A reinvigorated Manchester United will be confident ahead of a visit to a struggling Stoke side without a win a six games. The signing of Juan Mata may have lifted the perpetual sense of failure that has clouded David Moyes’ side this season, but the necessity of his arrival has only demonstrated the precarious (by their standards) position they currently sit in.
Fourth place must be the minimum requirement for the Champions and they will certainly feel confident of achieving that now Moyes can field a side containing Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie for the first time. It is surely paramount that Moyes builds on the midweek victory (and a rare clean sheet this season) against Cardiff and secures a decent result at a ground they have never lost at in the Premier League.
These developments at Old Trafford couldn’t have come at a worse time for United legend Mark Hughes. The Stoke manager has overseen a torrid run of form that has left his team tipped for relegation. The deficiencies so often associated with Tony Pulis’ side have yet to be significantly addressed and a return to his pragmatic style might be the best solution. Stoke’s ability to score goals has remained an on-going problem too and whilst they have been prolific in certain fixtures, including scoring three times against Chelsea and Liverpool, they still average less than a goal a game.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3.00pm
Stoke 0 Manchester United 2 (Young, Evra), Capital One Cup, October 2013
Manchester United 3 (Van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez) Stoke 2 (Crouch, Arnautovic), Premier League, October 2013
Stoke 0 Manchester United 2 (Carrick, Van Persie), Premier League, April 2013
Manchester United 4 (Rooney 2, Van Persie, Welbeck) Stoke 2 (Rooney OG, Kightly), Premier League, October 2012
Stoke have never beaten Manchester United in the Premier League – a run stretching to 11 games.
Mark Hughes has managed against Manchester United on 18 occasions and only won twice.
Manchester United have kept clean sheets in only two away fixtures in the Premier League.
Robin van Persie has scored in his last six games against Stoke for Arsenal and Manchester United.
Stoke to win: 11.2
Manchester United to win: 11.20
TV: Highlights on BBC 1 at 10.35pm