Man Utd are visited by Stoke on Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford in a game that sees the home side needing to close the gap with Premier League leaders Chelsea (3pm BST, Saturday).
Manchester United went into the international break on the back of an impressive 3-0 win away to Newcastle, battling against a team who many thought would take points from Alex Ferguson’s (pictured) team. But in spite of the win, United still need to establish a good run of form and gather some momentum to keep pace with Chelsea.
The 3-2 home loss to Tottenham saw all the problems in United’s team come to the fore. Yes, they can find goals themselves, but the manner in which they conceded was certainly a worry.
They never really got back into the game, as their first goal against Spurs saw the United defense caught asleep for a retaliatory Tottenham goal inside a minute. We can talk about the injuries all day, but Manchester United really do have some work to do in the defensive department.
The win at Newcastle saw Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans on the score sheet. Evra has been one of the inconsistent players. As I said, the result at Newcastle was surprising, but there are plenty who have got the better of the French full-back in recent times.
Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley were part of the England starting XI that drew away to Poland. Rooney grabbed the only goal of the game while Cleverley operated from a wide left position. All three were uninspiring with Carrick being particularly wasteful in possession.
But Ferguson will be more concerned with the three players performance’s for United. Tom Cleverley grabbed the last of the three goals against Newcastle and continues to show his usefulness in different areas of the pitch.
It’s also worth looking at the delay of the England game and how it will effect United’s team selection. As mentioned, Rooney, Carrick and Cleverley were the United players to start while Danny Welbeck made an appearance from the bench, but Stoke also had Ryan Shawcross in Roy Hodgson’s squad.
You’ve really got to believe that United will go all out for the win in this game. They’re four points behind Chelsea but travel to Stamford Bridge next week. Maximum points against Stoke is a must.
United will be looking to welcome back Chris Smalling and Ashley Young from injury. They are still without Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones in defense.
Stoke’s form this season has been littered with draws, and they sit 12th in the league table. Their only win so far this season has been against Swansea, but a brighter note is that they’ve taken points off every team they’ve faced this season except Chelsea. The match at Stamford Bridge could easily have seen Stoke come away with a point.
Tony Pulis will be without Michael Owen for the trip to Old Trafford, perhaps a reminder as to why so few had faith in him following his release from Manchester United.
Stoke’s direct game will play a big role in this match and they’ll look to cause plenty of problems for David de Gea in the United goal.
Patrice Evra has been caught out this season from balls whipped into the box and Stoke are notoriously strong through aerial attacks in the penalty area.
The plus for United is that Stoke have not been able to score many times this season. Combined they have six goals all season, three of which have been away.
Man Utd v Stoke Betting Tips Conclusion
Manchester United will be under pressure because of the physical nature of Stoke’s game but I’m confident of a home victory.