After much deliberation, the teams have been named. It’s Manchester United – Arsenal XI versus Chelsea, and it’s live, only at Pundit Arena HQ.
In order to separate these two outstanding teams, we are going to analyse each position individually and score each team based on how well they would stack up against their opposite number.
Without further adieu, it’s time for battle.
David De Gea vs Thibaut Courtois
Two outstanding young goalkeepers, but on this occasion the Manchester United man takes the number one spot. De Gea is enjoying probably the most impressive period of his career, making outstanding save after save.
Courtois has usurped Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal and has made the transition from Spain to England effortlessly, but for this argument the battle of the stick men goes to De Gea.
Selection: David De Gea
Score: Manchester United /Arsenal XI 1-0 Chelsea.
Left Back – Luke Shaw vs Cesar Azpilicueta
At first, we thought this was going to be a tough choice. However,upon further inspection, and thanks to our friends at Squawka, there was only ever going to be one winner. Azpilicueta, or ‘Dave’ as he is affectionately known, has a defensive score of 63 this season, while Shaw’s rating is just 37.
Azpilicueta has managed 17 interceptions, while his Manchester United counterpart has managed just one. And for those shaking their heads while reading this and saying Shaw offers more going forward, Azpilicueta averages seven moresuccessful passes than the England international per 90 minutes (40 vs 33).
Selection: Cesar Azpilicueta
Score: Manchester United /Arsenal XI 1-1 Chelsea.
Right Back – Rafael vs Branislav Ivanovic
This one is a little bit easier than the Azpilicueta/Shaw debate. Ivanovic has cemented himself as one of the most reliable players in the Chelsea squad, a polar opposite to the reputation Rafael has built at Old Trafford. Easy choice, Branislav Ivanovic all day.
Selection: Branislav Ivanovic
Score: Manchester United /Arsenal XI 1-2 Chelsea.
Centre Backs – Laurent Koscielny & Per Mertesacker vs John Terry & Gary Cahill
Although Per and Koscielny were awesome last season, Terry and Cahill have taken up the mantle in 2014/15. They have been at the heart of Chelsea’s outstanding start to the season and don’t be surprised to see the pair lift the Premier League trophy in May.
Selection: Terry & Cahill
Score: Manchester United /Arsenal XI 1-3 Chelsea.
Central Midfield: Jack Wilshere & Daley Blind vs Cesc Fabregas & Nemanja Matic
Which midfield pairing comes out on top? Daley Blind serves as a great anchor to any midfield. He is in many ways what Arsenal are missing. He would free up Wilshere to follow the play more and provide those late supporting runs in to the box and team up with the forwards. The Dutchman meanwhile can play the simple ball consistently and shields it well.
However, in terms of a midfield duo has the league seen a better defensive and offensive partnership than the imposing Serb and laser-eyed Spaniard? It really is a fantastic ying and yang at play. Matic relishes tackling and his height gives him an almost unfair advantage. Fabregas meanwhile returns to the Premier League a better player. His vision this season has been unrivalled and he is joint-top of the assists charts for all of Europe.
Selection: Fabregas and Matic
Score: Manchester United /Arsenal XI 1-4 Chelsea.
Right Midfield: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain vs Andre Schürrle
The young Englishman has hit a great run of form. Prepared to press high up the field and making runs inside the full back he possess great technical ability and likes to shoot outside the box.
Schürrle is equally adept with the ball at his feet and can also cut inside. The German has had a great six months, doing well in the World Cup and bagging the trophy-winning assist. The Ox has impressed, but for consistent goals and assists, the German takes this one.
Selection: Andre Schurrle
Score: Manchester United /Arsenal XI 1-5 Chelsea.
Attacking Midfield – Wayne Rooney vs Oscar
While Oscar certainly isn’t an unsung hero by any means, his contributions are underplayed in comparison to Hazard, Costa and Fabregas right now. He’s very much the type of player Mourinho tried to morph Mata in to. The Brazilian’s touch and finishing have bagged him 6 goals and 2 assists already. On top of this he can put in a great defensive shift which lifts pressure on the midfield.
Wayne Rooney is a similar player. The United captain is one of the Premier League’s greatest and though the last season wasn’t one of his best at United he has taken on the mantle of captaincy well. He gets the nod over the young Brazilian given his experience.
Selection: Wayne Rooney
Score: Manchester United /Arsenal XI 2-5 Chelsea.
Left Midfield – Angel Di Maria vs Eden Hazard
Without doubt the toughest call to make. Di Maria has shown some great performances in his short tenure in Manchester so far. He’s been United’s best player several times this season. Hazard is probably on the cusp of becoming one of the top 5 players in the world. Mourinho hasn’t quite got him there yet but it’s a matter of time.
It’s a tough one, how do you justify leaving out Hazard? Then again the same can be said for Di Maria. Looks like we’re sitting on the fence for this one.
Score: Manchester United /Arsenal XI 3-6 Chelsea.
Centre Forward – Alexis Sanchez vs Diego Costa
Both men have set the league alight since coming from Spain. Injuries have hampered Costa and his goal scoring has dropped off somewhat. That being said, it was a freakishly good return and he now has 10 goals from 10 Premier League starts.
Sanchez, playing deeper to begin with now has 10 goals from 11 starts plus 3 assists. His pressing is superb and he fashioned two goals from nothing against Sunderland.
The Chilean is in fantastic form and is fully fit. He outshone Costa in the World Cup and for that reason he nabs our centre-forward position.
Selection: Alexis Sanchez
Score: Manchester United /Arsenal XI 4-6 Chelsea.
A cracker of a game, but there can only be one winner. Jose’s Chlsea side come out on with 6-4 away win and go onto secure the Premier League title. Back to the drawing board for Manchester United and Chelsea.