Man Utd and Man City combined XI: United dominate one area; no Ronaldo; surprise City omission

Man City striker Erling Haaland

Manchester City and Manchester United have endured mixed fortunes in recent years – but which players would make it into a combined XI, based on current form?

The balance of power in Manchester has shifted in City’s favour and they are now chasing a third straight Premier League title. But United have shown signs of improvement under Erik ten Hag and are full of confidence ahead of the Manchester derby.

We’ve compiled a combined United and City XI based on performances in the opening games of the 2022/23 Premier League season.

GK: Ederson

Ederson is hoping to win a fourth consecutive Golden Glove award and has got off to a good start, keeping a clean sheet in four of City’s opening seven Premier League games in 2022/23.

Alongside his shot-stopping abilities, the 29-year-old is also renowned for his outstanding distribution and that makes him a shoo-in for this combined XI.

United No.1 David de Gea is often criticised for his shortcomings with the ball at his feet and also made a couple of costly mistakes in their 4-0 defeat to Brentford earlier this season.

RB: Diogo Dalot

After being overlooked by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Dalot has now gone from strength to strength under the tutelage of Erik ten Hag.

Dalot‘s been excellent in defence and has also provided quality in the final third, setting up Bruno Fernandes’ winning goal against Southampton.

While Kyle Walker has been one of the best right-backs in the Premier League in recent seasons, City fans will admit that he has been below his usual imperious best in 2022/23.

CB: Raphael Varane

After an injury-plagued debut season at United in 2021/22, Varane is now starting to show why he’s regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the world.

He’s acted as an authoritative and calming presence at the heart of United’s defence and has formed a promising partnership with Lisandro Martínez.

In 2022/23, United have conceded a Premier League goal every 22.5 minutes when Varane isn’t on the pitch but they only concede a goal every 202 minutes when he’s been playing.

CB: Lisandro Martinez

Martinez joined United from Ajax in the summer and had a difficult start to life in the Premier League, struggling in back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

But the centre-back turned things around and produced Man of the Match performances in wins over Liverpool and Southampton. He won the United Player of the Month award in August and has become a real fan favourite at Old Trafford.

City’s Ruben Dias and John Stones have also made impressive starts to the Premier League season but the United duo just come out on top.

LB: Joao Cancelo

After Dalot was selected at right-back, Cancelo starts at left-back in this combined XI to complete an all-Portuguese full-back pairing.

The 28-year-old is yet to register an assist in the Premier League this season but did score in City’s 6-0 win over Nottingham Forest and his performances have seen him linked with Real Madrid.

Tyrell Malacia, who joined United from Feyenoord in the summer, has made a promising start to his Premier League career but is yet to reach Cancelo’s level.

CM: Rodri

While Casemiro enjoyed an incredible career at Real Madrid, he’s yet to make much of an impact in the Premier League. So there was only one option for this spot, although a gentle nod to Scott McTominay.

Rodri continues to be a model of consistency at the heart of City’s midfield. He breaks up play and allows the attacking players to shine.

The defensive midfielder, who has played more Premier League minutes than any other outfield player at City this season, has also chipped in with two assists in 2022/23.

CM: Christian Eriksen

Since joining United on a free transfer in the summer, Eriksen has established himself as one of the very first names on Erik ten Hag’s team-sheet.

He’s been United’s standout performer in the Premier League and has thrived in a deeper-lying role, dictating play from the base of midfield while bringing the best out of his team-mates.

“It’s really good to play with Christian, he’s a player that can find the passes, find the pockets and obviously make my game easier because he finds me when I move between the lines,” Bruno Fernandes said. “It’s something that’s not easy to do.

“I’m really happy to have him on the team because, as I’ve said before, he’s a quality player.”

Man Utd midfielder Christian Eriksen

CM: Kevin De Bruyne

Despite winning the Premier League Player of the Season award in 2021/22, De Bruyne has refused to rest on his laurels in 2022/23.

The midfielder continues to showcase his creativity and has six Premier League assists to his name this season, more than any other player in the competition.

He also scored in City’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth. That means Bruno Fernandes settling for a place on the bench in this combined XI.

RW: Bernardo Silva

Despite being linked with moves to Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, Silva ultimately remained at the Etihad.

The Portugal international has since shown why City were so desperate to keep him. He’s registered two goals and three assists in seven Premier League games in 2022/23.

“What amazes me about Bernardo is that when the game is going wrong he makes a step forward, he loves to play in this situation. He’s comfortable with it,” Pep Guardiola said. “Some players maybe step backwards, and he makes a step forward. That’s why he is irreplaceable in many ways for us.

“He’s so important, he can play in four or five positions. And it’s not just on the pitch, it’s off it too. In the locker room, I want him here so much.”

ST: Erling Haaland

Nobody can argue with this one. Not even Cristiano Ronaldo’s sister.

Haaland joined City in a £51m deal in the summer and has taken the Premier League by storm. He’s scored 11 goals and registered one assist in his first seven appearances in the competition.

The Norway international has already broken a few league records. And is currently averaging a direct goal contribution every 47.8 minutes.

In comparison, Ronaldo is yet to find the back of the net in the Premier League this season and the entire United squad have scored a combined total of seven league goals.

LW: Marcus Rashford

After a disastrous 2021/22 season, Rashford appears to have rediscovered his best form under Erik ten Hag and is enjoying a great start to the season.

He netted the winner against Liverpool and then won the Premier League Player of the Month award for September after being involved in all four of his side’s goals in the wins over Leicester City and Arsenal.

The 24-year-old has been playing up front for United so far this season. But he’s been moved out wide in this team due to Haaland’s form.

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