What's buzzing:

Manchester derby XI: Rooney and Mata in but City stars dominate


This season may not have gone to plan at Old Trafford for David Moyes, but Tuesday night's Manchester derby gives United the chance to restore some pride and claim the bragging rights until next season.

But in order to do that, the champion will need to overcome a Manchester City side which has overwhelmed a host of Premier League teams this season.

Manuel Pellegrini has enviable quality at his disposal in a number of areas and, as a result, the Etihad Stadium outfit dominates our combined Manchester derby XI.

Nevertheless, our goalkeeper comes from the red side of the Manchester divide. David de Gea has conceded more goals than Joe Hart this season, but has been called into action more often, featuring in more games and making more saves than the England No.1, who came in for scrutiny earlier in the season.

30 APPS 21

At right back, the ever-dependable Pablo Zabaleta gets the nod ahead of Rafael after another season of consistent performances. The Argentine became one of the first names on the team sheet under Roberto Mancini and remains a regular fixture with Manuel Pellegrini at the helm.

Despite often bearing the brunt of criticism leveled at his side, Martin Demichelis makes our combined XI alongside Vincent Kompany. At 33, the center back has featured more regularly than Matija Nastasic and Joleon Lescott, while his Belgian captain has returned to the fold after injuries.

The back four is completed by Patrice Evra. There are questions surrounding the future of the experienced left back at Old Trafford, but he continues to demand a place in Moyes' side, while Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov vie for a starting spot at the Etihad.

The heart of the midfield is made up of two of City's standout performers this season. Fernandinho has quickly emerged as a fans' favorite at the club since arriving from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer.

The Brazilian's industrious yet classy displays have allowed Yaya Toure to flourish. The Ivorian has netted an unprecedented 20 goals in all competitions this season, in an area where his opposite numbers at Old Trafford have struggled to make an impact.

There is room, however, for Juan Mata. The former Chelsea midfielder has yet to hit top form since making a 37.5 million pound move in January, but the Spain international impressed against West Ham and could continue to profit from a slight tactical reshuffle in the absence of Robin van Persie.

Another City pairing completes the front three behind the striker. David Silva has scored five goals and picked up eight assists in 19 Premier League starts this season, while Samir Nasri has looked rejuvenated under Pellegrini.

With Van Persie and Sergio Aguero both set to miss the derby through injury, only one man can really lead the line in our combined XI. Alvaro Negredo has impressed in his debut season at City and Edin Dzeko remains a goal threat, but Wayne Rooney has history in this fixture.

The England international scored a sensational overhead kick in a 2-1 victory for United in February 2011, and his audacious lob against West Ham at the weekend suggests there could be more to come from the striker.

View Comments (2)
  • Carver condemnation putting Newcastle at risk

    Carver condemnation putting Newcastle at risk

    Newcastle United interim manager John Carver is coming under increased media fire after suggesting defender Mike Williamson got himself sent off "on purpose" during Saturday's 3-0 Premier League defeat at Leicester City. Williamson earned a second … More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago
  • Juve add a touch of controversy to title win

    Juve add a touch of controversy to title win

    Juventus added a touch of controversy to their Serie A title celebrations on Saturday by suggesting it was the 33rd, not the 31st, time they had won the league. The club's perceived total includes the 2005 and 2006 triumphs, when they were stripped … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 48 minutes ago
  • Leverkusen beat second-string Bayern 2-0 to go third

    Leverkusen beat second-string Bayern 2-0 to go third

    Bayer Leverkusen beat a second-string Bayern Munich 2-0 on Saturday to move up to third in the Bundesliga and get back on course for an automatic Champions League spot with three matches left in the season. Hakan Calhanoglu whipped in a fierce free … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 49 minutes ago
  • Valeri returns from ACL injury for Portland Timbers in 0-0 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps

    As their offensive struggles continue, the Portland Timbers are hoping that the answer to their troubles made his return tonight. Diego Valeri played 38 minutes as a substitute in what was the highlight of Saturday's 0-0 draw with the Vancouver … More »

    The Canadian Press - 2 hours 17 minutes ago
  • Urawa stretch J.League lead with rare win over Gamba

    Zlatan Ljubijankic scored an 84th minute winner to give league leaders Urawa Reds a 1-0 win over reigning champions Gamba Osaka in round nine of the J.League. The Slovenia striker got in front of the Gamba defence to tap home left back Tomoya … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 17 minutes ago