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Combined XI: Manchester City vs. Chelsea

:Headline: Combined XI: Manchester City vs. Chelsea:
Ahead of Sunday's Premier League showdown between Manchester City and Chelsea, Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI from both squads.
By , Editor | 4mo

Manchester City will be looking to maintain their rejuvenated title challenge on Sunday when they welcome Chelsea to the Etihad Stadium.

The Londoners were responsible for City's first defeat of their title defence this season, and Pep Guardiola will know that a repeat this weekend could hand the initiative back to Liverpool in the race at the top.

The champions go into the weekend as the league leaders courtesy of their midweek triumph over Everton but could be knocked off the summit when Liverpool face Bournemouth on Saturday, while Chelsea could also lose their spot in the top four before Sunday's game gets underway.

Here, Sports Mole selects its combined XI using only players available for this weekend's contest.



Kepa Arrizabalaga may be the world's most expensive goalkeeper, but he has work to do to establish himself as the best in the Premier League. Ederson is right in the conversation for that accolade, though, and while both have kept 11 clean sheets in the league this season, Ederson has conceded three goals fewer.

There is huge competition for places in central defence, with David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger both narrowly missing out for Chelsea. Nicolas Otamendi is also in contention, although Guardiola has favoured John Stones and Aymeric Laporte for the majority of the campaign so far and we have to bow down to the Spaniard's superior judgement.

Chelsea do claim both full-backs, though, with those areas proving to be an area of concern for Man City lately. Kyle Walker lost his place in the team to Danilo for a short time, whereas Cesar Azpilicueta remains one of the first names on the Chelsea teamsheet each week.

Marcos Alonso's selection may divide opinion following criticism of his recent form, but with Benjamin Mendy having struggled so much with injuries once again this season the attack-minded Spanish full-back is the only real choice for the left side of defence.

The midfield three throws up yet more difficult choices, and for once N'Golo Kante does not make it into one of our combined XIs. The Frenchman has been moved into a more attacking position this season, and in that regard he is still some way behind the likes of Bernardo Silva and namesake David Silva, while even in his old position of defensive midfield it is a tough call against the integral Fernandinho.

Jorginho also deserves a mention from the Chelsea camp, even if his effectiveness has been questioned lately, while the most notable City absentee is Kevin De Bruyne. On talent alone the Belgian would make it into pretty much any XI, but he is only just returning from injury and, when taking form into account too, he simply cannot be chosen ahead of the Silvas.

Raheem Sterling has scored 10 and created nine more goals in the Premier League this season to earn his place in the team ahead of Willian and Pedro, although his tally is overshadowed by that of Sergio Aguero, who has 14 goals and six assists to his name.

Chelsea may have a striker who can challenge for a place in these teams in Gonzalo Higuain, but it is still too early in his career at the club to put him up as a serious contender to Aguero. Eden Hazard, on the other hand, has once again proven why so many regard him as the Premier League's most talented played by scoring 12 goals and creating 10 more so far this season - a tally which confirms his spot above Leroy Sane in the front three.



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