Combined XI | Arsenal vs Manchester United

The Premier League’s in form sides clash at the Emirates tomorrow evening in a key clash during the title race, but how do Mikel Arteta’s and Erik ten Hag’s squad stack-up against each other?

Few, if any, fixtures have defined the Premier League era than Arsenal and Manchester United locking horns in some of the most bitter and titanic clashes of the last 30 years, with prominent names the likes of Arsène Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson, Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Patrick Vieira, and Ryan Giggs offering iconic memories that will last a lifetime.

But rarely has this hotly-contested rivalry fixture meant as much in recent years as it does during the current 2022-23 campaign as the Gunners and Red Devils are locked in a vital period of the season at the midway point that sees both clubs adamant at staking their claim for PL honors.

With the Gunners sat top of the table on the back of the club’s project under Arteta and Edu has born fruit in a massive way, what Erik ten Hag has achieved at Old Trafford on the back of questionable ownership and the saga that was Cristiano Ronaldo’s crescendo before parting ways by mutual consent cannot be overlooked as both managers currently preside over the joint in-form sides in the league coming into tomorrow’s clash.

But how do their charges combine in the same XI? 101 Great Goals takes a look.

Combined XI

Note: The below combined XI consists of players that are only available for selection tomorrow

  • GK: Aaron Ramsdale - On form, Aaron Ramdale edges out David de Gea here. That is not to say that the Spanish shot-stopper is not, on his day, capable of the phenomenal, but his penchant for a hiccup denies him a place.
  • RB: Ben White - The England international has solidified his place in the Arsenal XI despite the return of Takehiro Tomiyasu, and is a shoo-in here given the unavailability of Diogo Dalot, who likely would not be included regardless.
  • CB: William Saliba - Much has been made of how William Saliba would get on in his full debut season for Arsenal, and he has not disappointed in 2022-23, so often being a leading light at the back.
  • CB: Gabriel Magalhães - An unsung hero still in some sections of the Arsenal fanbase, Gabriel is a rock in the heart of the defense and arguably one of the club’s top performers. Certainly, more consistent than his opposite numbers in Martínez or Varane.
  • LB: Luke Shaw - A tricky decision to make but Shaw squeaks in just ahead of Oleksander Zinchenko. Both have been excellent this season for the vast majority of play, but the Ukrainian’s fitness concerns and reduced time, by comparison, gives it to the English left-back.
  • CM: Thomas Partey - One of the chief reasons why Arsenal sits top of the league, Partey has quickly risen up the pecking order in the discussion of who the top midfielders in the country are. On his day, he patrols the midfield like Vieira of old.
  • CM: Bruno Fernandes - Shifted further back into midfield for obvious reasons, the inclusion of Fernandes is a no-brainer given the heavy influence he carries in Ten Hag’s side. One of the best in the league without breaking a sweat.
  • CAM: Martin Ødegaard - Arguably Arsenal’s player of the season at current, the Norwegian captain has been sublime in a central creative role with a very Mesut Özil-esque side to his game that has already eclipsed the German in other areas.
  • RW: Bukayo Saka - The Arsenal “star boy” continues to show why he is, for many, the top young player in Europe. Influential in all phases of play and a nightmare to mark when he is in the mood, his inclusion over Antony was never in doubt.
  • LW: Gabriel Martinelli - Many will remember when the Gunners captured him from the lower tiers of Brazilian football and questioned if he would ever make it at the club, but Martinelli, like Saka, has now developed into an expert winger with an end product to match.
  • CF: Marcus Rashford - One of the great hopes to emerge from the United academy, Rashford has rediscovered his top-level form this season at just the right moment and is deserving of selection here over Eddie Nketiah. His recent goal return speaks for itself.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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