A fixture as decisive as Man City v Arsenal will inevitably prompt a torrent of combined XIs from every media outlet imaginable.
And if you assume we’re going to give it a miss just because the market is over saturated then think again!
You see, we have the luxury of forging a hypothetical hybrid of the two title contenders based entirely on Dream Team points achieved this season.
No biased opinions, no fluffy subjectivity, just pure performance.
GOALKEEPER: Ederson (£5m)
Aaron Ramsdale’s tally of 84 points is 19 shy of the Brazilian’s at this stage and with City still active in the Champions League, it’s hard to see the the north Londoner making up the difference before the season’s end.
The England international has kept 12 clean sheets in the Premier League compared to Ederson’s ten but Arsenal have conceded six more goals in the competition.
Furthermore, Ederson has only incurred minus eight points from goals conceded this season while Ramsdale has seen 15 of his chalked off.
DEFENDERS: Ben White (£4.7m), Ruben Dias (£6.4m), Gabriel (£3.6m)
The Englishman leads the way in this department with 138 points, the fourth-best total among assets in his position.
White may not have much of an interest in football but he’s undeniably good at it and in recent weeks fans have seen evidence of an improved end product in an attacking sense – he’s provided three assists and a goal of his own in his last five matches.
Man City’s imperious Portuguese centre-back missed eleven games through injury during the middle section of the campaign but still he’s amassed 122 points, 85 of which have come from clean sheets.
Guardiola’s side looked considerably more vulnerable at the back when Dias was absent and his return to the starting line-up (in great form too) has given City an almost invincible aura in recent weeks.
Gabriel completes the back three having mustered 130 points almost through sheer omnipresence alone.
The Brazilian has contributed to 16 clean sheets in all competitions and has 25 points from goals and Star Man awards – a noble effort.
Nathan Ake (£4.8m) misses out as his total of 113 points is bettered by certain midfielders and forwards, forcing our hand in terms of formation.
MIDFIELDERS: Bukayo Saka (£5.4m), Kevin De Bruyne (£8.1m), Martin Odegaard (£4.1m), Riyad Mahrez (£5.9m)
In Arsenal’s homegrown hero and City’s brilliant Belgian we have two of the top three midfielders in Dream Team this season.
Saka has plundered 181 points while De Bruyne is the only man in his position other than Bruno Fernandes (£6.7m) to have celebrated a double century (212).
Incredibly, Man City have six midfielders in the top 12 so full credit to the Gunners’ captain for levelling out what could have been an imbalanced playing field in this exercise.
Odegaard has 12 goals, seven assists and six Star Man awards this season, making up the bulk of his 156-point total.
Mahrez makes the cut by virtue of his well-timed hat-trick against Sheffield United in the FA Cup, an endeavour that earned him 28 points which was enough for him to overtake Phil Foden (£5.1m) in the rankings.
Traditionally, a 3-4-3 formation would feature wing-backs with defensive qualities out wide but since this is the realm of Dream Team, we have no need for realistic balance and can indulge in this talented attacking quartet.
FORWARDS: Gabriel Martinelli (£4.8m), Gabriel Jesus (£5.7m), Erling Haaland (£9.9m)
The presence of Mikel Arteta’s two Brazilian forwards means our XI actually has more Arsenal players than City representatives!
Martinelli has scored 15 league goals this season, only four players have more, and he’s been a brilliant value-for-money asset throughout the campaign.
With 174 points to his name, he’s close to leapfrogging Ivan Toney (£6.1m) to become Dream Team’s fifth-best forward of 2022/23.
As for Jesus, he’s included because he’s managed to produce more points (119) than the aforementioned Ake despite the fact he missed three months of the season after picking up an injury at the World Cup.
The 26-year-old averages a goal involvement every 97.6 minutes in the Premier League when available this season – he’s notched 31 points in his last four outings.
Last but by no means least, it’s Dream Team’s outright best player by a gargantuan margin, Man City’s clinical No9.
You know the numbers by now: Haaland has 48 goals (and counting) to his name this season – he’s bagged six hat-tricks for crying out loud!
The Norwegian poacher is on course for 450+ Dream Team points and Cristiano Ronaldo’s all-time record of 477 is under serious threat.
Here’s the XI in full as presented via the medium of classic Football Manager graphics…