Manchester United vs Arsenal: Who gets into our combined XI?

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What could possibly go wrong with trying to craft a combined XI between current Manchester United and Arsenal players, eh?

Well, everything.

Both our subconscious and more obvious biases are merely a part of human nature, and perhaps there isn’t anything in this world that manifests said inclinations more than debating a combined XI.

You will never be able to sit two fans down and see them agree on a team when their two sides are involved. It’s an impossible task.

But we love a challenge here at PITA, and we’ve tried our utmost to create a fair – but ultimately correct – combined United and Arsenal XI ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

Manchester United vs Arsenal combined XI

We’ve taken both current form and the player’s ability into account, while tactical considerations have been overlooked. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

Goalkeeper & Defenders

Lisandro Martinez has played superbly as of late. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – David De Gea remains an excellent shot-stopper but his tendency to throw the ball into his own net combined with his sub-par distribution means Ramsdale pips him to our goalkeeper spot. The Englishman still has a lot to learn, and he struggled somewhat down the stretch last season. However, Ramsdale is the archetypal modern-day goalkeeper who can pull off the spectacular and contribute massively to his side’s build-up play.

Ben White (RB) – While White impressed us last season, not many projected him to excel as he has at right-back to start the new campaign. He’s keeping Takehiro Tomiyasu out of the side. The centre-back by trade is well suited to the function in Mikel Arteta’s set-up, both in and out of possession, and, at the moment, you simply can’t envisage White relinquishing the position.

William Saliba (CB) – It’s tough to pick a 21-year-old kid over serial winner Raphael Varane, but it’s a little bit different when that 21-year-old kid is William Saliba. You might have heard a few Arsenal fans say this – by a few, I mean every single one – but the young Frenchman has felt like a new signing! Proper cliche. Still, I’m sure many supporters have been taken aback by just how good Saliba is. He’s a, dare I say it, generational talent.

Lisandro Martinez (CB) – “yEah, BuT hOw tAlL iS he?” Shut up, Martinez is a very good footballer who’s shown in United’s three-game winning streak that he’ll play a pivotal role in Erik ten Hag’s rebuild. The Argentine is a robust defender who’s wonderful with the ball at his feet. It’s easy to see why Mikel wanted him this summer, but it’s United who’ll get to enjoy him.

Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – Tyrell Malacia has the makings of a fine left-back, but Zinchenko has to be considered one of the very best in the world in this position – and it’s not even his favourite role! The Ukrainian has made an immediate impact in north London both on and off the field. While there are a few defensive shortcomings, his work in possession is borderline virtuous. He’s Arteta’s unicorn.

Continued on the next slide…

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