MX23RW : Tuesday, December 11 13:36:05

Combined XI: Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Ahead of Arsenal's Premier League trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford, Sports Mole selects its combined XI from the two squads.

One of the defining rivalries in Premier League history will enter its latest chapter - and a new era - when Manchester United welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger enjoyed and endured many memorable showdowns with United - and against Jose Mourinho, for that matter - but the midweek showdown will be Unai Emery's first taste of the fixture.

The Gunners go into the match off the back of a rousing 4-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby, though, whereas United are without a victory in their last three league games and sit eight points adrift of their fourth-placed opponents.

Here, Sports Mole selects a combined XI from the two squads, using only players who are available for the match.



Combined XI: MNU vs. ARS

The goalkeeper is one of the few easy choices in this XI, with David de Gea still regarded as arguably the best in the world in his position, despite the ongoing troubles of those in front of him. Bernd Leno is comfortably second best in that selection.

Arsenal do dominate the defence in front of him, although it is not exactly a star-studded collection to choose from. Doubts over the fitness of Chris Smalling mean that Rob Holding earns a place at centre-back alongside Shkodran Mustafi, with the duo having begun to forge a decent partnership for the Gunners - albeit one which is still prone to errors now and again.

Hector Bellerin's status as a specialist right-back sees him selected ahead of Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia, but there is a United representative on the opposite flank with Luke Shaw taking advantage of an injury to Nacho Monreal and beating off competition from Sead Kolasinac.

Lucas Torreira enhanced his burgeoning reputation with a goalscoring performance during the North London derby and is a sure-fire inclusion in the midfield, but Nemanja Matic has endured some poor form so far this season and is only included in this XI due to Granit Xhaka being suspended for Wednesday's match.

Using Arsenal's 4-2-3-1 system means that Paul Pogba is pushed into a more advanced position than he usually plays, but he has the game-changing ability to prove effective there, particularly considering the dynamic nature of those around him. Mesut Ozil is a doubt for Wednesday's match, while Aaron Ramsey was in contention for a place in this team but is struggling to even get into the Arsenal XI at the moment.

Anthony Martial's performances throughout the season are enough to win him a spot despite his recent goalscoring streak drying up, as the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard, Alex Iwobi, Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata all miss out.

There is no doubt over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's place, though, with his brace against Spurs at the weekend meaning that he is now the Premier League's top scorer and has struck 20 goals in just 27 league games for the club.

With Aubameyang on the left, the centre-forward position comes down to a straight shootout between Alexandre Lacazette and Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku has been in poor form for most of the season, despite ending his goal drought at the weekend, so Lacazette gets the nod despite facing a race against time to be fit for this match.

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Who will win Wednesday's Premier League clash between Manchester United and Arsenal?

Manchester United
Draw
Arsenal
Manchester United
19.8%
Draw
9.6%
Arsenal
70.6%
Harry Kane celebrates after scoring Tottenham Hotspur's second goal against Chelsea on November 24, 2018
Read Next:
Combined XI: Arsenal vs. Tottenham
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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