Chelsea and Man United combined XI: A blue and red dream XI

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17: Odion Ighalo of Manchester United and Antonio Rüdiger and Kurt Zouma of Chelsea FC in action during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 17, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17: Odion Ighalo of Manchester United and Antonio Rüdiger and Kurt Zouma of Chelsea FC in action during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 17, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 3
Next
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Juan Mata of Manchester United is challenged by N’Golo Kante of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on October 24, 2020 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Phil Noble – Pool/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Juan Mata of Manchester United is challenged by N’Golo Kante of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on October 24, 2020 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Phil Noble – Pool/Getty Images) /

Central midfielder: N’Golo Kante, Chelsea

N’Golo Kante has not been himself since returning from a hamstring injury a few weeks ago. The diminutive Frenchman has struggled in his few brief appearances, making silly mistakes with the ball and allowing attackers to run past him in a way they never could before. Regardless, Kante is still one of the top defensive midfielders in the world and would walk into any team’s first XI.

It will be interesting to see how Tuchel uses Kante, if he does at all, against United. Tactically, it would make the most sense to have him man-mark Bruno Fernandes in an effort to limit the Portuguese international’s incredible playmaking ability. If Kante can keep Fernandes quiet for most of the match, then the Blues have a great chance of taking all three points.

Central midfielder: Mateo Kovacic, Chelsea

Before all of the Man United fans come for my throat, of course I would have chosen Paul Pogba if he were healthy. His injury—combined with Mateo Kovacic’s awakening under Tuchel—guarantees that the Croatian maestro has a spot in this combined XI. He and Jorginho have both played extremely well since the managerial change, with their midfield domination being one of the main reasons for Chelsea’s success.

This is a big season for Kovacic. Many of his most ardent supporters—myself included—have been waiting for him to break out and become a dominant central midfielder on the European stage, but it just did not happen for him. Now, having cemented his name as one of the first on the Chelsea team sheet, he will finally have the opportunity to reach his potential.

Attacking midfielder: Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United

This was probably the easiest decision to make while picking this combined XI. Bruno Fernandes has been absolutely unplayable since his arrival at Old Trafford last January. He will, in my opinion, be talked about as one of the greatest January signings of all time when he eventually departs the Premier League. Fernandes’ statistics are truly astonishing this season. He has the most goal contributions in the league with 25 and already broke the record for most Player of the Month awards won in a single calendar year when he took home the honor in December. Some may criticize the fact that most of his goals come from dead ball situations, but this level of production is above reproach.