CHELSEA and Manchester United’s FA Cup fifth-round showdown looks to be balanced on a knife edge – if their combined XI is anything to go on.
SunSport has it at 6-5 in favour of the Blues when it comes to choosing a best mixed line-up.
Let’s hope the clash is as close.
Under-fire Maurizio Sarri will be desperate to get one over on United after some disastrous results in recent weeks.
The 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City this month saw his side slip out of the top-four into sixth behind United and Arsenal.
While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will demand an immediate response from his players after Tuesday’s 2-0 home defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
United are without injured pair Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, while Chelsea’s only KO concern is Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Here, we take a look at the two teams’ best combined XI based on players available.
GK: David De Gea
UNDOUBTEDLY the No1 in this team – and probably in world football.
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The United keeper’s incredible reflexes makes him a brick wall in front of goal and puts him ahead of his Spain team-mate Kepa Arrizabalaga.
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta
CHELSEA’S left-back is not having his strongest season but makes the cut ahead of Ashley Young, who is being played out of position.
Azpilicueta is much more defensive-minded yet can still whip in a decent ball from the flank.
CB: Antonio Rudiger
THE German has been the Blues’ standout defender this season and gets the nod ahead of team-mate David Luiz.
His pace, power and positioning makes him a shoe-in.
CB: Victor Lindelof
HAS hit the levels expected of him this season after a dodgy start to his United career.
The Swede is playing with confidence and looks to be justifying the £31million Jose Mourinho spent on him in 2017.
LB: Luke Shaw
STREETS ahead of Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso on current form.
A resurgent United star, Shaw has nailed down his position since Solskjaer took over at Old Trafford.
Again, confidence has been key for the England full-back, whose pace on the wing makes him a threat in attack as well as a tough opponent to beat.
CDM: N’Golo Kante
WHEN played in his natural defensive midfield role, there is no better player than Kante.
Athleticism and an infinite supply of fuel in the tank make the former Leicester star almost impossible to best in the middle of the park.
CM: Paul Pogba
BY FAR the most improved player under Solskjaer and dramatically repairing the damage done to his career under Mourinho.
Pogba has scored eight goals in 11 games since the Norwegian took over and been the driving force behind United’s form.
CRITICISED for his defensive role under Sarri but has a wide range of passing in his locker.
Rarely gives the ball away and can unlock defences, especially if played further up the field.
LW: Eden Hazard
ARGUABLY the best player in the Premier League.
Hazard’s standards have slipped since his blazing start to the season but he still has 12 goals and ten assists in the league and is a nightmare for defenders.
RW: Marcus Rashford
DOESN’T give defenders a second to breathe and is taking more risks in front of goal.
United’s England striker is full of pace, tricks and gets himself into the right positions to wreak havoc.
ST: Gonzalo Higuain
MARTIAL’S injury means Higuain gets the nod up front ahead of Romelu Lukaku – but only just.
Neither striker has set the world alight of late but Chelsea’s on-loan hitman is at least leading the line for his team.
Higuain has shown a natural striker’s instinct in his movement and positioning though needs time to settle in.