Arsenal – Man Utd combined XI: Premier League signing of the season included; Onana over Raya

Jason Soutar
Man Utd - Arsenal combined XI features only three of Erik ten Hag's players
Man Utd - Arsenal combined XI features only three of Erik ten Hag's players

Erik ten Hag has been eyeing retribution since Manchester United were apparently robbed of a penalty and goal at the Emirates in September. He has his chance to ruin Arsenal’s title bid when they come to town on Sunday.

Ahead of the huge fixture at Old Trafford, we have done a combined XI of the two sides, including eight of Mikel Arteta’s players.

Who gets in a Man Utd – Arsenal combined XI?

GK: Andre Onana (Manchester United)
The first position is sure to spark a heated debate but I put Onana 10th in my rankings of the signings of the season when David Raya was also a summer buy. It would be hypocritical to have Raya in this team over Onana then, surely?

Onana’s debut season at Old Trafford has been mixed, to say the least. In the Premier League, he has been solid, making the most saves in the division this term, which is an absurd statistic for a Man Utd goalkeeper to lead. It says a lot about the players in front of him and with a less capable man between the sticks, eighth might be even lower…incredibly.

Onana’s Champions League campaign was abysmal. One of the worst you will ever see. While it is fair to use that as a stick to beat him with, don’t let it cloud your judgment too much. He hasn’t been that bad. And Raya has hardly been squeaky clean either. Raya has had two errors lead to a shot and three errors lead to a goal in the league this season. Onana has one of each while conceding one penalty to the Spaniard’s zero.

 

RB: Benjamin White (Arsenal)
Has there been a better right-back in the Premier League this season? Absolutely not. White’s game has elevated to another level, separating himself from other impressive stars in his position – mainly Pedro Porro and Trent Alexander-Arnold, who have both had great years.

 

CB: William Saliba (Arsenal)
Saliba comfortably beats compatriot Raphael Varane to a spot here. He has been outstanding for a team with the stingiest defence in the Premier League. The boy is a Rolls Royce on the ball as well. Parfait!

 

CB: Gabriel (Arsenal)
Saliba’s partner in crime has been a rock at the back this season. Not just that, but he has scored more league goals than the following players: Miguel Almiron, Jeremy Doku, Harvey Elliott, Jack Grealish, Beto, Kaoru Mitoma, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ansu Fati, Pedro Neto, Christopher Nkunku, Timo Werner, Armando Broja, Antony, Anthony Martial and Mason Mount.

 

LB: Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
Interestingly, only the second position up for debate is occupied by another Man Utd player. This time, it is a player who is absent for Sunday’s fixture. Despite Shaw’s injury, we have decided to include him, changing our ways from only picking players who are available. Mainly because it is more interesting and there have been one too many times a player was purposely omitted, only to end up playing.

Shaw seems to have one great season, then one bad season, then one great season, and so on and so forth. This season has not been his best, but like a lot of Erik ten Hag’s players, he has been injured for a large chunk of it.

Arsenal’s left-back position is full of uncertainty at the minute. Takehiro Tomiyasu is excellent but injury prone, Oleksandr Zinchenko is a defensive liability, Jakub Kiwior isn’t good enough just yet, and Jurrien Timber is just returning from an ACL injury. We love Timber but do not want to include someone with 50 Premier League minutes under their belt.

 

CM: Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)
Captain fantastic. Gunners skipper Odegaard has led by example this term. His performances have been exemplary and he is rightly one of the Premier League Player of the Season nominees.

 

CM: Declan Rice (Arsenal)
Next to Odegaard in the Arsenal midfield and the list of nominees for the aforementioned award, Rice has been the signing of the season.

Casemiro was so, so close to getting in here, only just missing out despite his incredible form for Man Utd.

 

CM: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
A different person might have chucked in Kobbie Mainoo, but not me. It has to be Bruno Fernandes. Love or hate him, he is one Red Devil whose inclusion is not up for debate.

READ NEXTTen more deserving nominees than Kobbie Mainoo for Young Player of the Season

 

RW: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Arsenal’s starboy was always getting in this team. He gets in every combined XI. We love him.

 

LW: Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)
Alejandro Garnacho is a little unlucky. He has had a good season but his recent form might be playing on my mind. Saying that, Martinelli has been nowhere near his usual self, with Leandro Trossard starting on the left for Arsenal in recent weeks.

Even if Martinelli has not hit the same heights as last season (maybe Granit Xhaka leaving is a factor), he is the best player out of all the left-wingers at both clubs.

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Do you agree with our combined XI? What would you change? Join the debate here.

 

ST: Kai Havertz (Arsenal)
Had this fixture come during Rasmus Hojlund’s purple patch, it probably would have been a different result. It has not and Havertz easily gets the nod up front in our combined XI.

The German has been incredible as Arsenal’s focal point up front this season. It is clearly his best position. He still looks a little bit lost when playing in midfield and Mikel Arteta’s bizarre decision to play him there against Aston Villa could have contributed to the result that cost the Gunners the league title.

Anyhow, there are only two appearances as a striker in the Premier League this season that Havertz has not provided a goal contribution. One of those games was against Bournemouth last week. It was still arguably his best day in an Arsenal shirt.

More: Arsenal news | Man Utd news | Big Weekend | Robbie Savage’s Premier League predictions