Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur meet in the first FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday and it will be an intriguing contest as the two best teams in England face off.
These two sides are competing for the title and this weekend will provide a huge confidence boost for whichever team progresses to the final.
In the two league meetings this season, the teams have a win apiece, and it will be a close encounter again at Wembley.
There are talented players on both sides, but this is our combined eleven ahead of Saturday’s match:
For this team, the formation will be 3-4-2-1, as it has been used by both Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino at some stage this season. The goalkeeper position is difficult as Chelsea and Tottenham each have a world-class stopper.
However, Thibaut Courtois has been much improved this season and made crucial saves to help his side into a dominant league position. Last weekend, it was noticeable how important he is to this Chelsea side as their defence looked less assured without him.
The three defenders have been split between the two teams, but due to their better defensive record this season, Tottenham will be the team to have two representatives. Cesar Azplicueta has been a revelation since moving to right-sided centre-back, with an average of 3.6 ball recoveries per ninety minutes.
However, the best two defenders on either side belong to Spurs, in the form of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. Incredibly, neither player made the PFA Team of the Year. The Belgian pair have been superb over the last 18 months and they deserve a place in this combined eleven.
The two wing backs are important to this formation and these sides each have a great one in their squad. Kyle Walker is the defender with the most assists (5) in the Premier League this season. He averages 1.32 chances created and 3 ball recoveries per ninety minutes. The Englishman has improved his game in both halves of the pitch and is now arguably the best full-back in the league.
On the other side, Marcos Alonso gets the nod, due to his form this season. His importance was underlined last weekend as Chelsea were nowhere near as effective without him in the team. The Spaniard plays an unselfish role to take the defensive load off Eden Hazard, averaging 2.9 ball recoveries and 2.4 aerial duels won per ninety minutes. Furthermore, he has contributed five goals and two assists in the final third.
In the centre of the midfield, there is a representative from each team.
Mousa Dembele has emerged as one of the most complete midfielders in the Premier League. He averages 3.7 ball recoveries per game, with his work rate being his best asset. In addition, he is excellent at utilising his power to carry the ball forward.
The player to partner him is unsurprisingly N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman has been incredible since arriving in the Premier League, with his relentless energy allowing him to cover every blade on the pitch. He is excellent at winning the ball back, but he is also improving his ball skills at Stamford Bridge, allowing him to play a greater role in possession.
These are the hardest positions to select as both sides have a number of exciting attacking options. In the two roles behind the striker, there is a player selected from Tottenham and Chelsea.
Dele Alli has had another superb season, with his intelligent movement and deadly finishing making him one of the biggest goal threats in the Premier League. He already has 14 league goals this season, making him the highest scoring midfielder in the league.
The second highest scoring midfielder is Eden Hazard and his resurgence this season means that he deserves a place in this team. He is Chelsea’s main attacking threat, having a hand in 19 league goals this season. On Saturday, he is the player most likely to deliver a match-winning performance for the Blues.
Harry Kane is the player chosen to lead the line. Although Diego Costa is an amazing player, he has gone off the boil since the turn of the year, while the England international continues to score goals for Tottenham on a weekly basis.
This is the third successive season that the 23-year-old has reached 20 Premier League goals and he will get even better under the tutelage of Pochettino.
Do you agree with this team, or like the PFA Team of Year is there someone who has unjustly missed out? Let us know in the comments section below.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Matt Donovan