Saturday evening sees Chelsea host Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in huge clash, which could prove crucial for the visitor’s hopes in the title race.
City, still unbeaten, look to add Chelsea to their scalp haul for this season and extend their lead over the Londoners to 13 points. While Chelsea themselves will be hoping to pick themselves up after two defeats in three games to try and claw back some ground on the reigning champions.
What follows is a combined XI based on form, blending the blue hues of north and south.
11. GK: Ederson
City’s Brazilian ‘keeper has only conceded seven goals in the league so far, and he gets the nod over Chelsea’s Spanish counterpart Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The latter now holds the mantle of “world’s most expensive goalkeeper”, but that was a moniker which once belonged to Ederson. City paid £35m for the shot-stopper, and he’s now repaid that fee a few times over.
Both goalkeepers are in their mid-20s, and their skills belie their tender years. But with a Premier League title to his name already, eight clean sheets, and some imperious displays between the sticks, it’s Ederson making saves for this team.
10. RB: Kyle Walker
It’s a tough call between Kyle Walker and his Chelsea counterpart, César Azpilicueta, but as these are form-based decisions, the Yorkshireman just about edges it.
Walker has scored one goal to Azpilicueta’s two, but the City right back has been part of a back four that have conceded five less goals than Chelsea.
The former Spurs man has got rapid pace, lethal cross, and ability to have a convincing say at both ends of the pitch.
9. CB: Aymeric Laporte
Manchester City’s young Frenchman has proved to be worth the £57m Pep Guardiola forked out for him in January.
The ex-Athletic Bilbao defender has started all 15 games in the league this season, having made bit-part appearances last time out when City won the league.
He’s added goals to his game, with three in all competitions in the current campaign. The 24-year-old has looked assured in all his showings and he’s got a great future ahead of him at the Etihad. Now he just needs to break into the French national team.
8. CB: John Stones
Partnering his City teammate at centre-back, the ball-playing defender would walk into most teams. Stones brings composure, presence, and range of passing to his defensive duties.
His ability to play out from the back is one of the main reasons Pep paid £50m to prise him away from Everton.
At the World Cup this year, Stones showed why he deserves to be a mainstay for club and country, and scored his first goals for England against Panama. For City, he’s been part of back line that has only conceded seven goals.
7. LB: Marcos Alonso
The Spanish left-back has everything you want from a modern defender: he’s fast, he’s attacking, he can whip in a cross, he can tuck inside, and he’s even got the power to being a deadball to life (since arriving at Chelsea, the Spainard has scored four direct free kicks).
Basically, Alonso is the epitome of a complete full-back, and then some. Although City’s Benjamin Mendy is a handy player, it has to be Alonso on the left.
Last season, the Madrileño scored eight goals and provided a further four assists; this season it’s a goal and five assists. For a left-back, those are incredible numbers.
6. CDM: N’Golo Kanté
He’s won the league with Leicester, and now he’s won the World Cup with France; Kanté has to be in this team.
His stamina and relentless work rate give everyone around him in the middle of the park the basis to go and make things happen. That said, he’s also got goals and a slaloming run in him when the mood takes him.
This season the Frenchman has popped up with a goal and two assists, as well as putting a shift in defensively and contributing to seven clean sheets for Chelsea.
5. AM: David Silva
Manchester City’s sorceress Spaniard has been at the heart of everything great about the club since he moved from Valencia in 2010.
“El Mago” has vision, passing ability, goals, and a magical way of the keeping the ball under his spell, which has won him and the club a host of titles and cups over eight successful years.
Playing the majority of City’s league games this campaign, Silva has scored five and assisted two. While in Europe, he’s had a hand in five goals in five games, scoring three goals.
He has to be considered one of City’s greatest ever players, and at 32 years old he’s still one of the best midfielder’s in Europe. In this combined XI, he’s the first name on the team sheet.
4. AM: Bernardo Silva
In the league, the young Portuguese has scored four goals and contributed three assists in his second season in England. He’s come on leaps and bounds since the 2016-17 season, where he had netted six and assisted five in 35 games.
As well as his offensive stats, Bernardo has also made 17 tackles in the league: joint second with Walker for City, and behind only Fernandinho.
Although Jorginho has been making things tick for Chelsea, Silva’s all-round attacking game gets him in this combined XI.
3. RW: Raheem Sterling
With eight goals to his name already, Raheem Sterling is building on last season’s message about sticking the ball in the back of the net. That figure puts him joint-third in the current league scoring ranks, and level with Sergio Agüero for City this season.
With six assists so far, Sterling’s decision making seems more up to scratch now, and he’ll be thanking Pep for his development over the last two or three campaigns.
The 23-year-old will be trying to best his record of last season, where he scored an impressive 18 goals and created 15 more. At this rate, and in his form, it looks like he will surpass himself.
2. LW: Eden Hazard
With seven goals and six assists in the Premier League thus far, the Belgian has been one of the in-form players in the league. This season he has been a bit streaky, with all of his goals scored before November.
Hazard is elusive, composed, but incredibly fleet of foot, and there isn’t a defence in the world that would want him running at them with the ball – not even City’s.
He has always been a goal threat for Chelsea, but somehow he has never scored 20+ goals in the league.
But he will be hoping to change that this season as he tries to bring the league title back to London, in what could be his best ever season for Chelsea, if not, maybe, his last.
1. CF: Alvaro Morata
With Aguero set to miss this weekend’s encounter, it’s surprisingly slim pickings at number nine for this combined XI.
Neither Gabriel Jesus nor Alvaro Morata inspire much confidence, however Morata just edges Jesus for one simple reason: he’s scored more goals this season.