MANCHESTER CITY host fierce rivals Manchester United in a crucial encounter as the fierce race for the top four heats up.
Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils will be eyeing revenge after their noisy neighbours grabbed a 2-1 victory on their own turf back in September.
And whilst this match could have been billed as a title decider at the beginning of the campaign, both managers will now be judged on whether they can secure Champions League football.
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A combined spending of over £300million was spent on the two sides this season but which players and manager make our star-studded combined XI?
Goalkeeper – David de Gea
AN absolute no brainer. The Spaniard remains one of the top goalkeepers in world football and continues to be linked with a move to Real Madrid.
Looking at his opposition number, Claudio Bravo has flopped in his debut Premier League campaign and Willy Caballero doesn’t even come close to rival De Gea.
Centre-backs – Eric Bailly and John Stones
Vincent Kompany almost edged his way into the central defensive partnership but just four Premier League starts this campaign sees his team-mate take the role alongside Bailly.
Stones is prone to an error but he is undoubtedly the most talented defender out the bunch. He is more reliable than Nicolas Otamendi and question marks remain over the form of United’s other central defenders.
Barring a slight dip in form, Bailly has been instrumental for United at the back this season and his pace and power make him a perfect addition to the Premier League.
He is rash in the tackle which is a trait he can improve in his game.
Full-backs – Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw
Man City’s weakness in full-back this season mean it’s an all United affair on each flank.
Jose Mourinho described Valencia as one of the best right-backs in the world earlier in the season and although he may not be the best, he has certainly earned his name as one of the first on the team-sheet.
His pace and energy make him the ideal man to break forward whilst quick wingers find it difficult to get the better of him.
Shaw grabs the left-back spot over Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov despite enduring a difficult campaign.
He is slowly earning Mourinho’s trust once again but his quality has never been in question.
Midfield – Yaya Toure, Ander Herrera and Kevin de Bruyne
The absence of Paul Pogba made the decision easier but the Frenchman would have struggled to fit into the midfield based on the season’s form.
Yaya Toure remains one of the strongest midfielders in world football and will have the tough task of controlling the middle of the park on Thursday night.
Herrera has emerged as one of United’s most vital cogs in midfield. The live-wire has been sensational, particularly the second half of the season, and his performance in the victory over Chelsea sums up everything outstanding about his game.
David Silva’s injury means Kevin de Bruyne slots in alongside the duo.
The Belgian international has registered 13 Premier League assists this season and is an expert in a dead ball situation.
Attackers – Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane
Leroy Sane has the potential to become one of the most feared forwards in the Premier League.
His lighting-quick pace and ability to beat a man make the German a frightening opposition against his full-back.
Remembering he is only 21-years-old and still in his debut campaign in England, he is only going to get better.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan takes the spot on the other flank. His career at United started slowly but has progressively improved his game in the Premier League.
Sergio Aguero’s goalscoring record speaks for itself. In eight league starts against United he has scored seven goals.
Expect him to be a thorn in their side once again.
Manager – Jose Mourinho
Really tough call but Jose Mourinho knows how to produce a tactical masterclass.
Pep Guardiola’s City have disappointed on a whole this season and have only shown flashes of brilliance.
Just one point separate the two clubs but in the big games, Mourinho is more trusted to grind out a result.