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Alexis or Lukaku? Pogba or Xhaka? - Arsenal vs Manchester United combined XI

12:03 GMT 01/12/2017
Alexis Sanchez Arsenal
The two Premier League heavyweights face off at the Etihad on Saturday, but which of the available players deserve a place in the best combined XI?

Fourth plays second on Saturday in the Premier League as Arsenal host Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium.

If the Gunners are to maintain their interest in the title, it is a fixture that they surely must win, as they lie four points behind Jose Mourinho’s men, who are in turn eight behind neighbours Manchester City.

Both teams enjoyed positive experiences in midweek, though United’s 4-2 win over Watford was not the ‘get the cigars out’ experience that the Portuguese might have wished for.

Meanwhile, Arsenal saw off Huddersfield 5-0 with few problems, albeit they lost striker Alexandre Lacazette due to injury.

But which players available for selection from both sides would make a combined XI judged on their form so far this season? Goal picks its all-star selection below...

DAVID DE GEA (Man Utd):  De Gea is perhaps the form goalkeeper in world football currently, meaning that he edges out the consistent Petr Cech for selection. The Spaniard has kept 12 clean sheets in only eighteen league and Champions League matches and has caught the eye with a series of stunning stops.

SHKODRAN MUSTAFI (Arsenal): The 25-year-old Germany international has recently returned from a hamstring problem that kept him out for a month. During that time, Arsenal failed to keep a single clean sheet. Since he has returned, they have kept three in succession, while Mustafi announced himself back with a derby goal against Tottenham.

LAURENT KOSCIELNY (Arsenal): Now a veteran of the Arsenal side at 32, the France international has developed into a genuine leader of Arsene Wenger’s defence. He remains an important presence for the Gunners, despite the tendency for the occasional lapse. 

CHRIS SMALLING (Man Utd): With Phil Jones and Eric Bailly both struggling for fitness ahead of the weekend’s game, there is set to be a good deal of pressure on the England man. Since coming into the side as a substitute in a 1-0 win over Southampton, he has performed admirably and was even on the scoresheet a fortnight ago against Newcastle. 

HECTOR BELLERIN (Arsenal): Since Wenger switched the shape of his side into a 3-4-3 formation, the Spain international has been used in an increasingly offensive position. He has played every minute of Premier League football for the Gunners this season and has proven himself just as reliable in this new post. Only marginally edges out Antonio Valencia

PAUL POGBA (Man Utd): Started the season superbly before suffering a thigh injury, much to the chagrin of his manager. Nevertheless, he returned with a bang against Newcastle, scoring one and creating another, and has since played full matches against Brighton and Watford. United have not lost with him in their side in the league this term.

AARON RAMSEY (Arsenal): The midfielder’s cute flick through to set up Alexandre Lacazette for the Gunners’ opener in midweek was a work of art from the Welshman. It was simply the continuation of a terrific vain of form that has seen him create five goals and score two more in six appearances since the October international break.

ASHLEY YOUNG (Man Utd): Would not have expected to have found himself playing left wing-back at the start of the season, yet that is where the former Aston Villa man finds himself – and he is playing superbly in the role. After assists against Newcastle and Brighton, he scored twice against Watford, including a stunning free kick. This hot form is enough to see off Sead Kolasinac – but only just.

MESUT OZIL (Arsenal): A much-maligned figure by some, the Germany international star has been in electric form in recent times. It took Ozil until October 22 before registering his first goal or assist of the campaign, but in finding the net against Everton the floodgates have opened. He has five assists and two goals in his last five outings.

ANTHONY MARTIAL (Man Utd): At one point there were doubts over the Frenchman’s future at Old Trafford, but he has changed the mind of Mourinho to such an extent that he will start at the Emirates. He has six goals and two assists in the Premier League, scoring three times in his last 250 minutes on the field.

ALEXIS SANCHEZ (Arsenal): With Lacazette injured and Romelu Lukaku apparently hopelessly out of form, the Chile international will play through the middle in this selection. Out of contract in the summer, he can start negotiating terms with rivals as of January 1, and with three goals in as many games, he has found his feet at the right time. 

Have we got it right? Is there someone missing from our XI that deserves a place? Have your say in the comments below!