Manchester United vs Arsenal Combined XI (5th Dec)

by The United Devils
3rd Dec 2018

Another depressing draw for Manchester United. They came from 2-0 down after 20 minutes at St Mary's to draw 2-2 at the end of the first half, only to then lose it again; for the rest for the match, they barely threatened and looked underwhelming in attack. Arsenal on the other hand, are on a hot streak after emphatically winning the North London Derby from 2-1 down at home to come back and win 4-2 with a brace from Aubameyang and goals from Lacazette and Torreira to seal the win. However, not all is lost. Going into their next battle, United has a history of turning up to the big games against Arsenal, winning both games last year (1-3 A and 2-1 H) and proving that they have the ability to beat the Gunners regardless of form. Both sides have some defensive issues, one more than the other clearly, but both sides can fit comfortably into a 4-3-3 formation, which is what we’ve used here. Here’s our Manchester United Arsenal combined XI:

He hasn’t had the best season, but he has made some vital saves in the Champion's League that have kept United on the front foot against Juventus and Young Boys. He’s been there when United needed him most and has made 48 saves this season so far – an unfortunate statistic that whilst showing De Gea’s ability also emphasises just how weak United's defence is. Leno and Cech have made some high-profile errors, the former making an error against Spurs yesterday (which, although did not affect the outcome of the game, was a true howler). Whether it’s because of his own form, or that he counters the poor form of the rest of the team, you can see why United were desperate to extend his contract.

RIGHT BACK: Hector Bellerin
One of United's issues this season has been at right back. At times, Ashley Young has looked seriously uncomfortable and out of position and his crossing has been very poor so far. Valencia has been in and out of the team and Darmian and Dalot haven’t had enough game time to be contenders. Bellerin has impressed for Arsenal this season and has already made four assists in the league so far, with his defensive abilities finally catching up to his pace and attacking prowess. 

CENTRE BACKS: Phil Jones and Shkodran Mustafi 
Phil Jones is United's only fit centre back currently and was impressive against Young Boys and Southampton. It is not his fault that Matic and McTominay are not centre backs! Mustafi was excellent against Tottenham both in an attacking and defensive sense; he has a big future at Arsenal. In contrast, Holding still looks uncomfortable on the ball and is still developing and I'm not confident about Sokratis; he still seems out of place and sluggish. Is he just a stop-gap until the next summer transfer window and/or until Laurent Koscielny is fit?

LEFT BACK: Luke Shaw 
Shaw has been revitalised this season. Currently The Red Devil’s most consistent player, he’s really only had one bad game. If the former Southampton player is unfit, then Sead Kolasinac is my second option. 

Pivotal to Arsenal's success and the epitome of everything United lacks. Steel in the heart of midfield, Torreira aims to pass forward at every possible opportunity and is someone who shows passion and heart in a derby despite being an Arsenal player for less than six months. United players take note.

CENTRE MIDFIELDERS: Paul Pogba and Aaron Ramsey 
Pogba has the talent and ability, but is only as good as the players around him. When Lukaku fails to make forward runs and Rashford mis-times his, he cannot do much other than play simply. Knowing what the Frenchman can do, he ends up being swarmed by three or four players in an instant. Ramsay turned the game around against Tottenham and bagged two assists against Spurs in Arsenal's second-half comeback. He plays like a number 10 and moves into pockets of space; this allows Pogba to play and have more space in the midfield. If there is the option for United to sign Ramsay, they ought to snap him up and ditch some of the dead weight.

WINGERS: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Anthony Martial 
The best players for their respective clubs so far this season. Aubameyang is the Premier League's top goal-scorer – 10 goals in 14 league games and a club total of 20 goals in 27 league appearances. Likewise, Martial has scored 7 goals in all competitions and on his day is unplayable. Those have dwindled of late, but he will find his form again and it will bring devastating results for the opposition. 

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