Until last season, the Premier League trophy had been in Manchester since the end of the 2010-11 campaign - in which 20 goals from maverick forward Dimitar Berbatov helped Manchester United to win their 19th league title.
In the summer, the two Manchester clubs were the league's biggest spenders - splashing a combined total of nearly £260 million on new talent.
Both Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini and United boss Louis van Gaal will have ambitions of taking the title away from Chelsea and they signalled their intentions with multiple high-class signings.
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This article puts Manchester’s most accomplished talents into a 4-2-3-1 formation, a system that is currently being used by both sides, to create an ultimate XI.
GOALKEEPER – DAVID DE GEA
There’s no doubt that Joe Hart is establishing himself as a world-class goalkeeper, but only one man was ever going to take the goalkeeping position in this team.
David de Gea certainly is the best keeper currently in Manchester following countless match-winning performances last season and, following a lengthy transfer saga with Real Madrid this summer, the 24-year-old Spaniard is picking up where he left off.
RIGHT-BACK – MATTEO DARMIAN
Some fans of English football would’ve seen a glimpse of Matteo Darmian before his summer move to Old Trafford when he ran England ragged for Italy in Manaus at last year’s World Cup.
It’s early days, but thus far Darmian has showed good energy levels, strong defensive abilities, positional awareness and a willingness to get forward which suggests that he has the potential to be a very solid full-back for United.
CENTRE-BACKS – CHRIS SMALLING & VINCENT KOMPANY
I truly believe that Chris Smalling came on leaps and bounds last season and took on the responsibility of filling the void left by Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic by putting in some commanding displays.
He still needs to improve when he’s on the ball, but the 25-year-old Englishman has become the leader of United’s back-four and he possesses pace, aerial power and impressive strength.
Vincent Kompany is the undeniable symbol of Manchester City. He’s admitted that his own form wasn’t good enough last season compared to his very standards, but his reading of the game has improved and the 29-year-old is an incredible leader on and off the pitch.
He fights for his teammates and has unbelievable character, determination and a desire to succeed. Along with Thiago Silva and Sergio Ramos, Kompany has become one of the world’s best and most aggressive defenders over the past three or four years.
LEFT-BACK – LUKE SHAW
Luke Shaw started the season in excellent fashion for Man United before suffering a horrific leg break against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League. The 20-year-old loves to get forward and he has the speed, athleticism and defensive capabilities to become a mainstay in the United team for the next 10-15 years.
Before his season-ending injury, many tipped Shaw to be the best left-back in the league this campaign and hopefully he can return to full fitness in time to make England’s Euro 2016 squad.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD – YAYA TOURE & MORGAN SCHNEIDERLIN
Yaya Toure disappointed last season, especially in the big games, and received widespread criticism for the defensive side of his game. This said, no one doubts how good the Ivorian is going forward and he still managed 10 league goals in 2014-15, to add to 20 the season before.
He’s arguably the most powerful midfielder in world football and once he starts running at goal it’s almost impossible to stop him. Besides his physicality, the 32-year-old has amazing vision and has used his brilliant technical ability to score some jaw-dropping goals for City.
United summer signing Morgan Schneiderlin may not be as renowned as Schweinsteiger or as good on the ball as Michael Carrick, but the 25-year-old Frenchman established himself at Southampton as one of English football’s best defensive midfielders.
He can press and close down opposition players all day, he has the energy to get up and down the pitch, he isn’t afraid to shoot and his power allows him to dominate midfield battles. With his astute passing range and reading of the game, Schneiderlin could prove to be Van Gaal’s most important signing.
WINGERS – DAVID SILVA & KEVIN DE BRUYNE
David Silva isn’t a winger, he’s a natural playmaker, but he’s spent the vast majority of his City career in the wider areas. However the Spaniard, who is arguably the most intelligent footballer in the Premier League, has an uncanny ability to find space wherever he is on the pitch so it doesn’t really matter where he is positioned.
Silva pulls the strings at the Etihad, with all of City’s good attacking play going through him and he provides incredible touch and finesse in his game as well as unrivalled vision and a fantastic ability to cut open defences and make assists.
The 29-year-old magician has even added goals to his game, scoring 12 in the league last season. Pellegrini has put Silva into the no. 10 role this campaign and he has probably been the Premier League’s most effective player thus far.
24-year-old Belgian Kevin de Bruyne has fitted seamlessly into the Manchester City team following his huge £55 million club-record transfer from Wolfsburg. Although, to anyone who watched De Bruyne at Wolfsburg, the way in which he’s started his City career will come as no surprise.
Ever since the attacking midfielder left Chelsea in January 2014 he has got better and better and last season he was one of, if not the best attacking midfielder in European football – scoring ten goals and providing an incredible 20 assists in the Bundesliga.
De Bruyne is an intelligent, versatile, highly skilful and technically gifted individual who doesn’t lack in confidence and who can create scoring opportunities out of nothing. Over the coming years, he will become an integral part of Manchester City and the Belgium national team's success.
CENTRE FORWARD – WAYNE ROONEY
Wayne Rooney may be a surprise inclusion in this XI for some people after his disappointing start to the season at club level, but Manchester United’s captain has now been at Old Trafford since 2004 and has shown on countless occasions over the years just what a marvellous player he truly is.
History shows that once he gets on a roll he is hard to stop and at the age of 29, Rooney has already broken England’s all-time goalscoring record this season and could break Man United’s in the very near future.
His range of passing is outrageous for a forward and he additionally has power, good movement, vision and supreme finishing that have allowed him to score over 170 Premier League goals, none more special than that iconic overhead kick to win a Manchester derby.
STRIKER – SERGIO AGUERO
Sergio Aguero is Manchester City’s prolific talisman, scoring so many vital goals - from the last-minute winner that clinched City the 2011-12 title to his incredible five-goal haul against Newcastle before the international break.
He has the best minutes-per-goal ratio in Premier League history and simply put, the Argentinian is deadly in front of goal and has been unplayable at times.
At 27, Aguero is a world-class player and the complete striker who has all the attributes you would want in a frontman.
Nicolas Otamendi was arguably the best defender in La Liga last season and is as dominant as anyone in the air, but, as Elaquim Mangala proved, it can be tough to adapt to the faster pace of the English game and so the Argentinian will need to be given time to prove his unquestionable quality.
The quartet of Carrick, Schweinsteiger, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata will all play key roles for Van Gaal’s men as they are all tremendously assured in possession and can boast exceptional passing ranges.
Meanwhile winger Raheem Sterling moved to the Etihad for £49 million after announcing his desire to leave Liverpool. Whilst his pace and direct dribbling have terrorised defences at times over the past couple of years, the 20-year-old still has a lot of work to do on his finishing.
Memphis Depay has proven on a few occasions, most notably in the Champions League, that he has what it takes to succeed at Old Trafford. However the 21-year-old has been inconsistent on the pitch and if recent reports are anything to go by then he needs to improve his behaviour off it.
With the unquestionable array of talent at the disposal of both Manchester City and Manchester United, only a brave man would bet against the Premier League title returning to Manchester next May.
What would be your combined Manchester XI? Have your say in the comments section below!
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