Right-back: John Stones (Manchester City)
John Stones is a player of many talents, a fact that was further accentuated by his success in a unique right-back/midfield hybrid role. Despite being relatively new to the position, the England international has already made it his own and will likely start from there on Wednesday too.
He’s witnessed an upturn in form in recent weeks, with Stones delivering a masterclass in their 4-1 drubbing of Liverpool at the start of the month, before netting a lovely goal in their 3-1 win over Leicester City. His best attribute though, remains defending in one-on-one situations.
Centre-back: Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
Ruben Dias has made a telling impact on Manchester City’s backline since joining the side from Benfica in 2020. Although injuries have disrupted his run this season, Pep Guardiola continues to pin his faith in him, a testament to his qualities.
Centre-back: Gabriel (Arsenal)
One of the most consistent players for Arsenal this season, Gabriel and his partnership with William Saliba have played a key role in their amazing season. His propensity to switch off has come to haunt the Gunners on a few occasions and the Brazilian will have to remain vigilant here while going against the might of Erling Haaland.
Left-back: Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal)
One of the two players who swapped Manchester City for Arsenal last summer, Oleksandr Zinchenko has continued from where he left off last season. The Ukrainian’s leadership and experience has not only made him a key figure on the field but also inside the Gunners dressing room. Having played with City for five years, Zinchenko knows the side inside out and Arsenal will be counting on him to use that expertise against the holders.