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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 both squads

DEBATE
By Chris Myson

One of the matches of the weekend in the Premier League sees champions Manchester City travel to face Chelsea in a crucial clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Roberto Mancini's men go into the game sitting at the top of the table, although the Italian's side are coming into the game off the back of a morale-denting Champions League exit, which was sealed with a draw against Real Madrid in midweek.

The mood is not much better at Chelsea either following the surprise sacking of Roberto Di Matteo after the loss to Juventus and this match will be Rafael Benitez's first at the helm.

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


We are immediately faced with a tough choice in our combined XI as we have to choose between two established goalkeepers who are both, on their day, up there with the best in the world.

Joe Hart edges his way into our team ahead of Petr Cech. The England shot stopper has not enjoyed the greatest of seasons so far, particularly in comparison to the form he has shown in years gone by, but remains one of the best in the world.

Cech made an error against Juventus in midweek but has generally rediscovered something close to his best form over the last 18 months.

It is hard to leave out a Champions League-winning goalkeeper, but Hart’s all-round quality and room to improve even further in the future means he gets the nod.

DEFENCE


Branislav Ivanovic has enjoyed a productive season to date at Chelsea and his defensive strength and growing attacking game means he edges into our side ahead of closest competitor Pablo Zabaleta. Micah Richards and Maicon are other options at right-back.

In the middle, we opt for the two teams' captains. Vincent Kompany has not been at his best at the Etihad Stadium this year, although he still has the quality to command a place in the side. We, along with Mancini, are hoping the Belgian can shake off a knee problem in order to make our squad.

John Terry’s importance to Chelsea has been highlighted yet again by their struggles while he has been injured, so the ex-England man completes a physical centre-back pairing.

Gary Cahill and Joleon Lescott narrowly miss out, while the likes of David Luiz and Matija Nastasic are further away from a place in the side.

Gael Clichy is Manchester City’s first-choice left-back but he has a near-impossible challenge to get into our team when he comes up against former Arsenal team-mate Ashley Cole, one of the best players in the world in that position.

MIDFIELD


As one of the best all-round midfielders in world football, Yaya Toure powers his way into the spine of our team due to his status as a player who would be an automatic pick for any side in the world.

The spot alongside him is a tricky one to fill, with neither side having an overkill of central-midfield options. We opt for the energy of Ramires as the man to complete a dynamic midfield duo.

Javi Garcia, Gareth Barry, John Obi Mikel and a declining Frank Lampard to do not possess the all-round capabilities of the Brazilian.

Further forward, Juan Mata has cemented himself as the star of Chelsea’s attacking prowess this year, underlining his quality despite other big-value additions to the squad.

At City, David Silva is another who continues to display his importance to the side. The Spaniard’s playmaking ability sees him handed the role in the hole behind our central striker.

Eden Hazard may have tailed off slightly from his blistering start to Premier League life but his presence on the left-hand side completes a trio of attacking midfielders to be feared.

Amazingly, that means Brazilian magician Oscar misses out on a place in the team, simply due to the competition he is up against. The starlet has already shown he has the quality to have a huge future.

Further down the pecking order in our side are the likes of Samir Nasri, Victor Moses and James Milner.

ATTACK


Our formation means we only have room for one striker, which results in an incredibly tough dilemma.

Fernando Torres’ continued struggles mean he is not considered for selection and Chelsea’s only other striker is Daniel Sturridge, a player who has battled with match fitness this season.

That means we have to choose from the best of City’s four superstar attackers - and it's Sergio Aguero who gets to lead our line. The former Atletico Madrid man is starting to hit his full stride this season after being sidelined by an opening-day injury against Southampton in August.

He narrowly edges out Carlos Tevez, who continues his impressive renaissance after his self-imposed exit from the squad last season. Edin Dzeko has performed outstandingly as a substitute in recent months but can’t seem to have the same impact from the start when given the chance.

Mario Balotelli’s suspect temperament continues to deflect attention from his undoubted talent and technical ability, which means we opt for the more consistent option of Aguero.

Suggested best combined Chelsea & Man City XI

GOALKEEPER

Joe Hart


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

Branislav Ivanovic

Vincent Kompany

John Terry

Ashley Cole
CENTRE MIDFIELD
CENTRE MIDFIELD

Yaya Toure

Ramires
RIGHT WINGER
ATTACKING MIDFIELD
LEFT WINGER

Juan Mata

David Silva

Eden Hazard

CENTRE FORWARD

Sergio Aguero

HAVE YOUR SAY

Do you agree with our suggested best combined Chelsea 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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