Here we go for another one of our famous Combined XI articles. On Monday, Mourinho’s Manchester United takes on Pochettino’s Spurs at Old Trafford in the first top 4 confrontration for these two teams this season. As Mou put it in his 259 second press conference for which he arrived 30 minutes early, United played well against Leicester and won; United played bad against Brighton and lost. Tottenham for their part have started the season well, with 2 wins at the detriment of relegation battle contenders Newcastle and Fulham.
United need a victory to reassure their fans that they can be genuine contenders this season. Lots of negativity has surrounded the team since preseason and it has continued into the season. After the defeat at Brighton, a cloud lies over the club. Lack of transfer activity, alleged rift between Mou and Ed (which Mou denied in this press conference), Pogba’s cryptic tweets, Martial’s future, Scholes’ criticism, Raiola’s rebuke… the list goes on and on. The club would get some welcome respite from it’s detractors with an emphatic win against highly rated Spurs.
Goalkeeper – David De Gea (MUN): Arguably the best goalkeeper in the World at club level. The record 4-time Player of the Year at Old Trafford has shown again and again how crucial he is to this United side. Lloris in the mean time was caught still celebrating the World Cup win ahead of this game.
Defence – Tripper, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies (TOT): As much as Pochettino would have liked a few quality signings, Spurs can consider it a win that they kept their squad together in the transfer window, especially with ManUnited reportedly interested in signing Toby Alderweireld. The whole Tottenham defence makes the Combined XI. Trippier is showing his worth by being a goal scoring full back with club and country. Davies is currently more consistent than the resurgent Shaw. After the Bailly-Lindelof debacle last weekend, we dare not pick any of them. The Belgian pair Vertonghen and Alderweireld make the cut.
Defensive Midfielder – Nemanja Matic (MUN): There are only a few players who can compete with Matic for the defensive midfield position in the EPL and none of them play at Tottenham. The Manchester United backline looks exposed without the Serbian General protecting it. It does not help that Mou picked an offensive midfielder to fill in for Matic.
Left Midfielder – Paul Pogba (MUN): Pogba has been at the center of much controversy over the past year. Much has been made of him wanting away from Old Trafford. The player has responded with some cryptic tweets but has shown no indication he wants to leave or has any issues with Mourinho, the man who picked him as captain for the first two games of the season. Pogba was man of the match against Leicester City but admitted himself his performance was disappointing against Brighton. With more consistency, Pogba can be the best box-to-box midfielder in the World. He showed his quality and leadership skills at the World Cup with France – that’s more than enough for us to pick him.
Right Midfield – Christian Eriksen (MUN): Denmark midfielder Eriksen’s superior technical ability puts him in the small bracket of the World’s top creative midfielders. Alongside Harry kane, he is *the* player Spurs’ fans will want to keep until he stops playing football. Manchester United do not have his equivalent in their squad.
Central Attacking Midfielder – Delle Alli (TOT): When he is not coming up with impossible goal celebrations which could damage your wrist, Delle Alli entertains the Spurs’ folks with his Lampard-style play from midfield. A must-have.
Center Forward – Romelu Lukaku (MUN): You can see why Lukaku is one of Mou’s most trusted Lieutenants. He always gives his all on the pitch and is reliable when it comes to finding the back of the net. Strength, speed, leadership, goals – those are Lukaku’s contributions to the cause. Very impressive at the World Cup as well (that run against Brazil!).
Center Forward – Harry Kane (TOT): Do we really need to explain this choice?
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