Jumaat, 6 Januari 2012

Goal.com best combined Manchester first XI

The goalkeeper

Sir Alex himself cannot currently decide who should be his No.1 goalkeeper, with the continuous rotation of Anders Lindegaard and big-money summer signing David de Gea not exactly inspiring defensive confidence at Old Trafford.

De Gea has had his impressive moments but still seems error-prone in these early stages of his career, while the Dane represents a more solid, but comparatively unspectacular alternative.

City, on the other hand, have no such problems with Joe Hart firmly established as their top shot stopper. Ever since a successful loan spell with Birmingham City, the England keeper’s stock has continued to rise.

He continues to be one of the most consistent and talented keepers in the league and gets the nod for our selection. His understudy, Costel Pantilimon, also looks promising.

The defence

Micah Richards continues to impress as he enjoys his best season to date. A re-call to the England reckoning is surely on the cards as his combination of robust defending and powerful bursts down the line make him our selection at right-back.

United struggling with Nemanja Vidic out injured is no surprise and with the Serbian ruled out for the rest of the season, troubled times could lie ahead. The powerful stopper has been the unsung hero of the Red Devils’ successes in recent seasons and remains one of the best defenders in world football when he is fit and firing.

City have a player who is rivalling him for those sorts of comparisons, though, with captain Vincent Kompany continuing to shine. After initially playing as a defensive midfielder when he arrived at the club in 2008, the classy Belgian is now the must-pick centre back who has been pivotal to Mancini’s men conceding only 16 goals in 20 league games.

Patrice Evra is not currently on top of his game but the controversial Frenchman is still one of the best around in his position and United will be relying on his experience in the run-in. Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov represent good options for City in that role, but as yet a clear first-choice has not emerged.

Those to narrowly miss out include Phil Jones, who burst onto the scene at the start of the season but has been brought back down to earth in recent games and Joleon Lescott, who has established himself as Kompany’s partner and is beginning to look more solid and consistent.

The midfield

Nani has always been a talented winger but in recent seasons he has added more of an end product – goals and assists – to his flamboyant skills as he matures. While his manager will want even more of that, the Portuguese’s quality and creativity earns him a spot in our line-up.

Yaya Toure may be one of the highest paid players in the Premier League after joining from Barcelona, but he has shown dominant performances in both the defensive and attacking aspects of his midfield play to justify such rewards. Nigel de Jong has not played as regularly this season due to a number of factors, but remains the best ball-winning, holding midfield option – a vital part of any team.

David Silva is in the running for player of the season and rightly so, with some of the former Valencia man’s displays simply oozing class this season. We slot him in on the left wing, but he is also capable of playing anywhere across the pitch in a more advanced position.

Of those to miss out, Antonio Valencia is gradually finding form after a slow start to the season, while Michael Carrick and Gareth Barry do not quite cut it at the highest of levels. Ryan Giggs is a legendary figure at Old Trafford but his influence week-to-week is fading. James Milner provides good energy but doesn’t have the same flair as our wide options, while Anderson remains an enigma.

Adam Johnson is a star of the future, but is being harmed by being unable to secure a regular run in the side. Samir Nasri has not had the start to his City career he would have hoped for – the player was a United target in the summer and things could easily have turned out very differently.

The attack

We are spoilt for choice in attack given but Wayne Rooney has to take one of the striking spots. This season, the United talisman seems to only have two gears – either on stunning form or well off the pace, with usually no middle ground – but he still has a good goalscoring record and is one of the best forwards around.

Sergio Aguero has made an impressive start to life in England. After coming from Spain with a big reputation, he has provided the goals, creativity and energy to make him a handful for any defence our combined Manchester XI would come up against.

Mario Balotelli is a controversial character but has had a very good season on the pitch. His temperament means he narrowly misses out on selection, while Edin Dzeko is a good target man and is having a better season this time around, so almost makes it too.

Dimitar Berbatov has undoubted class but his goal record against the biggest clubs can be called into question. Javier Hernandez had a sensational debut campaign, although injuries have affected his form this time around. While Danny Welbeck is a rising star, he is not yet the finished article.

The talented Argentine Carlos Tevez is our wildcard option to sit on the substitutes’ bench, presuming he’s willing to warm up and come on to the pitch when called upon!

source: http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2900/fa-cup/2012/01/06/2830739/from-david-silva-to-wayne-rooney-which-players-from-city

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