Manchester United vs. Manchester City: Combined XI on FIFA Ratings

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2017

Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on December 3, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Manchester City continue to crush Premier League opponents with an unbeaten start now spanning 15 matches. Talk of Pep Guardiola's squad becoming the next "Invincibles" will heighten if they navigate beyond Manchester United without losing on Sunday, a derby that should prove to be one of the Sky Blues' toughest fixtures of the season.

While United have plenty of players in form—especially after the 3-1 win against Arsenal last weekend—the Old Trafford crowd knows it will take a heroic performance to overcome their neighbours.

Red Devils fans may be more optimistic of beating their rivals on FIFA 18, where Jose Mourinho's side are flying after the latest live-form boost. Playing off that idea, here's a combined XI made up of the highest-rated players from both sides at the time of writing.

The only criteria: literally the highest-rated players make the team (sorry, Anthony Martial).

                  

Formation: 3-1-4-2

Goalkeeper

David De Gea (93)

De Gea arguably put up the performance of his life against Arsenal, where he stifled the Gunners' assault on United's goal:

The Spaniard has been duly rewarded and is the highest-rated goalkeeper on FIFA 18 once his live form has been taken into account. Move aside, Manuel Neuer.

              

Defence

Nicolas Otamendi (85)—Left centre-back

Otamendi remains a defensive rock for Guardiola, but he's also popped up with three goals in the Premier League this season. The most important was his equaliser against West Ham United on Dec. 3, which eventually allowed the Citizens to snatch all three points.

Vincent Kompany (85)—Centre-back

A run of fitness is all Kompany needs to excel. Despite persistent injuries throughout his career, the Belgian is a leader and the kind of stalwart who pushes his team to a successful title charge. City fans may be sweating on his fitness for the match, though, per James Robson of the Manchester Evening News.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Antonio Valencia (84)Right centre-back

So, Valencia's not a centre-back, but he's superb on FIFA 18 and excellent in real life. He set the tone with an early goal against Arsenal and has become an underrated leader for Mourinho's men. His acceleration and strength on FIFA make him a huge favourite.

               

Midfield

Nemanja Matic (87)Defensive midfield

In last week's combined XI, it was noted how Matic frees up Paul Pogba for attacking bursts forward. This came to pass when the Frenchman powered his way into Arsenal's box and beyond Laurent Koscielny to set up Jesse Lingard for Man United's third. The important Serb's rating continues to rise on FIFA, making him a key cog in this week's lineup.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Nemanja Matic of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford on November 25, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Ge
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Paul Pogba (89)Central midfield

Speaking of Pogba, it's a great shame he won't play in the Manchester derby after his red card against Arsenal. He remains a FIFA god, though, offering a combination of physical attributes and quality on the ball that's hard to match.

Kevin De Bruyne (91)Central midfield

De Bruyne is in excellent form after a slow start to the season. His style of play doesn't translate into an explosive output on FIFA, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a classier technician in possession. Give KDB the ball on the edge of the virtual box and he'll pop it straight into the top corner.

David Silva (89)Left midfield

Another player who is often overlooked on FIFA, Silva's lack of speed and physical strength makes him something of a specialist on the game. Like De Bruyne, he's wonderful when in the right hands. His form is boosted after consistent quality and a late winner against West Ham.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (85)Right midfield

Now, if this XI wasn't based on the highest FIFA ratings, Mkhitaryan would be nowhere near the side. Martial would be in, and he'd likely be the star. However, the Armenian remains highly rated despite dropping out of Mourinho's team and generally playing poorly for most of the campaign.

                

Forwards

Romelu Lukaku (88)Striker

Lukaku's lack of goals in recent weeks continues to lead many headlines. He's netted just twice in his last 13 matches, per WhoScored.com, but that doesn't tell the entire story. The Belgian's work rate has improved in the last month, and, as a result, his FIFA 18 rating has also increased by one. It's a boost that knocks Sergio Aguero out of this combined team after he recently dropped to an 87 overall.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Manchester United and CSKA Moskva at Old Trafford on December 5, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/
James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (88)Striker

Aguero's absence is all the more noticeable now Zlatan is in the side. Despite making just a handful of substitute appearances this campaign, the Swede's quality ensures his place. While Aguero is likely to have more of a say in the real fixture, he lingers on the bench in the world of FIFA 18.

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