Two of the Premier League’s top three clubs do battle on Saturday as Chelsea welcome free-scoring Manchester City to Stamford Bridge.
Both sides head into the clash off the back of important Champions League wins and boast some of the most potent attacking players in English football.
But which of those players available for selection would make a combined XI judged on their form so far this season? Goal does its best to pick such a team…
THIBAUT COURTOIS (Chelsea): After a sloppy start to the season against Burnley, the Belgian goalkeeper has rediscovered his best form with three clean sheets from six Premier League matches so far. Made some crucial saves against Atletico Madrid in midweek and just pips out City new boy Ederson.
CESAR AZPILICUETA (Chelsea): Arguably the best performing defender in the Premier League in the opening weeks of the season, the Spain international has been his usual dependable self at the back while he has not been afraid to get forward having already laid on three goals for compatriot Alvaro Morata. Beats out Danilo and Kyle Walker to a place in this XI despite both enjoying good starts to their City careers.
JOHN STONES (Manchester City): Has ensured Vincent Kompany has not been missed at the back for City, with the Premier League leaders having only conceded twice in his 676 minutes on the field. Also found the net twice in the recent win over Feyenoord.
ANDREAS CHRISTENSEN (Chelsea): With David Luiz still suspended, Christensen is again set to step in, though his performances may yet see him hold down a regular role in the first team even when the Brazil international returns. One of the finest young defenders in world football.
MARCOS ALONSO (Chelsea): Two goals against Tottenham signalled that he would not be a one-season wonder, and despite not being at his best against Stoke City he bounced back to lay on Michy Batshuayi’s late winner against Atletico Madrid. His place in this side is helped by Benjamin Mendy being ruled out with a knee injury, however.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE (Manchester City): He may have been moved back into a deeper role by Guardiola this season, but the former Chelsea midfielder continues to create endless chances for City as he looks to again finish the season as the league’s top assist provider. Opened his goalscoring account for the campaign with a stunning strike against Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek.
DAVID SILVA (Manchester City): He may have got rid of his hair, but the Spain playmaker has lost none of his talent as he continues to run the City midfield. The new contract he is currently mulling over is a sign that City do not feel he is finished yet.
RAHEEM STERLING (Manchester City): Many expected the former Liverpool winger to be the odd player out at City this season given their wealth of attacking talent, but he has been anything but. He beats out Pedro and Willian to take his place in this side having scored six goals in all competitions already.
LEROY SANE (Manchester City): Despite Eden Hazard putting in a superb performance against Atletico on Wednesday, his lack of games means he is just pipped to the post for this team by the in-form Sane. Five goals and two assists this season have marked him out as one of Europe’s brightest young prospects.
ALVARO MORATA (Chelsea): Filling Diego Costa’s boots was never going to be easy, but Morata has justified the massive outlay made on him this summer as he seems to only get better. Seven goals in eight appearances – including a hat-trick at Stoke last time out in the league – means he is well and truly one of the early contenders to win the Golden Boot.
GABRIEL JESUS (Manchester City): With Sergio Aguero having been ruled out of the game at Stamford Bridge after breaking a rib in a car crash on Friday morning, the Argentine’s place in attack goes to City team-mate Gabriel Jesus, who, in fairness, was a strong contender for a starting berth anyway. Indeed, the 20-year-old Brazilian has netted four times in his last three Premier League appearances.
Have we got it right? Is there someone missing from our XI that deserves a place? Have your say in the comments below!
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