Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Manchester ; Apart, They Failed to Conquer Europe. Together, This

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Manchester ; Apart, They Failed to Conquer Europe. Together, This

Article excerpt

UNITED go into Monday's derby with a seemingly insurmountable 15- point lead ahead of City at the top of the Premier League. But what would a joint Manchester team look like? A side capable of taking on Europe's elite perhaps.

Here, sports editor PETER SPENCER sparks the debate by naming his joint Manchester side based on current form.

GOALKEEPER SIR Alex Ferguson may have been waxing lyrical about David de Gea and the length of time since he last conceded a goal, but I bet he'd prefer Joe Hart between the sticks.

The United boss has admitted Hart was the one that got away when the-then City boss Stuart Pearce swooped to buy the now England No.1 for a bargain Pounds 100,000 from Shrewsbury.

Hart's form hasn't been quite up to the high standards he set last season, but he still has the edge over the fast-improving Spaniard who looks as if he has a mistake a game in him.

DEFENCE At right-back, City's Pablo Zabaleta is a shoo-in, despite the good form of Rafael this season. He's an obvious winner for the Blues' Player of they Year award and I have never heard a bad word said against the Argentine.

He always given his all and now enjoys little sorties into the opposition penalty areas when he's in the mood for a little glory.

Those stories about going to a Didsbury chippie and how he prefers to be picked up at the airport by his girlfriend in their mini rather than travel in style on the luxury team coach only re- enforce his 'man of the people' image.

Patrice Evra takes the leftback slot after a campaign in which he's reaffirmed himself and possibly has Sir Alex rethinking whether it's really worth trying again for Everton's Leighton Baines this summer.

Evra won't have any problems on Monday as City's biggest problem at present is an almost total lack of attacking options down the flanks with Adam Johnson (remember him?) gone and Scott Sinclair more wellknown for his celebrity girlfriend than anything he's done for the Blues since that unexpected move from Swansea. Both Evra and Zabaleta's form is consistently high and their selection is easy, but the competition is much tougher at centre-half. …

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