MX23RW : Saturday, September 18 19:59:13| >> :120:5585:5585:
Dec 16, 2017 at 5.30pm UK at Etihad Stadium
Attendance: 54,214
Man CityManchester City
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Gundogan (14'), De Bruyne (70'), Sterling (80', 90')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Eriksen (93')

Combined XI: Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur

As part of the build-up to Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Tottenham, Sports Mole selects the strongest combined XI from both squads.

Tottenham Hotspur will become the latest team to attempt to stop the Manchester City juggernaut on Saturday when they face the daunting trip to the Etihad Stadium.

Spurs have been the team who have run the Premier League champions closest in the past two seasons, but they are already 18 points adrift of Pep Guardiola's relentless leaders this term.

City enjoy an 11-point gap over their closest challengers too, having racked up a record-breaking 15th consecutive Premier League win in midweek, and they could take another step towards what looks like an increasingly inevitable title on Saturday evening.

Here, Sports Mole selects the strongest combined XI from both squads in a 4-3-3 formation, using only players available for this weekend's match.

GK: Ederson

Ederson celebrates City's equaliser during the Premier League game between Manchester City and West Ham United on December 3, 2017© Offside

One of the most difficult choices in this team comes straight away with Ederson and Hugo Lloris both vying for the gloves, and both among the Premier League's leading goalkeepers.

Lloris is one of the best shot-stoppers in world football and would make it into most combined XIs, but Ederson's start to life in England has been so impressive and, on current form, he gets the nod in this team.

No team has conceded fewer goals than City this season, and Ederson has quickly shown himself to be a well-rounded goalkeeper who is as good with his feet as he is with his hands, an attribute which is crucial to the way Man City play.

RB: Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker in action for Manchester City against Brighton & Hove Albion on August 12, 2017© Offside

Kyle Walker will be coming up against his former club this weekend, and the battle for the right-back slot with Kieran Trippier could be one England boss Gareth Southgate must decide on for the World Cup next summer.

Serge Aurier's name should also be thrown into the argument for this team, having rotated with Trippier since his summer arrival, but Walker's form for City so far this season earns him the nod.

Guardiola spent a lot of money to strengthen his full-back areas during the last transfer window and he is now reaping the rewards, to the extent that Walker is one of the first names on a star-studded teamsheet for City.

CB: Nicolas Otamendi

Nicolas Otamendi and Manuel Lanzini scrap it out during the Premier League game between Manchester City and West Ham United on December 3, 2017© Offside

With Vincent Kompany and John Stones sidelined through injury, the mantle of City's main centre-back now falls to Nicolas Otamendi, and it is a role he has thrived in over the past few weeks.

The Argentine has not always had things plain sailing since his arrival from Spain, but this term he has helped City to post the joint-best defensive figures in the league while also weighing in with four goals in his 16 league outings, a figure no Tottenham player other than Harry Kane and Son Heung-min can better.

Spurs have plenty of contenders for this centre-back role from a fully-fit squad, but with Davinson Sanchez suspended for the weekend and Toby Alderweireld still injured, Otamendi is an easy choice at the heart of the defence.

CB: Jan Vertonghen

Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen during the Premier League match against Bournemouth on April 15, 2017© SilverHub

One of only two Tottenham players to have started every Premier League game this season, Vertonghen remains an integral part of Mauricio Pochettino's side despite some fierce competition for places at the heart of their defence.

The Belgian may have his work cut out to stop the Man City attack, particularly considering he is without Sanchez and Alderweireld alongside him, but despite that the hosts will know that they will not have it easy against the 30-year-old.

Considering the injury problems in Man City's defence Vertonghen, like Otamendi, is a simple choice to fill in at centre-back ahead of other contenders such as Eric Dier and Eliaquim Mangala.

LB: Ben Davies

Harry Winks and Ben Davies restrain Javier Hernandez during the Premier League game between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur on September 23, 2017© Offside

As comfortably as Fabian Delph has fitted into his makeshift left-back role at Man City this season, the position in this team is between two Tottenham teammates in Ben Davies and Danny Rose.

Rose has only recently returned from injury and has made just three Premier League appearances this season as a result, but that limited tally is also down to the form of Davies during the England international's lengthy absence.

Davies has scored two goals and created three more in the Premier League so far this season, and his improvement since being given regular first-team football has been so good that Spurs could even sell Rose in January, if reports are to be believed.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and West Ham United on December 3, 2017© SilverHub

Manchester City's incredible recent run of form is down largely to the majestic performances of Kevin De Bruyne week after week, with the Belgian having established himself as an early frontrunner for the Player of the Season award.

Operating mostly in a deep-lying playmaker role, De Bruyne boasts five goals and eight assists to his name in the Premier League already this season, in addition to one more goal and three more assists in the Champions League.

De Bruyne's creativity has been matched only by David Silva in the league this term, while no player in City's squad has directly contributed to more goals than the midfield maestro.

CM: Fernandinho

Fernandinho leaves the field after seeing red during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Burnley on January 2, 2017© SilverHub

Guardiola regards Fernandinho as one of the best in the world in his position, and who are we to disagree? The Brazilian may not get the headlines of some of his teammates, but he is every bit as important to City's title charge this season.

The 32-year-old's presence in the middle of the park allows the likes of De Bruyne and Silva to pull the strings without having to overly concern themselves with the less glamorous elements of the game, although Fernandinho has also weighed in with a couple of goals and assists himself.

Tottenham have plenty of players capable of creating the balance in this side too - most notably Mousa Dembele and Dier - but it is impossible to overlook Fernandinho on current form.

CM: David Silva

David Silva in action during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Manchester City on December 10, 2017© Offside

At 31 years of age David Silva is still weaving his magic in the City midfield, and if anything he is only getting better based on his recent performances.

The Spaniard has scored four goals in his last three games and is also able to match De Bruyne's tallies of five goals and a league-high eight assists so far this season.

Indeed, we may be seeing Silva hit the peak of his powers at the moment, and it speaks volumes about his importance to the side that the World Cup winner has featured in all 17 of City's Premier League games so far this term.

RW: Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling doth protest too much during the Champions League game between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk on September 26, 2017© Offside

Perhaps the most improved player in the Premier League this season, Raheem Sterling has also arguably been City's most important player during their remarkable winning streak.

The winger has won Guardiola's side seven points with goals in the 82nd minute or later - in addition to two more in the Champions League - and only three players in the top flight have scored more than him over the course of the whole campaign.

Indeed, this is already the 23-year-old's joint-best goalscoring season in the Premier League, and on current form he deserves his place in this team ahead of England teammate Dele Alli.

CF: Harry Kane

Harry Kane rues a missed opportunity in Tottenham Hotspur's Premier League match against Stoke City on December 9, 2017© Offside

There are difficult decisions to make in most positions for this team, but none is as fiercely competitive as the centre-forward role.

Man City alone have two world-class strikers who could easily lead the line in Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, with Aguero having scored 10 Premier League goals so far this season and Jesus only two behind on eight.

Kane gets the nod, though, having once again established himself as arguably the division's premier striker so far this season. Only Mohamed Salah can beat his tally of 12 Premier League goals this term, while in all competitions he has directly contributed to 21 goals in as many appearances.

LW: Christian Eriksen

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen in action during the Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield on February 11, 2017© SilverHub

As if Kane wouldn't have enough service with De Bruyne and Silva behind him, the creative talents of Christian Eriksen would only serve to add more firepower to this star-studded XI.

Eriksen has scored four and assisted four more in his 17 Premier League appearances so far this season, while only five players in the entire division have averaged more key passes per game than the Dane.

There are no shortage of Man City players who could be selected in this position - most notably Leroy Sane or Jesus - but Eriksen is one of the league's most talented playmakers and, given a free role in this team, he could do some serious damage.

Read Sports Mole's full match preview of Saturday's match by clicking here.ID:314185: cacheID:314185:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:restore:19275:
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