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Manchester City logo
Premier League | Gameweek 14
Dec 3, 2023 at 4.30pm UK
Etihad Stadium
Spurs logo

Man City
3 - 3

Heung-min (9' og.), Foden (31'), Grealish (81')
Rodri (34'), Grealish (61'), Gvardiol (84'), Haaland (90+5')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Heung-min (6'), Lo Celso (69'), Kulusevski (90')
Udogie (38'), Porro (74'), Emerson (90+5'), Kulusevski (90+2')

Combined XI: Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Ahead of Sunday's enticing Premier League contest between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads.

An intriguing Premier League contest takes centre stage at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon as reigning champions Manchester City play host to Tottenham Hotspur.

Plenty of plaudits have been thrust upon these two teams for their aesthetically pleasing performances so far this season, but they have both suffered dips in form in recent weeks.

Indeed, the Citizens have played out back-to-back draws with Chelsea and Liverpool either side of the international break, settling for a 1-1 draw with the latter last weekend which allowed Arsenal to climb above them to the summit.

Three points and three places behind Pep Guardiola's men in second spot are Ange Postecoglou's Spurs, who have suffered three defeats in a row to Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa, losing 2-1 to the latter last weekend to slip out of the top four.

Both teams will be keen to return to winning ways on Sunday, but neither side will be at full strength for the mouthwatering contest at the Etihad, as several players – mostly from Spurs – are confined to the treatment room.

Nevertheless, there will still be plenty of elite performers on show this weekend, and here, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads, using only players expected to be available for the encounter.

Combined XI: MNC-TOT

Choosing between Ederson and Guglielmo Vicario to play between the sticks was not a straightforward decision considering the somewhat surprising yet impressive performances of the latter since his summer arrival at Spurs. Both shot-stoppers have kept four Premier League clean sheets so far this term, and although Vicario's save percentage (75.4%) betters that of Ederson's (65.6%), the ball-playing Brazilian just gets the nod in our combined XI as what he offers with his feet as well as his gloves cannot be matched by many in world football.

Taking into account Man City's versatility at the back, we have chosen a three-man defence which includes former Spurs man Kyle Walker, one of the quickest players in the Premier League who excels in one-on-one situations, making 80 ball recoveries and boasting an 87.5% passing accuracy this season compared to fellow right-back Pedro Porro (63 and 79.6% respectively) – Tottenham's No.23, who never played for Man City during his brief stint at the club, narrowly misses out despite enjoying a promising start to life under Postecoglou.

With Cristian Romero suspended and Micky van de Ven injured, Ruben Dias and Manuel Akanji complete the backline. Dias, who has established himself as influential leader at the heart of Guardiola's defence over the years, boasts the sixth-best passing accuracy (93.3%) in the league this season and is also second for progressive carries (2,829 yards).

Meanwhile, there is little to separate Akanji, Nathan Ake, Josko Gvardiol and Destiny Udogie, but the former has made the cut having completed more passes (789), made more blocks (12) and has been dispossessed on fewer occasions (0.3 per game) compared with the latter trio; City have also lost only one of their last 25 top-flight games with Akanji in the team.

Rodri celebrates scoring for Manchester City on August 27, 2023© Reuters

John Stones is not 100% and could miss Sunday's clash with Spurs as he continues to recover from injury, so partnering Man City lynchpin Rodri in our midfield is Yves Bissouma, who has enjoyed a renaissance in North London this term and become a key cog in the Ange-ball system, averaging over three tackles per match and making 18 interceptions – more than any other Spurs player – while only Romero (749) has completed more passes than the Malian maestro (704) this season.

As for Rodri, arguably the best defensive midfielder in world football, he unsurprisingly makes our combined XI having chipped in with three goals and two assists as well as making the second-most passes (1,100) and third-most shot-creating actions per 90 minutes (5.44) in the Premier League this term. His presence in Guardiola's side is paramount as since the start of the 2020-21 season, Man City have lost just 15 of the 150 games the Spaniard has started; they lost all three when he served a three-match ban earlier this season.

Both Man City and Spurs will be without their chief creators this weekend as Kevin De Bruyne and James Maddison continue to recover from injury, while Citizens duo Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes are both doubtful, so with that in mind, Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez will take up advanced midfield roles in our combined XI.

Bernardo is arguably one of the most complete footballers in the Premier League who at times goes under the radar despite showing an exceptionally high level of consistency and intelligence whilst playing a plethora of different positions under Guardiola. Typically selected for all the big games, the Portuguese playmaker has contributed with three goals and three assists so far this season as well as making 20 key passes, 45 progressive carries, 16 tackles, 11 blocks and also boasts an 88.7% passing accuracy.

Alvarez, meanwhile, has been one of City's standout performers in all competitions this term, benefitting from the absence of De Bruyne, and has formed a strong partnership with a certain Norwegian striker in the final third. The dynamic Argentine has registered four goals and five assists in the Premier League this season, and has also provided more crosses (77), through-balls (eight) and goal-creating actions (also eight) than any of his Citizens teammates.

Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden in action for Manchester City on September 2, 2023© Reuters

Phil Foden is also capable of operating in a central role, but he occupies the right flank in our combined XI ahead of Tottenham's Dejan Kulusevski. The versatile Englishman has scored and assisted three goals each in the top flight, produced 50 shot-creating actions and has also put in the hard yards defensively having made more blocks (19) than any other Man City player.

Filling the void left by Harry Kane following his summer exit to Bayern Munich was seemingly a daunting task for any Spurs player, but Son Heung-min has taken the talismanic role with aplomb and slots in on the left side of our attack, edging out Jeremy Doku and Jack Grealish, following a superb start to this season. Son has already scored eight goals in the Premier League, including six away from home which bodes well heading to the Etihad.

Last but certainly not least, there is only one man who can lead the line and that is Man City's goal machine Erling Haaland who has netted 14 goals in just 13 league games this term, scoring at least twice on four occasions, while he also boasts a non-penalty xG of 10.2 – by far the best in the division. The 23-year-old scored against Spurs in a 4-2 home win last season and he will hope to get on the scoresheet once again this weekend.

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18Luton TownLuton3267194565-2025
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd3137213082-5216

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