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As the heavyweights prepare to clash in the Premier League this weekend, Goal.com debates which players would make it into an overall team from those available in both squads

DEBATE
By Chris Myson

One of the matches of the weekend in the Premier League sees Arsenal travel to face champions Manchester City in a crucial clash at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Roberto Mancini's men go in as favourites, although his side are coming into the game on the back of a morale-denting defeat to Real Madrid, while the Gunners continued their solid start to the campaign with a win over Montpellier.

It is still early days in the new season, but already both clubs are eyeing up a title challenge and this fixture should be a good indicator of how strong each of their chances are looking.

Ahead of the clash, Goal.com analyses each area of the two squads and attempts to come up with what would be the best combined team from their current fit and available players, lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

GOALKEEPER


Wojciech Szczesny is currently out injured for Arsenal, meaning Vito Mannone is filling in between the sticks and will do again on Sunday.

But even if the Gunners’ No.1 was 100 per cent fit and in better form than he was before his issues, he would not be dislodging our selection of Joe Hart as goalkeeper.

The England shot-stopper continues to improve as he picks up more big-game experience with high-flying City, both domestically and in the Champions League, with him prominent in the recent clash against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Already one of the world’s top keepers, it would even be hard for many Arsenal fans to argue against his selection in our combined XI.

DEFENCE


With Bacary Sagna still injured, the right-back spot is a tough selection in our team. Youngster Carl Jenkinson is very much still a work in progress at Arsenal, while Micah Richards is injured for City. The greater defensive nous of Pablo Zabaleta sees him edge Maicon for selection here.

It is often cited that one of City’s main weaknesses in their team is the lack of a world-class partner for the inspirational Vincent Kompany in central defence. With both squads available to us in our combined team, Thomas Vermaelen solves that problem.

That means no room for the likes of Joleon Lescott, Matija Nastasic, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, despite there being reasonably strong arguments for each.

Left-back is a controversial choice, given Gael Clichy’s history with Arsenal, but we are going for Kieran Gibbs. The talented Englishman has had a tremendous start to the new season and edges out both the ex-Gunner and Aleksandar Kolarov.

MIDFIELD


In central midfield, we go for a tasty combination of power and technical efficiency in the form of Yaya Toure and Mikel Arteta.

Toure, inspirational against Real Madrid in midweek, is a brilliant powerhouse in midfield who would get into every team in the world, while the talented Spaniard continues to impress with the Gunners.

Abou Diaby is back from injury and impressing, so only narrowly misses out, as does Gareth Barry and the versatile James Milner. New City signing Javi Garcia is unlucky not to be selected after a fine start to life in Manchester.

Further forward, the versatility of Santi Cazorla allows us to place him on the right, although he would be comfortable playing in any of the three positions behind the striker. The Spaniard has been a joy to watch in his early Premier League appearances.

He is challenging the established Spanish playmaker in the Premier League, David Silva, who as ever is a must-pick for our side in the creative line. With Samir Nasri struggling with injury, we also find room for Lukas Podolski. The German has made a strong start at the Emirates and has produced some ruthless finishes to accompany his hard-working displays down the left.

That means in-form Gervinho misses out, along with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and contract rebel Theo Walcott.

ATTACK


With only one central striking position available and all the talent on show in the squad at Eastlands, it is fair to for you to conclude that misfiring Frenchman Olivier Giroud will not be lining up in our team.

Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko all represent world-class striking options for Roberto Mancini, who will welcome the selection headache he has each week.

Dzeko provides a more physical threat, Balotelli may be unpredictable but has all the talent in the world while Tevez has his head down and is looking like he is back to his old self.

In our side though, it is the brilliant Aguero - making his comeback from injury - who gets the nod, with his pace, dribbling, technical ability and lethal finishing making him the pick of the bunch.

Suggested best combined Man City & Arsenal XI

GOALKEEPER

Joe Hart


RIGHT-BACK
CENTRE-BACK
CENTRE-BACK
LEFT-BACK

Pablo Zabaleta

Vincent Kompany

Thomas Vermaelen

Kieran Gibbs
CENTRE MIDFIELD
CENTRE MIDFIELD

Yaya Toure

Mikel Arteta
RIGHT WINGER
ATTACKING MIDFIELD
LEFT WINGER

Santi Cazorla

David Silva

Lukas Podolski

CENTRE FORWARD

Sergio Aguero


HAVE YOUR SAY

Do you agree with our suggested best combined Arsenal and Manchester City starting XI? If not, who should be there instead and which players should get the chop? Which way is this weekend's crunch match going to go?

Let us know your views on the debate by posting a comment below or by engaging with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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