Saturday 14 December 2019

Do you agree with this Manchester United/Arsenal combined 11?

Jason Burt has his pick of the available players from Louis van Gaal's United and Arsene Wenger's Arsenal - who makes the cut?

David De Gea

If fit, De Gea just edges it ahead of Petr Cech – although the latter has been in outstanding form for Arsenal. De Gea is undoubtedly United’s player of the season (again) in what has been another underwhelming campaign and has put aside the disappointment of not securing his move to Real Madrid last summer. Where would United be without him?

Hector Bellerin

The 20-year-old Spaniard has established himself as Arsenal’s first-choice right-back and is one of the best – possibly already the best – in his position in the Premier League.

Super-fast and attacking he has also shown more discipline and works incredibly hard for his team. United have chopped and changed while first-choice Matteo Darmian has struggled for form and fitness after a bright start.

SOCCER Arse_28.jpg
Leicester City's Demarai Gray (left) and Arsenal's Hector Bellerin battle for the ball. Photo: PA

Chris Smalling

One of the few Louis Van Gaal success stories, Smalling has developed into a commanding centre-half and has been the pick of United’s defenders. Afforded protection by the manager’s conservative tactics but, nevertheless, the 26-year-old is in the form of his life and has secured a place in the England as well as the United team. Would warrant a place ahead of Per Mertesacker.

Laurent Koscielny

With his speed and mobility (and lack of height), Arsene Wenger has likened the 30-year-old French international to Fabio Cannavaro. That may be a bit of a stretch but Koscielny has overcome initial concerns when he moved to England as to whether he could deal with the physical demands of the Premier League to be Wenger’s number one centre-half. Easily in ahead of Daley Blind.

Nacho Monreal

Has seen off competition from Kieran Gibbs to claim the left-back spot. Deceptively aggressive and strong the 29-year-old Spaniard can be a no-nonsense defender as well as getting forward to join the attack.

A consistent performer he has become the Mr Reliable of the Arsenal team having been something of a makeshift signing when he arrived in January 2013. With Luke Shaw out United have no-one to challenge Monreal.

Francis Coquelin

With Morgan Schneiderlin’s form dropping and Bastian Schweinsteiger showing the ravages of age and injuries (as Bayern Munich predicted) then Coquelin is the obvious choice as a defensive midfielder.

The 24-year-old is still to regain his best form after recovering from injury but has become vitally important to the way Arsenal play with his aggression and ability to win the ball.

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Aaron Ramsey

The Welshman has lost his goal threat of late, snatching at chances, but would – probably – edge ahead of Michael Carrick in the central midfield role given his age and ability to get around the pitch.

The 25-year-old is happier in the centre of midfield although he sometimes loses discipline in his desire to score as he constantly wants to get forward.

Anthony Martial

The – potential - £58million transfer fee for the 20-year-old French international is still an eye-watering sum but Martial has performed well in a difficult season for United.

He has pace, skill and also a calmness in front of goal and has also proved adaptable as he has been shifted around the pitch by Louis Van Gaal. Is an outstanding talent. Could be in at centre-forward but can also play out wide.

Mesut Ozil

The king of the assists. Ozil has divided opinion, at times, since his £42million move from Real Madrid and there have been occasions when he has struggled to influence games, especially big games.

Now being played in his favoured number 10 position his ability to pick a pass and create chances is unquestionable. Would easily be selected ahead of Juan Mata.

Alexis Sanchez

Struggling for fitness and form the Chilean is having his most disappointing season as an Arsenal player. But he is still a brilliant, energetic, hard-working attacker who it would be difficult to leave out – which has often been the problem for Arsenal.

Has sometimes played when he should have been rested and looks in need of a break. Would make it ahead of United’s Jesse Lingard or Memphis Depay, despite the latter's improved performance against FC Midtjylland.

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez (centre) celebrates scoring his sides third goal of the game with team-mate Joel Campbell (right) during the UEFA Champions League, Group F match at The Emirates Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 24, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

Olivier Giroud

A marmite striker. His goals record is impressive and he has all the attributes to be a top-class centre-forward but, sometimes, appears unable to make the step-up – as against Barcelona in midweek. The accusation is simple: he misses too many chances.

Hence the continuing doubts over whether he is quite good enough. Anthony Martial would probably make it ahead of him as centre-forward but is being used elsewhere in this composite XI.

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