Ahead of Saturday’s Premier League outing between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, Calcio Insider picks its combined XI – taking the strengths and weaknesses into account of either side.
Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United)
It is probably difficult to choose between Thibaut Courtois and De Gea, but the latter gets the nod due to his additional importance in the United ranks. The Spaniard has yet to make an individual error unlike Lloris, who was at fault during Chelsea’s 2-1 triumph over Spurs earlier in August.
Central defence: Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen (both Tottenham), Phil Jones (Manchester United)
The Belgian pairing of Alderweireld and Vertonghen have been consistent with their performances for club and country over the past year, and they make our lineup alongside Phil Jones, who has been a glowing presence in the United backline.
Wing-backs: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) and Danny Rose (Tottenham)
Another difficult pick between Valencia and Kieran Trippier at right wing-back, but the former makes the attack due to his experience in the big games. United’s standing skipper rarely has a poor game, and he has the potential to drive forward at will.
Danny Rose has been injured for the best part of nine months, but the Englishman is capable of setting the rhythm in the left wing-back spot. Ben Davies has been handed an extended run of games in the position, and it would not be a huge surprise, if Rose gets the nod following his injury comeback.
Midfield: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United) and Eric Dier (Tottenham)
The calming influence on either side. The futures of Nemanja Matic and Eric Dier could have fared so differently had United pursued the latter during the summer transfer window. Ultimately, the Englishman stayed put at Spurs, and he has been a revelation in central midfield in the injury absence of Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele.
Matic has also hit the ground running at Old Trafford, and he has already been identified by few as one of the signings of the summer transfer window. Chelsea fans will wonder why the Blues should him to a league rival.
Centre-forward and support attackers: Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen (both Tottenham) and Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
We were pretty much prepared to go with a Spurs trio, but unfortunately Harry Kane has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen have been crucial to Spurs’ upheaval in recent years, and they would pretty much make the starting lineup at any top-flight side – barring Manchester City perhaps.
With Kane sidelined, Romelu Lukaku makes our starting lineup as the lone striker – although his record against top-six position is not the best. With just five goals against the big sides since 2014, Lukaku will hope to improve this statistic at United.
Image – Getty