The two favourites for the Premier League title meet at Stamford Bridge this weekend with Premier League champions Manchester City taking on Champions League winners Chelsea. It promises to be a titanic tussle with City looking to bounce back from a surprising goalless draw at home to Southampton, while Chelsea were irresistible in their 3-0 win at Tottenham. Here is our combined XI from the two teams ahead of Chelsea vs. Manchester City on Saturday.
Chelsea and Manchester City combined XI
Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy
There is little to pick from between the two goalkeepers here but Mendy has been superb since joining Chelsea from Rennes. A minor injury ruled him out of the short trip to Tottenham last weekend but he should recover from the knock in time to face City. Ederson is brilliant with the ball at his feet but the Brazilian’s occasional mad moments means Mendy just about edges him.
Defence: Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Thiago Silva, Marcos Alonso
The back four has an even split of Chelsea and Manchester Cith players. City’s continuing left-back issues mean that Alonso is in the combined side almost by default, although there could be a case for playing Joao Cancelo here.
While Aymeric Laporte looks to be back to his best this season after nudging John Stones out of the City side, the leadership and experience of Thiago Silva – who is also a major goal threat from set pieces – means he partners last term’s Player of the Season Ruben Dias at the back.
Chelsea have strong options on the right side of defence in club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and England international Reece James but the recovery speed of Walker means the Manchester City star gets in our XI.
While Walker can be error-prone – he was arguably fortunate to have a red card and penalty rescinded in the Southampton game – he is out in front as the best choice at right-back.
Midfield: N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Kevin De Bruyne
Both teams have incredible strength in depth, which makes narrowing down the options to a trio extremely challenging. Although he has suffered from a range of injury issues in the past couple of years, N’Golo Kante remains the best in the world by a large margin at what he does.
Spain international Rodri has not quite developed into a defensive shield and playmaker in the mould of Sergio Busquets as quickly as City may have hoped, with Ballon d’Or favourite Jorginho preferred instead – if nothing else for his cool penalties.
It is impossible to leave out De Bruyne, who would have plenty of licence to roam and cause chaos due to the double protection provided by Kante and Jorginho in front of the defence.
Attack: Raheem Sterling, Romelu Lukaku, Jack Grealish
With Manchester City unable to persuade Spurs to sell Harry Kane, it was perhaps a little surprising they did not seem to have any interest in eventual Chelsea signing Lukaku. The Belgium striker has hit the ground running on his return to Stamford Bridge, netting three times in the Premier League and heading in the winner to settle a tight Champions League group game at home to Russian side Zenit last week
Lukaku looks a more complete player than when he left the Premier League for Inter and he seems to be the final piece of the puzzle for the Blues, given he is a sure-fire guarantee of goals
Grealish has also made a flying start at his new club, having become the most expensive British footballer of all time when he left boyhood team Aston Villa for City. Questions about how Grealish would adapt to Pep Guardiola’s tactical demands are already being answered in style, with Grealish’s brilliant goal in a Champions League thumping of RB Leipzig a sign of his class.
There are a lot of options for the final spot in attack, but Foden gets the nod to wrap up the XI. A foot injury sustained at Euro 2020 has held back Foden’s start to the season but the 21-year-old is the real deal and primed for a huge season as City compete on multiple fronts.
Substitutes: Ederson, Reece James, Aymeric Laporte, Ilkay Gundogan, Mason Mount, Bernardo Silva, Ferran Torres, Kai Havertz, Raheem Sterling
In the extremely unlikely event of anyone in our Chelsea and Manchester City fantasy XI not being able to play just about any team off the park, a ridiculously stacked bench is full of world-class options in every position.
Manager: Thomas Tuchel
While Guardiola’s CV is one of the best in modern football history, Tuchel appears to have his number. Guardiola’s over-thinking was costly in the Champions League final, with the German having masterminded three victories in a row against City – in a trio of different competitions.
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