Arsenal 7-4 Man Utd: Rice, Martinez, Rashford make combined XI; Martinelli and Casemiro miss out

Jason Soutar
Arsenal - Manchester United combined XI features William Saliba, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes.
Arsenal - Manchester United combined XI features William Saliba, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes.

Arsenal host Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday. It should be a very entertaining match with Rasmus Hojlund expected to make his debut.

Not including injured players like Luke Shaw, here is our combined XI of the two sides.


GK: Andre Onana (Manchester United)
One of the toughest decisions was to leave out Aaron Ramsdale, who was this week named in the PFA Team of the Year.

Onana’s reputation in the game, ability with the ball at his feet, and the fact he is such a dramatic upgrade on David de Gea in every aspect of goalkeeping is why he gets in our combined XI ahead of the Arsenal No. 1, who might not be Mikel Arteta’s first choice for much longer.

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RB: Benjamin White (Arsenal)
White does not enjoy the best of times when put up against Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, so that is an individual battle to look out for at the Emirates.

Despite Rashford giving White nightmares, he is usually as safe as they come in full-back and is certainly superior to Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot.


CB: William Saliba (Arsenal)
Saliba is a Rolls Royce at the back, isn’t he? What a top player. And at the age of 22 he still has so much to learn and time to grow.

Destined for big things at the Emirates, the French international did not have to contend with his compatriot Raphael Varane – out of Sunday’s match due to injury – for a spot here, and if he did, the outcome would not be any different.


CB: Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United)
Martinez has not been himself at the start of the new season but to have none of the defence that contributed to De Gea’s 2022/23 Golden Glove felt dirty, even if Gabriel Magalhaes has been screwed out of a spot in our combined XI.


LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal)
An injured Luke Shaw gives us an easy pick here. Picking Sergio Reguilon would have been funny, mind.


DM: Declan Rice (Arsenal)
Casemiro has been sloppy, isolated, exposed and has overall looked unfit to start the new season, but he is still a brilliant player. Thomas Partey is also excellent, for what it’s worth.

The Brazilian has clearly achieved a lot in the game and had a stellar debut year in the Premier League, but Rice is our man here after making the big-money move from West Ham this summer.

If you’re getting Lisandro over Gabriel, United fans, you’re not getting Casemiro over Rice.

Declan Rice applauds the Arsenal fans.


CM: Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)
The first of two club captains in our midfield is Odegaard, who scored 26 goals and provided 17 assists in 128 appearances for the Gunners.

The midfield pair ahead of Rice is not up for debate, to be honest.


CM: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Love him or hate him, Fernandes is a great player and walks into this team.


RW: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Another player who walks into our team is Saka, who is streets ahead of Manchester United’s big-money men Antony and Jadon Sancho.


ST: Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)
Putting Marcus Rashford through the middle was contemplated but going with an out-and-out striker is the one here.

Jesus is crucial to how Arsenal play. He could probably chip in with more goals but as an all-round No. 9, there are not many better out there in the Premier League.


LW: Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Arsenal fans are going to kill me for this, but there is no Gabriel Martinelli in our Arsenal – Manchester United combined XI. Watch him score a hat-trick now.

Rashford and Martinelli both had superb 22/23 campaigns and this was actually a very difficult decision to make. Martinelli probably influences games more than Rashford and is unlucky to miss out here.