Chelsea host Manchester City in one of the biggest games of the season so far this weekend, with Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola’s expensively-assembled squads set to do battle at Stamford Bridge.
The Premier League now regularly attracts some of the best players in the world to these shores, and a large number of those will be on show in Saturday’s eye-catching late kick-off.
The task for us is fitting the best players from each side together into one all-star XI, with Sergio Aguero’s absence through injury at least making the centre-forward choice a little easier.
Here’s our best effort at a Chelsea and City combined XI based on form so far this season…
Defence Chelsea just edge it here, even with a move to an increasing rarity among the top sides in the Premier League – a back four.
Thibaut Courtois is the obvious choice in goal, while we’ve gone for England pair Kyle Walker and John Stones after their impressive starts for a more solid-looking City this season.
Cesar Azpilicueta pips his team-mates for a place at centre-back. Despite not being a natural in the role, Conte recently described him as one of the best in the world in that position, and who are we to argue? Marcos Alonso takes the left-back slot due to Benjamin Mendy’s injury, but if this XI were decided on the quality of players’ Twitter game alone, the Frenchman would be the clear winner.
Midfield Aiming for a kind of 4-1-4-1 setup, we’ve placed a lot of trust in the work rate of N’Golo Kante here, who is partnered by two very attack-minded midfielders in Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard.
Many have said the tireless Frenchman is worth two players, so he’d be given a run for his money in this formation, even if City playmaker De Bruyne has adjusted well to a slightly deeper role this season.
Hazard’s inclusion may be slightly controversial due to his only recently returning from injury, but the Belgian was back to his world class best in a big win at Atletico Madrid in midweek and is likely to be key for his side again against City.
Very bad luck indeed to the likes of Tiemoue Bakayoko and David Silva, who miss out.
Finally, it’s a City-dominated front three with Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane flanking Chelsea goal machine Alvaro Morata in attack.
Pedro and Willian can feel very aggrieved to miss out, but just haven’t quite been at the exceptionally high level of Sterling and Sane so far this season.
The pair have been simply irresistible for Guardiola’s men, using their devastating pace and skill to weigh in with eight goals and two assists between them so far.
Morata, meanwhile, has shown plenty of promise to show he can be up there with Aguero as among the most lethal strikers in the Premier League.
Chelsea and Man City combined XI