Saturday, 1 October 2016

Match preview: United v Stoke

Jose Mourinho has said that Stoke are "not in a real position" as former United legend Mark Hughes brings the struggling Potters to Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Reds are chasing a fourth straight victory for the first time in Mourinho's tenure while by contrast Stoke- after three successive ninth placed league finishes- are yet to register a win and sit nineteenth in the table having lost four of their six matches so far. 

But the Potters have a squad packed with international and Premier League experience and will look to the likes of Ryan Shawcross, Wilfried Bony, Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan to pull them out of the mire. 

United boast an imperious home record against the Staffordshire side with fifteen wins out of the last sixteen Old Trafford meetings stretching back to 1976 but the boss refused to take another victory for granted. 

This match with Sparky's side is the first of five that will go a long way to defining United's season with fixtures against Liverpool, Fenerbahce, Chelsea and Manchester City on the horizon. 

"It is another poisoned gift because Stoke is not what the table says" he said
"The manager is very good, the players are good, the team is good so when I look at the table it is not real and it is not Stoke's position.
"I play against a good Stoke and not the Stoke in that position in the table so it will be a difficult match for us and I am sure come May they will be in their usual position in the table."

Ander Herrera and Daley Blind look set to feature having been rested against Zorya, while recent injury victims Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Luke Shaw are close to returns but Phil Jones (knee) remains sidelined. 

Former Liverpool man Joe Allen is doubtful for the visitors with a slight hamstring problem and goalkeeper Jack Butland remains out but Jon Walters could return after a recent ankle injury. 
Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland are both long-term absentees for the Potters. 

"We have a pivotal month of games against big opponents so I would like to have other players playing more so I can see more and learn about them.
"I had in mind to give Memphis 20 or 25 minutes but Tim (Fosu-Mensah) got a problem so I had to play a right-back player but we need the squad for sure" Mourinho added. 

Form guide: United L L L W W W Stoke W L L L L D 
Match odds: United 8/4 Draw 5/1 Stoke 12/8
Referee: Robert Madley 

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