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Combined XI: Manchester City vs. Manchester United

Sports Mole picks a combined XI from the squads of Manchester City and Manchester United, including only players available for Wednesday's EFL Cup clash.

Manchester City play host to Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday night.

City, who also lifted the trophy in 2018 and 2019, hold a 3-1 advantage from the opening fixture after a first-half blitz at Old Trafford.

Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an own goal from Andreas Pereira provided Pep Guardiola's with a sizeable lead, before Marcus Rashford added a consolation after the break.

Since that clash on January 14, City have recorded three wins from four attempts in all competitions, with the 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace their only setback.

While United have progressed through to the FA Cup fifth round, Premier League defeats versus Liverpool and Burnley respectively have piled the pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Here, Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI from the two squads, using only players available for the meeting in the North-West.


Combined XI: MNC vs. MNU

Ederson and David de Gea have not produced their best form this season, but the City stopper would get the nod with us having made fewer individual mistakes than his opposite number.

While the selection of Kyle Walker at right-back is fairly clear cut, it is a different story with regards to the rest of the backline with over half-a-dozen players realistic options for three places.

With the likes of Benjamin Mendy and Oleksandr Zinchenko having been inconsistent this season, we go for United youngster Brandon Williams, who has recently dislodged Luke Shaw at left-back.

At centre-back, we have decided to combine the leadership and tenacity of Fernandinho and Harry Maguire, rather than opt for John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi or Victor Lindelof.

The remainder of the team does not make good viewing for United supporters, and we were not exactly pushed to include any of their forward players in our team.

Rodri is the obvious the pick in a defensive-midfield role, with Ilkay Gundogan acting as the link in the centre of the pitch and Kevin De Bruyne being given more freedom to influence the match.

By choosing Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling, we have both creativity and speed, rather than focusing on the pace and directness of Daniel James and Mason Greenwood.

Down the middle, it was a straight choice between Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero, with the latter being preferred due to having netted seven goals from four outings since the turn of the year.

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates after the match on January 26, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38275683325186
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd382111673442974
3Liverpool38209968422669
4Chelsea381910958362267
5Leicester CityLeicester382061268501866
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham381981162471565
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs381881268452362
8Arsenal381871355391661
9Leeds UnitedLeeds38185156254859
10Everton38178134748-159
11Aston Villa38167155546955
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174662-1645
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38129173652-1645
14Crystal Palace38128184166-2544
15Southampton38127194768-2143
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914154046-641
17Burnley38109193355-2239
RFulham38513202753-2628
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38511223576-4126
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3872292063-4323

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