?The Premier League season is well under way as we enter game week seven, and fans of England’s top flight have another spectacle to behold when Manchester City travel to west London to face the reigning champions Chelsea this Saturday.
Both teams are coming off the back of midweek Champions League victories, although City will presumably have the fresher legs given the fact they had a home tie, whereas Chelsea travelled to Madrid and back.
Nonetheless, it should prove to be an enticing matchup, and one which will have huge importance come May. In preparation for it, here’s a combined best XI from the two squads…
1. Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)
The imperious Belgian stopper gets the nod over City’s Ederson as despite the pair being tied on three clean sheets for the season so far, Courtois has been in a fine vein of form individually.
Coupled with the fact that he arguably plays under a more defence minded boss in Antonio Conte, the 25-year-old is the preferred choice to Ederson, who may come under more pressure given Pep Guardiola’s open playing style.
2. Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
The England international is the preferred choice over Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses, and poses as a bigger threat going forward due to Guardiola’s favoured system which focuses on his full-backs operating higher upfield.
Additionally, the 3-5-2 deployed by both teams may allow Walker to have a lot of joy in his direct battle with Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso, with the former Tottenham man’s pace being a key factor in possibly pinning the Spaniard back and restricting his own attacking opportunities.
3. Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
The Spaniard has recorded four assists in just six games this season, numbers that would be impressive of an attacker let alone a defender.
Additionally, he has also kept three clean sheets and gets the nod over City’s Nicolas Otamendi due to his effectiveness at both ends of the pitch.
4. John Stones (Manchester City)
The former Everton man has made an impressive start to the season, and has seemingly eradicated some of the defensive errors that plagued his game throughout last season.
The form of Chelsea’s Gary Cahill has been patchy, and new boy Antonio Rudiger has been diligent but unspectacular, meaning Stones gets the nod.
5. Andreas Christensen (Chelsea)
After Gary Cahill’s red card in the shock opening day defeat to Burnley – and consequential three game ban – 21-year-old Andreas Christensen was drafted into the starting lineup and hasn’t looked back since.
Cahill will struggle to regain his place given the Dane’s fine form in his absence, and as a result of that, we’ve given the nod to the youngster.
6. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
The former Bolton Wanderers man has been in excellent form going forward this campaign, scoring three times and assisting twice including a match winning double against Spurs at Wembley.
The form of City’s Benjamin Mendy has also been decent, but given his lack of game time early in the season due to fitness as well as his recent knee injury, Marcus Alonso takes the left wing-back spot in our side.
7. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s pocket sized midfield engine takes the defensive midfield spot in the combined XI, and the fact he’s in there alone just pays homage to the work rate and exceptional defensive talents of the Frenchman.
City’s Fernandinho has also had an eye catching start to the campaign, but Kante just edges him due to his individual desire to win the ball back for his team.
8. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
The inclusion of the Belgian needs no explanation. The former Chelsea man has orchestrated the deadliest attack in the league this term with his astounding vision and technical ability, and no one comes close to taking his place in this combined XI.
He will be hoping to make Chelsea regret ever selling him, and you wouldn’t put it past him doing just that.
9. David Siva (Manchester City)
The Spanish magician tops the assist charts in the league this term, racking up six in just six games for his clinical teammates, and has been his silky self consistently this season.
His eye for a pass and unprecedented vision means Chelsea’s back line must be wary of allowing him too much time on the ball, because the 31-year-old can be creatively ruthless if given the space.
10. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s elusive Belgian has returned to form and fitness at just the wrong time for Pep Guardiola and City, with the 26-year-old’s scintillating performance against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday sure to give City’s defenders some food for thought.
Having yet to start a league game this term, Hazard has some catching up to do in order to reach his usually impressive numbers.
11. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
Following Sergio Aguero’s unfortunate rib injury, Jesus has now been left to hold the torch up-front alone in the Argentine’s absence, but given his form so far this season you wouldn’t question his capabilities in doing so.
Morata can feel hard done by to be excluded from the XI, but one of the main contributors to the best attack in the league this season has to be included.