Arsenal v Manchester United: Combined XI

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Arsenal will host Manchester United at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon and pundits will no doubt claim that the Premier League clash is not nearly as good as days gone by.

Once upon a time, this tie would more or less decide who won the Premier League. Not only that, but you could guarantee some form of drama whether it be pizza-related or otherwise.

But increased competition for the title and Sir Alex Ferguson's departure from the Old Trafford dugout has served to nullify its intensity. While the players may have cleaned up their acts, however, both sets of fans will be itching for their clubs to come away with all three points.


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With both teams expecting to challenge for the Premier League title this season, this fixture has greater significance as it has done in recent years. Both Louis van Gaal and Arsene Wenger have assembled a squad full of quality and the outcome on Sunday is anyone's guess.

To give you some help, GiveMeSport has compiled a combined XI.

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Petr Cech or David de Gea

David Ospina may have started in goal for Tuesday's shock defeat to Olympiakos, but Petr Cech is set to return against the Red Devils. The 33-year-old, a summer signing from Chelsea, is a true goalkeeping legend and has already made a series of world-class saves since joining the Gunners. He has also, however, made errors.

David de Gea is busy getting back to his best after a summer of uncertainty, but has already re-established himself ahead of summer signing Sergio Romero. He was the Premier League's best goalkeeper last season, but we're going with experience here.

Winner: Petr Cech


Hector Bellerin or Antonio Valencia

Manchester United fans took it upon themselves to start a petition encouraging Van Gaal to sell Antonio Valencia after the Ecuadorian's poor performance against Wolfsburg. Enough said.

Hector Bellerin has retained his place despite Mathieu Debuchy's return to full fitness and the Spaniard is looking every bit as good as he was last season. He is certain to be a mainstay if his form continues.

Winner: Hector Bellerin


Per Mertesacker & Gabriel or Chris Smalling & Daley Blind

With Laurent Koscielny out with a hamstring injury, Per Mertesacker is set to be reintroduced into the starting XI and has been tipped to struggle against the pace of Anthony Martial. However, his vast experienced rarely leads the German astray. Gabriel has looked erratic since coming into the first-team picture and was criticised after his red card against Chelsea.

Chris Smalling has been superb this season and is looking every bit the top defender he has always threatened to be. His partner, Daley Blind, has also impressed, especially considering his natural position is in midfield.

Winners: Per Mertesacker & Chris Smalling


Matteo Darmian or Nacho Monreal

Manchester United spent so much money on so many names this summer that the humble addition of Torino star Matteo Darmian went largely unnoticed. But the right-back has gone about his business in excellent fashion so far this season.

Nacho Monreal, although not spectacular, has been consistent enough to knock Kieran Gibbs out of the first-team. However, we can't look past the Italian's spectacular start to life in the Premier League.

Winner: Matteo Darmian


Morgan Schneiderlin & Bastian Schweinsteiger or Santi Cazorla & Francis Coquelin

Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger have been forced to build a partnership very quickly, but have started to do just that in recent games. There are still concerns over the form and fitness of Schweinsteiger, but Schneiderlin has picked up where he left off at Southampton.

Santi Cazorla has continued to pull the strings in his deeper position for Arsenal this season while Francis Coquelin has so far failed to hit the heights of last term.

Winners: Santi Cazorla & Morgan Schneiderlin


Aaron Ramsey or Juan Mata

Aaron Ramsey has been forced out of position thanks to the form of Cazorla, but has still been starting on the right-wing in recent games. Few Arsenal fans agree with Arsene Wenger's logic on this one and the Welshman's questionable form has left the door open for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Like Ramsey, Juan Mata is also playing out of position, but has probably been Manchester United's most effective player this season. The diminutive Spaniard has adapted his game sufficiently and is a clear victor.

Winner: Juan Mata


Wayne Rooney or Mesut Ozil

Neither Wayne Rooney or Mesut Ozil have hit their very best form this season, leaving us looking towards their past to make a final decision. Rooney remains capable of playing in a variety of positions and his work-rate can never be questioned. Ozil spots passes that no one in the stadium can see, but has shown a reluctance to track back to help his team-mates.

Winner: Wayne Rooney


Alexis Sanchez or Memphis Depay

So much was said about Memphis Depay after he completed his £31m move from PSV, but the Dutchman has so far proved to be an erratic performer. He blitzed Club Brugge in the Champions League qualifier, but has yet to truly impress in the league.

Alexis Sanchez got off to a slow start himself following his excellent debut season, but scored a hat-trick against Leicester City last weekend and contributed a goal and an assist Olympiakos. The Chilean looks back to his best and is Arsenal's biggest threat up front.

Winner: Alexis Sanchez


Theo Walcott or Anthony Martial

Arsenal fans were crying out for a top striker so loudly this summer that you would think that the Gunners only had Park Chu-Young and Marouane Chamakh at their disposal. But so far Theo Walcott has proven himself to be very capable of scoring goals. He's got four in his last six.

Anthony Martial, coincidentally, boasts exactly the same record, but has a fraction of the Premier League experience that the Arsenal striker offers. They're both quick, but Walcott wins by a nose.

Winner: Theo Walcott

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