Crystal Palace host Wolves in the Premier League this weekend but with both clubs sharing similar aims for the season, chiefly a top-half finish, there isn’t much too choose between them in terms of all-round quality. With that in mind, Football FanCast have composed a perfect combined XI, drawing on from the best players from both teams.
Do you agree with our picks? Did we somehow overlook a dead cert? Let us know in the comments section below…
GK – Rui Patricio: Just one save separates Rui Patricio and Wayne Hennessey in the Premier League charts so far this season while they both stand level on three clean sheets, but the latter has conceded eight goals to the former’s five and the Portugal No.1 has injected real confidence in the Wolves backline since his summer arrival from Sporting.
RCB – Aaron Wan-Bissaka: A slightly different role for Aaron Wan-Bissaka but we felt compelled to find some room for the Palace prodigy in this combined XI. The academy product has been fantastic for the Eagles since making his debut in February and has already earned himself a cult following amongst avid Fantasy Footballers.
CB – Willy Boly: Plenty of options to choose from here but perhaps due to his sheer stature, Willy Boly has really stood out this term. Domineering in both boxes, he brings vital physicality to this combined XI.
LCB – James Tomkins: Perhaps we should be favouring a natural left-footer in team-mate Mamadou Sakho but while the Frenchman always has a knack for incredibly costly errors, James Tomkins has become one of Palace’s most dependable players. By no means a spectacular addition to the combined XI, but a Premier League-proven defender nonetheless.
RWB – Matt Doherty: Matt Doherty has no doubt been one of the most impressive right-sided defenders in the Premier League so far this season, excelling in the right wing-back role. In fact, he’s won the most headers, taken the most shots and laid on the most assists of any No.2 in the Premier League, and is only second to Kieran Trippier for key passes.
RCM – Ruben Neves: He perhaps hasn’t ripped apart the Premier League in the way many expected, but Ruben Neves has impressed nonetheless, particularly with a goal and an assist upon his Premier League debut against Everton. A star in the making, but he still has a long way to go.
LCM – Joao Moutinho: the likes of Luka Milivojevic, Cheikhou Kouyate and Max Meyer haven’t given much competition, but Joao Mouinho would be getting into this side regardless. Not only does he complete a partnership with Neves that been key to Wolves’ blistering start, but he’s also been in strong individual form – creating just shy of two chances per match and weighing in with over three tackles.
LWB – Patrick van Aanholt: Jonny has no doubt been excellent this season but if you’re looking for offensive input from a defender, few in the Premier League offer a better return than Patrick van Aanholt. He’s scored two goals in his last two games across all competitions, and grabbed an assist in the top flight.
RF – Adama Traore: He may be yet to start a Premier League game for the Midlands outfit but with Andros Townsend struggling for form and his ventures from the bench resulting in all kinds of problems for opposition defences, we’re giving Adama Traore the nod – unable to look past his pace, power and trickery when running with the ball.
LF – Wilfried Zaha: He’s Crystal Palace’s talisman and could have a similar impact on this combined XI as well. The Eagles just don’t pick up points without Wilfried Zaha starting and although he signed a new contract at Selhurst Park in the summer, the Ivory Coast attacker could easily be plying his trade amongst the top six. He’s started the season with three goals and one assist in seven appearances.
ST – Raul Jimenez: With Christian Benteke so hopelessly out of form and Jordan Ayew yet to score for Palace, this was one of the easiest choices for the combined XI. Raul Jimenez has enjoyed a fantastic start to his Wolves career with two goals and two assists already, and seems well suited to bringing the wide forwards into the game.