you can be certain he will perform well against his former team-mates.
Although Zinchenko is a good defender, it is his attacking mindset that earns him a place in the combined XI.
He links well with the midfield line and breaks well down the flanks. He also has a habit of popping up around the edge of the box during some of Arsenal’s most threatening attacks.
The Ukrainian international also gets on the ball more, makes more passes and wins more duels than most of his Arsenal team-mates.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (right) doesn’t always get the credit he deserves at Arsenal
Rodri deserves a place in the combined XI with his stats from City’s clash with Wolves alone making him a worthwhile candidate.
He completed 100 per cent of his passes, won the most possession, won the highest number of duels and executed the most tackles.
Additionally, Rodri is highly motivated for tonight’s fixture. He’s said City must show their ‘champion personality’ against Arsenal.
He told reporters: ‘We have the chance to go and be on top of the table. I hope we can show the best performance of the team against the best opponents right now in the Premier League, they have showed until now.
‘I think we have to show our personality, our champion personality, from this moment until we go to the Emirates, show we can fight against them and we can put on a good game.’
Rodri’s stats from Man City’s Premier League clash with Wolves alone make him worthy
CM: KEVIN DE BRUYNE
Kevin De Bruyne would make my team (and pretty much anyone else’s team) every day of the week. He is the definition of a midfield maestro.
He is constantly setting up his City team-mates and, as it stands, he’s registered 11 assists in the Premier League.
And while he has been left out of Guardiola’s starting XI in recent weeks for ‘tactical reasons’, there’s no chance he’s getting left out here.
Kevin De Bruyne would make my team every day of the week given his midfield ability
CM: MARTIN ODEGAARD
Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard is another standout performer this season. The 24-year-old has been involved in 14 league goals this season, scoring eight and creating a further six.
Even Haaland has been impressed with Odegaard’s performances.
Speaking about the Arsenal midfielder, Haaland said: ‘He is such a good footballer and finally he is getting his full potential out. He is showing the world how good he is. That is really fantastic to see.’
Arsenal captain and playmaker Martin Odegaard is another standout performer this season
RW: BUKAYO SAKA
Bukayo Saka is the gift that just keeps giving. He’s scored seven goals and has registered a further seven assists for Arsenal.
His goal against Man United was particularly impressive, having cut in from the wing before unleashing a brilliant shot from 25 yards out to beat David de Gea in net.
Arsenal were drawing 1-1 with Erik ten Hag’s side when the 21-year-old received the ball from Takehiro Tomiyasu. He controlled it well, beat Christian Eriksen and left the Spanish goalkeeper beaten all ends up. It even earned him goal of the month for the Gunners.
However, Saka struggled to make an impact in Arsenal’s clash with City in January. Therefore, he will be hoping for more success this evening.
Bukayo Saka has scored seven goals and registered a further seven assists for the Gunners
LW: RIYAD MAHREZ
Riyad Mahrez’s start to the season was somewhat questionable. He scored just one goal and registered just one assist in Manchester City’s first 18 Premier League games.
However, Mahrez has turned his form around. He has scored four goals and registered four assists in City’s last seven games and continues to be a threat for Guardiola, keeping the likes of Jack Grealish and Phil Foden on the bench.
Riyad Mahrez’s start to the season was somewhat questionable but he is thriving now
ST: ERLING HAALAND
Haaland was initially a doubt for tonight’s game after sustaining a thigh injury against Aston Villa. Guardiola remained coy about whether the striker would be included in his matchday squad during Tuesday’s press conference.
However, City fans are hopeful the 22-year-old Norway international will be deemed fit enough to play having trained normally with the squad on Monday. And if he is fit enough, he will be included in my City and Arsenal combined XI.
Haaland hasn’t scored in his last three appearances for City but there is no doubt on his pedigree as a goalscorer. Haaland only touched the ball six time against Villa but caused their defence all sorts of problems.
His runs in behind dragged his defender away. He linked up well with De Bruyne and provided an assist for Ilkay Gundogan’s goal.
And let’s not forget he has an insane 31 goals in 29 games for City this season. Records Ronaldo and Messi would be proud of.
Erling Haaland is in doubt for this evening’s fixture after sustaining a thigh injury
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