Verdict: Manchester United
Best Odds: 3/5
Bookmaker: Bet 365
Manchester United travel to Stoke City in fine form despite their most recent loss to rivals Liverpool. Stoke City are capable of an upset though and they should not be taken lightly by Jose Mourinho’s side. Stoke City sit in 9th place in the table, while Manchester United are in 6th place, just 2 points behind Manchester City. This will be the 17th meeting between the sides, with United winning 8 out of 9 matches at Old Trafford and 4 out of the last 5 away matches between the sides.
Stoke City come into the game having lost none of their last 4 Premier League games at home; beating Burnley, drawing with Southampton, drawing with Leicester and beating Watford. However, all things considering Manchester United are far better opposition than them sides. Mark Hughes will be looking to the crowd once again to make the Bet 365 stadium as noisy for the visit of Mourinho and his team. The last time Stoke City played Manchester United it ended in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford when United squandered many clear cut goal chances. The Potters have finally managed to recover from a dry spell, as back to back Premier League wins over Watford and Sunderland saw them climb to ninth in the overall standings, and they will be hoping to remain in the top half after the game against Manchester United.
Stoke City will be without goalkeeper Jack Butland which may mean Lee Grant will be given the opportunity to impress Mark Hughes once again. Geoff Cameron and Stephen Ireland are also both out, while Johnathan Walters and Bojan Krkic are doubtful. Ramadan Sobhi is also absent from the squad as he is currently on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Egypt.
Manchester United are in excellent form both home and away despite their 1-1 draw with Liverpool last time out in the Premier League. They have won their last 3 Premier League games away from home beating Crystal Palace, West Brom and West Ham with considerable ease. Mourinho will be looking for a similar performance when his side travel to the Potteries, will this be the case, only time will tell. The Red Devils have recovered well from the difficult start to the campaign, notching up nine successive victories in all competitions, but the excellent run came to an end at the worst possible time as Man Utd failed to beat bitter rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho will definitely demand a response after a lacklustre performance in their previous game, so this should be a great game of football between two in-form sides.
Jose Mourinho has virtually a full squad to pick from. However, Eric Bailly wont feature due to his Africa Cup of Nations commitments with the Ivory Coast. Paul Pogba will be looking for a better performance after he failed to impress in the loss to Liverpool.
Key Factors to Consider
- Stoke City are unbeaten in their last three home games against United.
- Manchester United have only failed score in one of their last 21 Premier League games against Stoke, it was in this exact fixture last season when Stoke won 2-0.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League fixtures, their best league run since March 2013 (18 games without defeat)
- Charlie Adam has provided three assists in his last two Premier League games, as many as he had in the previous 71 games.
- Ibrahimovic has scored 14 Premier League goals so far this season and only Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Dwight Yorke (15 goals) have scored more in their first 20 Premier League matches.
Stoke City will be very hard to beat at home, but Manchester United have been performing very well and are unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League games. United have a keen eye for goal as well and this will help them when they travel to the Potteries.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 3/5
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