Tottenham vs Man City preview: Pep Guardiola & Jose Mourinho's all-time combined XI

Mourinho & Guardiola

Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho go head-to-head on Saturday evening as their respective Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur sides return to Premier League action following the international break. 

On balance, this clash of managerial Goliaths is the showpiece fixture of the weekend, pitting two of the best brains in the business against one another for the 24th time. 

As things stand the City boss, who quashed speculation over his future this week by reportedly agreeing to a contract extension, has outfought Mourinho with 11 wins and six draws from 23 clashes. 

The revered pair have faced up in a handful of famous fixtures, including El Clasico and the Manchester derby, having undertaken some of the most coveted managerial jobs in world football. 

As a consequence, Mourinho and Guardiola have taken great pleasure in managing the richest talent the game has to offer.

With that acknowledgement and the looming showdown in mind, here at GIVEMESPORT we've whittled down the pool of players the pair have overseen to create one ultimate combined XI.

Make no mistake about it, you'll have your reservations, you'd have done things differently, you'd have included those players you have a sentimental association with. 

Selecting one line-up form such a collection of elite players is far from straightforward, and with simply too many world-class candidates to sandwich into one starting XI, naturally our opinions will differ. 

But that's all part of the intrigue, right? You wouldn't be here if you weren't expecting to be bemused by at least one decision. 

Here's our chosen XI in full...

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer


Even the most stoic of Iker Casillas or David De Gea fans will have to concede defeat here. 

Neuer is a goalkeeping titan of which the world has never seen, and with bursts of anxiety-inducing lunacy to keep everyone on their toes, it's been a scintillating ride watching the Germany international down the years. 

This big cat/brick wall hybrid provided a solid foundation for Guardiola's philosophy to flourish at Bayern Munich. 

Right-back: Philipp Lahm


The epitome of a club stalwart, every side needs a player like Philipp Lahm scuttling down the wing from full-back. 

Thomas Muller was the only outfield player to complete more appearances than Lahm during Guardiola's time at the Allianz Arena, which attests to how highly he we was trusted. 

In truth, this was one of the easiest selections in the entire line-up.  

Centre-back: Sergio Ramos


This is where things get a little tricky. Some of the great Jose Mourinho teams have been underpinned by the strength of his central defensive options, while Guardiola's free-flowing style has bestowed unprecedented demands on his defensive players.

Selecting just two from a pool that includes the likes of Gerard Pique and Lucio was fraught with difficulty, but it's difficult to argue against Sergio Ramos' inclusion. 

Ramos only won one La Liga title under the Portuguese manager but his mind-boggling career achievements earn his place here. 

Centre-back: John Terry

John Terry

Getting the nod over fellow professional hardman turned footballer Lucio, as well as the more technically proficient Pique, John Terry is one of just two Englishmen in this XI. 

Such was the extent of Terry's importance to Mourinho success in west London, the now Aston Villa coach featured in a whopping 266 games across the Portuguese manager's two spells. 

Only Ricardo Carvalho (292) has featured in more games under Mourinho but that return arrived over three more seasons at two extra clubs. 

Left-back: Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole

The final inclusion in the back-four is the third Mourinho player, which gives some indication of the differing styles of both managers.

One of the most talented left-backs of his generation, Cole narrowly gets the nod over David Alaba, who is unfortunate to miss out.

By virtue of a series of injury problems, Cole was restricted to just 73 appearances in three seasons under the Special One.

Central-defensive-midfield: Claude Makelele


You think holding midfield is your position? You merely adopted the role; Claude Makelele was born in it, moulded by it. 

Sergio Busquets merely followed the blueprint which was scribed and disseminated by a player influential enough to have a recognised position named after him. 

With big tackles sponsored by Claude Makele, a telepathic reading of the game and slick technical skills anchoring the midfield, the attacking players can rest easy with the Frenchman on clean-up duty.

Central midfield: Xavi


How do you choose between Andres Iniesta and Xavi?

The two players were practically joined at the hip during their respective careers, orchestrating the Barcelona midfield like they'd been roaming the Camp Nou turf since birth, dancing around opponents with ethereal grace during an era in which collectively they redefined perceptions and philosophies.

Instead of flipping a coin, we gave Xavi the nod based on the fact he played more games than Iniesta (208 vs 181) under Guardiola, scored more goals (36 vs 23) and provided more assists (82 vs 54). 

Central-midfield: Kevin De Bruyne

De Bruyne

The next player taken from the school of Guardiola is the only player in the XI who is currently plying their trade under either manager's tutelage. 

Winner of the PFA Players Player of the year in 2020, becoming the first Manchester City player to ever scoop the honour in its 46-year history, De Bruyne, like Iniesta and Xavi, has redefined standards at the summit of European football. 

To the average spectator, it's seldom obvious as to where exactly De Bruyne is playing, owing much to his unplayable perception of space and first-class athleticism. 

For a player whose languid movement so often suggests that he's totally out of gas, the indefatigable Belgium international covers a startling amount of ground. 

The art of deception is all part of his genius. 

Right-forward: Lionel Messi


Do we really need to write a bit on our intergalactic friend?

Guardiola has spent much of his career trying to shake off critics who claim he is nothing without Lionel Messi. 

Amid the Catalonian's decision to stay on in Manchester until 2023 at least, speculation linking Messi with a sensational reunion is back in full flow. 

One would imagine that fans of the Premier League will be willing Man City to get a deal over the line regardless of their allegiances, though equally it's not hard to imagine some Liverpool supporters may disagree.

Left-forward: Cristiano Ronaldo


Cristiano Ronaldo has been about as prolific as humanly possible throughout his entire career, and his time under Mourinho at Real Madrid was certainly no exception to the rule. 

Ronaldo made more appearances than any other Los Blancos player under his compatriot's stewardship, scoring 168 goals and providing 49 assists in 164 appearances. 

They are scarcely believable numbers and in a side featuring both Ronaldo and Messi maybe we'd finally be able to put the perennially futile but unrelenting debate to rest.

That's probably just wishful thinking, though.   

Centre-forward: Samuel Eto'o

Samuel Eto'o

Of all the players on the list Samuel Eto'o's inclusion is probably the most surprising and most deserving of an explanation. 

Firstly, we couldn't construct this outfit without at least paying homage to the Inter Milan side who won the first ever Italian treble in 2010, while the fact he's played under both managers with three separate clubs gives him a natural edge.

Under Mourinho's watch at Inter, Eto'o played more of a pragmatic role and was often deployed out wide to make way for the prolific Diego Milito. 

With 360 goals and 116 assists in 720 career outings, the Cameroon legend has more than enough to justify his place over Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero. 

Here's the line-up in full...

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