Jan 7, 2020 at 8pm UK
Man UtdManchester United
Man CityManchester City
Rashford (70')
FT(HT: 0-3)
Silva (17'), Mahrez (33'), Pereira (38' og.)

Combined XI: Manchester United vs. Manchester City

:Headline: Combined XI: Manchester United vs. Manchester City: ID:385222: from db_amp
Ahead of Tuesday night's EFL Cup semi-final first leg between Manchester United and Manchester City, Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI from both squads.

Local rivals Manchester United and Manchester City will do battle for a place in the final of the EFL Cup having been drawn together in the last four, with the first leg taking place at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

The derby comes exactly one month on from the last meeting between the two sides, when United upset the odds to beat City at the Etihad Stadium.

Man City once again go into this match as favourites having lifted the trophy in both of the last two seasons, with United the last team to beat them in this competition more than three years ago.

Here, Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI from both squads, using only the players available for Tuesday's showdown.

The irony of the goalkeeping choice in this XI is that the two frontrunners - David de Gea and Ederson - are both unlikely to play, with Sergio Romero and Claudio Bravo expected to keep the gloves after the FA Cup outings at the weekend. Of those available, though, Ederson is top of the pile and, given that he is expected to have overcome an illness to be in contention to feature, he gets the nod between the sticks for us.

It is understandably a very Man City-heavy team, although a few more United players were close to getting in, including Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has been one of his side's most consistent performers despite the team as a whole being wildly inconsistent. Kyle Walker just pips him and teammate Joao Cancelo to the right-back spot, though.

The opposite flank is arguably the weakest area for both teams, with regular changes at left-back throughout the campaign. Benjamin Mendy in full flow is a more potent attacking weapon than any of the others available, and that earns him a place ahead of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Angelino, Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams.

City have also had problems at centre-back this season, leading to Fernandinho playing most of the campaign in an unfamiliar role. The Brazilian has established himself as Pep Guardiola's first-choice central defender ahead of Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones, though, and also beats his clubmates to a place in this team.

The inconsistent selection of Otamendi and Stones means that the second centre-back role has to go to Harry Maguire, who has not exactly set the world alight since his record-breaking move from Leicester City but has, like Wan-Bissaka, been a consistent performer for the Red Devils this season.

With Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay among United's injury absentees it is an easy decision to choose an all-Man City midfield three, although it says a lot for Fred's improvement that he is also worthy of an honourable mention now.

However, the main question is which Man City three to choose, with the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva both unfortunate to miss out. Kevin De Bruyne is a sure-fire inclusion having registered 12 assists and seven goals in the Premier League this season, while in terms of holding midfielders Rodri is the best available considering Fernandinho is in a deeper role.

It was a very close choice between the two Silvas, but ultimately David Silva gets the nod in midfield due to his greater experience and ability to run a game. Both have directly contributed to the same number of goals this season, but Man City have struggled more when David Silva has been missing, which indicates just how important he remains to the team.

Marcus Rashford is the second United representative in this XI, having scored 12 goals and created four more in the league this season - a tally only De Bruyne can beat from these two squads. The England man shone when these two sides met at the Etihad a month ago, which also did him no harm when beating Riyad Mahrez to a place in the team.

Rashford on the left means that Raheem Sterling moves across to the right, and he is not far behind his compatriot's tally having scored 11 and assisted one this term.

Sterling's greatest competition for a place in this team came from within his own club, and the same is true of Sergio Aguero, who holds off competition from Gabriel Jesus despite the Brazilian's recent purple patch in front of goal. Anthony Martial, who is an illness doubt for this game, also deserves a mention, but despite only just coming back from injury it is Aguero who remains top of that particular pecking order.

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