Manchester United v Arsenal: WhoScored combined XI
By Martin Laurence, WhoScored.com
Last Updated: 28/02/16 1:16pm
Sky Sports are serving up two huge matches this Sunday, with the Capital One Cup final closing out the day after an old rivalry reignites in the Premier League.
Louis van Gaal's Manchester United host title-chasing Arsenal in what could well prove to be a massive game for both sides' respective aspirations in England's top flight this season. While the Gunners hold a strong lead over their hosts in the table, United won't have given up hope of a place in the top four just yet, aiming to put pressure on local rivals Manchester City, whose date at Wembley ensures they have no league fixture this weekend.
Petr Cech (Arsenal) - 7.08 rating
Second only to Watford's Heurelho Gomes in the highest rated keeper stakes, Cech comfortably makes this XI at the expense of David de Gea. There's no doubt that the two shot stoppers are among the finest in England but it's the Arsenal number one who has secured the higher rating (7.08 to 6.70), with a tally of 85 saves not only 27 more than the Spaniard but enough to rank second once more in the Premier League.
Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) - 7.13 rating
Bellerin takes his place at right-back with a solid rating from WhoScored.com. The youngster has developed incredibly well in a short space of time to become the undisputed first choice in his position at the Emirates. The 20-year old has missed just two league matches all season, completing the third most dribbles of any Premier League defender (36).
Chris Smalling (Manchester United) - 7.18 rating
While United have flattered to deceive for much of the campaign, Smalling has been one of the real success stories for the club and a favourite of Louis van Gaal despite a couple of cases of mistaken identity from the Dutchman! Smalling has played his part in more clean sheets this season than any other centre-back in the league (12).
Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) - 7.41 rating
Taking his place alongside Smalling, France international Koscielny has again been the stand-out performer of Arsenal's centre-backs this season. The 30-year old ranks third of all Premier League players in terms of interceptions per game (3.7) and has weighed in with three goals at the opposite end to aid in the Londoners' title bid.
Nacho Monreal (Arsenal) - 7.26 rating
Proving to be one of the most reliable full-backs in the Premier League over the last 18 months, Monreal has turned his career around at Arsenal having struggled to make an immediate impact. His place in this XI may well have come under threat were it not for an early season-ending injury to Luke Shaw, but the Spaniard has impressed nonetheless, featuring from the off in all but one of the Gunners league games to leave Kieran Gibbs watching on from the sidelines.
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) - 7.31 rating
Impressing in a number of midfield positions for Arsene Wenger this season, Ramsey takes his place in the centre in the absence of Santi Cazorla. The Welshman's energy in the middle ground is key to Arsenal's transitions and while he would hope to have had a direct hand in more goals - scoring four and assisting three in the league - no United central midfielder has come close to that input.
Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) - 7.14 rating
Set to feature alongside Ramsey at Old Trafford this weekend, the return from injury of Coquelin has been a real boost to Wenger. The Frenchman is another whose Arsenal career seemed to be hanging in the balance only to have become an integral part of the side. The 24-year old has unsurprisingly averaged the most tackles per game for his club this season (2.7) whilst maintaining a superb 90.5 per cent pass accuracy to keep things ticking over.
Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) - 6.86 rating
Undoubtedly the shock inclusion in this XI, while Lingard's rating is the lowest on show he has made significant strides this season. Indeed, the youngster has secured a higher rating than the likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the latter sidelined regardless. United have played with more intensity and pace with the 23-year old involved, and while he's been guilty of some big misses, Lingard has had a direct hand in six goals in his last nine appearances in all competitions.
Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) - 7.79 rating
If Lingard's appearance here is a shock, Ozil's certainly isn't with the German securing the highest statistical rating from WhoScored.com of any player from the two sides, ranking second to Riyad Mahrez in the Premier League. The playmaker registered his first assist of the year against Leicester last time out in the league, taking his tally to a whopping 17. That's seven more than any other player in England's top flight, creating the most chances (106) by 28.
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) - 7.55 rating
Sanchez takes his place on the left with an excellent score but there is no question that he has struggled to recapture his form following a return from injury. Wenger will need the Chilean to do just that in the title race, starting this Sunday, with a modest return of six league goals coming despite averaging the third most shots per game in the league (3.9), whilst also ranking fourth for dribbles (3.2).
Anthony Martial (Manchester United) - 7.25 rating
Completing the line-up, and only the third United player to make the XI, Martial takes the striker spot ahead of fellow countryman Giroud (7.08 rating). The 20-year old had a lot to live up to following his mega money transfer from Monaco and while most would argue that he still has some way to go to warrant such a price tag, there is no doubt the youngster has been United's brightest attacking spark. With seven goals and three assists he has made a solid start to life in England, with the outlet he provides best highlighted by having completed at least 35 more dribbles (56) than any team-mate.
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