Ahead of the match up between Arsenal and Manchester United this weekend, Talent Radar takes a look at a combined XI of the best young players in the two sides’ current squads.
Arsenal vs Manchester United has been one of the most intense rivalries of the Premier League era. The battles between Roy Keane and Patrick Viera will always be a part of the folklore surrounding this fixture. The intensity of this game may have mellowed compared to the heady days of flying pizza and tunnel skirmishes but there’s no doubt about its significance.
Note that the following XI has been created keeping in mind first team opportunities and appearances already made, while the formation has been positionally adjusted. Outfield players eligible are those 21 and under as of June 1st 2015, while goalkeepers 22 and under as of the same date were eligible to make the team. To know more about Talent Radar, head this way.
Defence: The combined XI starts with United youngster Sam Johnstone in goal. The young Englishman seems to be Van Gaal’s third choice ‘keeper and found himself consistently featuring on the bench when David De Gea was frozen out at the start of the season. Johnstone impressed on loan at Preston North End last season and will be looking for more first team opportunities this time around. Ahead of him Hector Bellerin and Luke Shaw both offer plenty of pace on the wings to form what would be one of the more exciting full-back combinations in the league. The Spaniard has firmly established himself as first choice as had Shaw before suffering his horrendous injury in the Champions League. The heart of the defence sees Calum Chambers lined up alongside Paddy McNair. After impressing initially, Chambers has found the learning curve to be steep at Arsenal but still has the qualities to become a fine defender, The same can be said about McNair who slotted in well on most occasions last season when called upon by Louis van Gaal.
Midfield: The centre of midfield is propped up by Krystian Bielik. The Polish youngster is highly rated at Arsenal and has been adapting to English football while playing for the U-21 side. The wings are dominated by two of the league’s most exciting young players in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Memphis Depay. The ‘Ox’ has been a key member of Wenger’s squad and is a great option to have either off the bench or from the start. Likewise Memphis is still adjusting to life in England and has to add a level of polish to his decision making but has shown in the Champions League just why he is rated as one of Europe’s finest young players. Andreas Pereira rounds off the midfield. The Brazilian, who featured in the U-20 World Cup, has been integrated into the first team squad and should see a fair share of opportunities to display his talent particularly after Adnan Januzaj’s departure on loan.
Attack: The attack is an all Manchester United one as Anthony Martial teams up with James Wilson to terrorize opposition defences. Martial was the talk of the town after his big money move and the youngster has responded in the best possible manner in what has been a scintillating start in England. His partner Wilson has not been able to translate U-21 form to the senior level yet but regular watchers of the U-21 league will attest to his ability.
[contentcards url=”http://outsideoftheboot.com/2015/07/30/scout-report-anthony-martial-monaco/” target=”_blank”]
[contentcards url=”http://outsideoftheboot.com/2014/11/19/scout-report-hector-bellerin-arsenals-pacey-young-right-back/” target=”_blank”]
[contentcards url=”http://outsideoftheboot.com/2014/01/17/calum-chambers-scout-report/” target=”_blank”]
[contentcards url=”http://outsideoftheboot.com/2013/12/26/memphis-depay-scout-report/” target=”_blank”]
[contentcards url=”http://outsideoftheboot.com/2013/04/16/luke-shaw-scout-report/” target=”_blank”]
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