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How many Arsenal players would get in the Man United team? Here's our combined XI

The two sides meet at the Emirates on Sunday but how do the squads compare?

ARSENAL AGAINST MANCHESTER United remains one of the Premier League’s most eagerly anticipated fixtures and this Sunday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium is no different.

One of England’s fiercest rivalries is renewed and although we’re only a couple of months into the new season, this meeting is already of great significance.

Arsene Wenger is under the spotlight again and recent results, and indeed performances, have put pressure on the Arsenal manager ahead of the visit of the league leaders.

He appeared strained in his pre-game press conference on Friday when his decision to select David Ospina for Tuesday’s damaging Champions League defeat to Olympiacos was once again questioned.

There’s no doubt the Gunners have several world class operators in their ranks and when they click, they can match anyone but so often the same deficiencies undermine their attempts to land a major trophy.

With so many glaringly obvious chinks in the Gunners’ armour, we’ve decided to look at how many of the current Arsenal squad would force their way into Manchester United’s starting XI.

It must be noted that this composite XI is based on current form and players currently sidelined through injury or suspension were unavailable for selection.

Goalkeeper:

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group B - Manchester United v VfL Wolfsburg - Old Trafford Source: Mike Egerton

The build-up to this fixture has revolved around Wenger’s decision to leave Petr Cech on the bench midweek and while the Arsenal shot stopper is undoubtedly one of the best around, David de Gea is a certain choice here.

Despite a summer of speculation and a bizarre deadline day saga, the Spanish ‘keeper has continued where he left off last season and has already earned United points this campaign.

Defenders:

With Luke Shaw sidelined for the foreseeable future, Matteo Darmian has been forced to swap flanks and operate on the left-hand side of United’s defence. That means Hector Bellerin gets the nod on the right with the Spaniard’s pace and natural ability on the ball offering Arsenal an attacking outlet on that side.

Chris Smalling is now one of United’s most important players and continues to grow in stature with each passing week. His performance against Wolfsburg was further evidence of his importance to Louis van Gaal.

Arsenal received a further setback with the news Laurent Koscielny will miss Sunday’s game with a hamstring strain. The Frenchman is Wenger’s best, and most reliable, defender and his absence will be felt by the home side.

Although he’s not a natural centre-back, Daley Blind will slot in after deputising in the role this season. He’s a better option than the erratic Per Mertesacker.

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Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group F - Arsenal v Olympiacos - Emirates Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

Midfield:

Both Wenger and Louis van Gaal like to deploy two defensively minded players in the middle of the park to allow their forward men the freedom to venture forward at will.

Francis Coquelin‘s role in the Arsenal engine room is often overlooked and his ability to read the game and avert danger compliments Morgan Schneiderlin‘s propensity to sit deep and keep possession.

Bastian Schweinsteiger and Aaron Ramsey are both unlucky to miss out but neither have hit the ground running so far this season. Michael Carrick is a doubt so is unavailable for selection.

With Coquelin and Schneiderlin playing the anchor role, that allows the wealth of attacking options to venture forward at will. Juan Mata has enjoyed an outstanding start to the season and has flourished on the right.

On the opposite wing, Alexis Sanchez offers another genuine goalscoring threat and his inclusion in any team is guaranteed. Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla are both options but neither are as influentuial as Mata or Sanchez this term.

Forwards:

Theo Walcott is slowing warming to the task of being the central striker and while he makes incisive runs in behind, his finishing leaves a lot to be desired. The England international was on the scoresheet during the week but has yet to fully convince.

Soccer - Capital One Cup - Third Round - Manchester United v Ipswich Town - Old Trafford Source: Martin Rickett

Olivier Giroud’s goalscoring prowess is undoubted but he’s struggled for form of late and there can be no overlooking United’s teen sensation Anthony Martial. The young Frenchman has taken the Premier League by storm and it appears he’s a real star in the making.

Wayne Rooney will lead the line and captain the side. He may have only ended his Premier League drought last week but the England skipper brings leadership to a team – something Arsenal are clearly lacking.

Arsenal-Man United combined XI:

David de Gea; Hector Bellerin, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian; Juan Mata, Morgan Schneiderlin, Francis Coquelin, Alexis Sanchez; Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney.

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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