The current league leaders and title holders have within their combined ranks undoubtedly some of the best talent on display in the Premier League but which players from which Manchester team belong in the 20102/12 best XI?
Both first-choice Manchester goalkeepers have had their ups and downs this season. 22-year-old Spaniard David De Gea was a candidate to be offloaded by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in January but since then he’s racked up a number of stellar displays for the Red Devils, most notably against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
However, I’m going to go with England number one Joe Hart – he’s kept the most clean sheets in the league, 14 in total for City this term and undoubtedly provides more assurances with his presence and command in the box than the United stopper.
United right fullback Rafael has had undoubtedly his best season in a Red Devils shirt to date this term. He’s been solid defensively for the most part, has made some crucial interceptions up against arguably some of the best talent the continent has to offer.
However, he misses out due to the sensational form of City’s Pablo Zabaleta. The 28-year-old Argentine has been probably City’s best player this season. Not just from a defensive perspective but his work-rate and engine going forward has been key for the title holders. It’s a close call but I’m going for the elder.
It’s a tough choice picking a centre-back pairing. United especially have two, three, maybe even four candidates for defender of the season or perhaps most improved. In the absence of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand has been one of United’s best and most important players this term.
His teammate Jonny Evans has been a revelation in United’s back line, whilst Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have improved dramatically. However, I’m picking Ferdinand to partner City’s captain Vincent Kompany. You simply couldn’t leave the Belgian out.
For left-back it has to be United vice-captain Patrice Evra – he’s been solid game in game out, never makes a mistake and does the job he’s paid to do. Clichy and Kolarov don’t really come close to the Frenchman.
Michael Carrick has had a fantastic season – who knew he possessed the vision and technique to pick out passes so stunning and sublime as he has from the deep position this term?
I always, wrongly, regarded Carrick as something of utility player but he’s been one of United’s best assets this season. He strolls into my Manchester midfield, barely breaking into a sweat.
Yaya Toure had a great season last time around but he’s fortunate to just scrape into my imaginary starting line-up. He makes the grade due to his ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck single-handedly. His winning mentality is irreplaceable, along with the sheer power and presence he provides in the middle of the park.
David Silva is another City star who was better last season – it’s a tough decision considering the legends United have – the likes of Paul Scholes would walk into team of the decade but, for this year, the City maestro just edges out the competition.
United new boy Shinji Kagawa has spent too long on the sidelines and has been ardently trying to settle into his debut season in the Premier League and Tom Cleverley is still developing and, truth be told, he’ll likely never have the ability Silva does. If I had to pick one playmaker it would, albeit narrowly, be David Silva.
Between the two rivals, they’re not exactly short of world-class forwards – Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and a fairly unknown Dutchman named Robin van Persie or something like that.
Last season I would have picked Aguero but not this time – Van Persie has been the difference in this title race so he’s my first pick, and I’ll throw in Wayne Rooney for his creative play, along with Edin Dzeko who has been the most productive and consistent of City’s forwards this term.
I reckon I would win the league with a team like that now I just need to find a spare £200 million. You couldn’t lend us a tenner could you?
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