Premier League - The All-Manchester Dream XI

Thu, 20 Oct 16:40:00 2011

Last summer, that infamous banner had to be pulled down. With Manchester City winning the FA Cup, having beaten Manchester United in the semi-final, the residents of the Stretford End could no longer taunt their rivals for experiencing 35 trophyless years.

David Silva - 0

Typically though in a rivalry that has been decidedly one-sided for decades, even City's great achievement had to share equal billing with United's own as they became the first English club side to win 19 league titles on the same day.

As such, it is only this season, bloated once again by some expensive signings, that City may have the chance to finally escape the shadow of their rivals from across the city. They have certainly started well enough, leading United by two points at the top of the table after eight games.

The sides now clash at Old Trafford on Sunday in a game which will be illuminating regarding the balance of power in the City. We assess which players would make it into a composite XI from both sides, with the results suggesting that change could be in the air this year.

GK: Joe Hart (City)

Though David De Gea has overcome a sticky start on the pitch, and the controversy surrounding his sticky fingers off it, with some assured performances of late, it is England No. 1 Hart who gets the nod for us. At 24 he is the undisputed No. 1 for both club and country, though of course Frank Fielding, Rob Green and David Stockdale are hardly Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina and Victor Valdes.

RB: Phil Jones (United)

Micah Richards makes a strong case for inclusion having done very well to cast off his inconsistency and become a prominent figure in Roberto Mancini's side, but it is arguable there is no better defensive talent than Jones in England. A force of nature since his £16 million move from Blackburn in the summer, Jones surpasses Chris Smalling and the Brazilian twins by drawing together an intimidating physical presence and his ability on the ball.

CB: Nemanja Vidic (United)

Probably the best central defender of the past five seasons in English football, the Serbia international captains United with an iron fist and, with Rio Ferdinand struggling with persistent injury problems, Vidic is very much the key man in Sir Alex Ferguson's defence. Joleon Lescott and Kolo Toure just don't measure up in comparison.

CB: Vincent Kompany (City)

Carlos Tevez's flurry of goals last season obscured the fact that the classy Belgian was arguably City's player of the season as they secured a place in the Champions League and won the FA Cup. Kompany was rewarded with the captain's armband this summer following another flounce from Tevez and remains a hugely assured presence at the heart of defence.

LB: Patrice Evra (United)

The France international hasn't been at the very top of his game for the past 12 months or so but he still remains a far superior left-back to either Gael Clichy or Aleksandar Kolarov. City's purchase of Clichy in the summer seemed somewhat strange as he was hardly a huge improvement on Kolarov, who is also a touch inconsistent.

CM: Nigel De Jong (City)

The leading exponent of the destructive, holding midfield role in the city of Manchester, the Dutchman out-snarls Darren Fletcher, who though reliable in the biggest of matches does not possess the consistency or menace of De Jong in the position.

CM: Yaya Toure (City)

Alongside De Jong is a player who has proved to be a real all-rounder since arriving from Barcelona in the summer of 2010. Toure has adopted more of a withdrawn role this season but still impresses with his dynamic running. Anderson's excellent form this season means he was close to inclusion. Michael Carrick and Gareth Barry, however, were never in contention.

RM: Nani (United)

He remains difficult to like, but there is no doubting Nani's value to United. His absence from the individual player shortlists last season was perplexing and he has three goals and three assists in eight games so far this season. Though Samir Nasri has been a fantastic acquisition for City, he is not yet at the level of the Portuguese winger at Old Trafford.

AM/FW: Wayne Rooney (United)

An absolute given. Arguably the most talented forward in the Premier League, Rooney also provides the dangerous unpredictability that this side lacks with the exclusion of the genius that is Mario Balotelli.

LW: David Silva (City)

The Spaniard has been the most in-form player in the opening months of the Premier League and would grace any side on the planet. With his brilliant technique, perceptive vision and poise in possession, there are few more graceful players than Silva in full flight. He can play anywhere across the midfield, dropping into space and opening up defences at will.

ST: Sergio Aguero (City)

There is only a very small number of players who are capable of adapting immediately to a new football culture and excelling in it. Aguero, undoubtedly, is one of them. The Argentina international is blessed with all the attributes an elite striker needs and has demonstrated he is capable of becoming one of the league's greats. You can't help but like Javier Hernandez, while Edin Dzeko has been in fine form, but for pure, strikerly brilliance, it's Aguero.

Total players: City 6, United 5.


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