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Whenever a local derby happens, it’s a big game. When the two local teams in question are two of the biggest, best, and most famous soccer clubs in the world, it’s massive. That’s what happens when the blue and red sides of Manchester, England, hook up in the (at least) biannual Manchester derby. In 2022, both Manchester United and Manchester City are having solid seasons. City sits in second place with 17 points and, after a tough start, United has won its last four in a row to move into sixth position with 12 points. So, as the teams prepare to face off Sunday, which players make the 2022 Manchester derby combined 11?

In the last few seasons, the best Manchester derby combined 11 almost exclusively included City stars. However, with Erik ten Hag at the helm, Manchester United is remaking itself. Big-money busts like Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba, and Cristiano Ronaldo are either gone or mostly banished to the bench. In their place are younger, talented players who will likely crack this list as soon as the next Manchester derby in January.

That said, right now, Man City still has a relatively wide talent and form margin so far this year, so Cityzens dominate this list. With that in mind, here is the 2022 Manchester derby combined 11.

Honorable mentions

A majority of Manchester City’s starting lineup is on this list, so there aren’t a lot of omissions. Center-back John Stones is hurt, and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan barely missed out in the midfield. Other than that, no other City player who didn’t make the 2022 Manchester derby combined 11 deserves mention.

On the other side, several Manchester United players were close but just couldn’t unseat the City stars. Midfielder Bruno Fernandes and forwards Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford are the three that stick out more than anyone else. Sancho (22) and Rashford (24) are up-and-comers getting more chances under Ten Hag, so they could make the January team.

The other two United players worth mentioning are defensive midfielder Casemiro and forward Antony. Both are excellent players. They just got to United near the end of the summer transfer window and, therefore, can’t make this team yet.

The United player not worth mentioning is Cristiano Ronaldo, but we have to because he is one of the two most famous players in the world. The global superstar wanted out this summer, but there were no serious takers. Ronaldo has just 207 minutes this season and isn’t in Ten Hag’s long-term plans.

2022 Manchester derby combined 11

2022 Manchester derby combined 11
2022 Manchester derby combined 11 | Tim Crean/Sportscasting

Goalkeeper: Ederson, Manchester City

2022 Manchester derby combined 11 goalkeeper
Ederson | Lynne Cameron – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Ederson isn’t having his best season in 2022. The Brazilian is 21st in the Premier League with just seven saves, and he’s conceded six goals. That said, he’s 5-0-2 in net with four clean sheets, and Ederson’s shot-stopping is only part of his value. He’s the best keeper in the world with the ball at his feet and a huge piece of City’s build-up and attack. That’s why he’s the keeper of record on this Manchester derby combined 11

Center-backs: Ruben Dias, Manchester City — Lisandro Martinez, Manchester United 

2022 Manchester derby combined 11 defense
Diogo Dalot, Ruben Dias, Lisandro Martinez, Joao Cancelo | Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images; David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Image; Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images; Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Ruben Dias is the rock of the Man City defense. He is the Final Boss standing between counterattackers and Ederson when the opposition comes steaming down the field on an odd-man rush. Dias is plenty good on the ball, but his discipline and toughness allow John Stones, Kyle Walker, and Joao Cancelo to roam and attack in Pep Guardiola’s system.

Lisandro Martinez is a lynchpin as well. The defender came with ten Hag from Ajax. And when the new United manager decided to tell high-priced defenders like Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof to take a seat in favor of Martinez and Raphael Varane, that’s when United’s 2022 turnaround began.

Full-backs: Diogo Dalot, Manchester United — Joao Cancelo, Manchester City

Full-backs play an outsized role in a Pep Guardiola side, and Joao Cancelo is a perfect fit for his team. The Portuguese “defender” is basically a glorified winger but still has a 92% tackle success rate, 38 recoveries, and a 51-27 record in duels this season.

At right-back, Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot gets the nod. The 23-year-old (also Portuguese) full-back is having a great bounce-back season after a tough year last campaign. Although his numbers aren’t anywhere near Cancelo’s stats offensively or defensively, he’s a solid pick and has played better than Kyle Walker this season.

Defensive midfielder: Rodri, Manchester City

2022 Manchester Derby combined 11 midfield
Christian Eriksen, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne | Visionhaus/Getty Images; Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images; Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images

In January, this position could be an incredibly tough call with Rodri vs. Casemiro, but for now, Rodri is a clear choice. The big Spaniard has two assists already and averages an incredible 93.43 passes per game. He is the metronome that makes City go, which is why he gets this spot.

Attacking midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City — Christian Eriksen, Manchester United 

Kevin De Bruyne is quite simply one of the best players in the world, but he’s in great form in 2022 as well. He leads the Premier League with six assists and has a goal. His passing and attacking stats don’t knock your socks off, but when he picks his spots to make a big play and the beauty he does it with is second to none.

This second spot came down to United MFs Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen. And since Fernandes recently told the media that the veteran Danish midfielder who fought his way back from a scary heart issue is the key to his success, this has to go to Eriksen.  

Wingers: Phil Foden, Manchester City — Bernardo Silva, Manchester City

Phil Foden, Erling Haaland, Bernardo Silva | Gustavo Pantano/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images; Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images; Gustavo Pantano/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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With Kevin De Bruyne in the midfield, fans of pretty football should want City’s Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva flanking him. These three have developed such a connection in the last few seasons that it seems like they could play blindfolded and still create a chance for their striker.

This isn’t just an aesthetic choice, though. Foden has two goals and two assists in seven matches, and Silva’s added two goals and three assists. These two are incredible playmakers and secondary scorers, which is why no one on the more one-dimensional United front line made this Manchester Derby combined 11.

Striker: Erling Haaland, Manchester City

Is this even a question? In his first seven matches in the biggest, toughest professional league in the world, Erling Haaland has been nothing short of dominant. With De Bruyne, Silva, Cancelo, and Foden setting him up, Haaland has 11 Premier League goals, which is already four clear of Harry Kane’s seven in second place.

At just 22 years old and seven games into his EPL career, the big Norwegian has completely locked down the striker spot in the 2022 Manchester Derby combined 11 and could soon make his way into the conversation for the all-time version of the team.

Stats courtesy of