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Combined XI: Stoke City & Sunderland

Five from us, six from them - who makes our combined Sunderland and Stoke starting eleven?

Stoke City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

GK: Jack Butland

Arguably England’s finest goalkeeper when fit and in form, Butland would walk into most sides in the league and I wouldn't be surprised to see him at a bigger club in the near future.

RB: Javier Manquillo

I’ve never rated Glenn Johnson or Phil Bardsley, both are simply average. I’m hoping that Manquillo showcases his potential soon, you don’t play for Atletico Madrid, Marseille and Liverpool for nothing, right?

CB: Ryan Shawcross

His form may have dipped in the past few seasons, however, Shawcross is an experienced figure at the back and is a fine addition to this XI.

CB: Lamine Kone

Great footballer, terrible bloke.

LB: Eric Pieters

Their Dutch full-back is better than ours. Simple really.

RM: Fabio Borini

Oh how we’ve missed Borini these past few weeks, his work ethic, footballing brain and eye of goal are sorely missed.

CM: Giannelli Imbula

Stoke’s record signing adds strength to any side, with the youngster playing in the Yaya Toure mold.

CM: Jan Kirchhoff

Kirchhoff is injured again, and hopefully when he returns he will be more like the Jan from last season.

LM: Marco Arnautovic

The best player in this XI on his day, Arnautovic oozes class and Stoke have done well to keep a hold of him.

ST: Wilfried Bony

If Stoke can get the Bony who played for Swansea, rather than the version who ran out for Man City, then they have got a top class striker on their books. You wonder why Sunderland didn’t try and make a deadline day swoop for the Ivorian.

ST: Jermain Defoe

This one is self-explanatory really. Defoe is Sunderland’s best player and would probably get into Stoke’s side too.