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Manchester United vs Stoke – Match Preview

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick could start after coming off the bench on Saturday following a four-match lay-off with a knee injury.

Bastian Schweinsteiger could be out for a month after a scan showed his knee problem to be worse than first thought.

Stoke defender Marc Wilson is expected to be out for about three months after suffering a knee injury at the weekend.

Captain Ryan Shawcross is progressing well after a back injury but this game could come too soon.

Editor’s Note: Manchester United gave one of their best performances on Friday night as they progressed to the 5th Round of the F.A Cup but that was a win against Championship opposition in the form of Derby County, Tonight they have to win where it really matters and return to winning ways in the Premier League.

If we were to look at the Van-Gaal-Jobometer the pendulum has currently swung back to safe but as we know it only takes one defeat for it to swing back the other way and all of a sudden the press have gone back into overdrive as rumours of his employment status get ramped up again.

Last time out at Old Trafford, Van Gaal had to receive a vociferous chorus of boos once Charlie Austin what proved to be the winner in Southampton’s 1-0 win over United. That defeat leaves United 5 points behind Tottenham in 4th and Van Gaal knows his side can’t afford too many more slip ups if they are to achieve Champions League Football next season.

On Friday night United managed to overcome Derby in what could have been a potential banana skin but it was almost a reinvigorated side with Wayne Rooney back in the Goals with a tremendous strike from outside the box and two well crafted goals by Daley Blind and Juan Mata

Tonight they play host to Stoke and Manchester United old boy Mark Hughes who will be looking to mastermind a repeat of Stoke’s Boxing Day win when these two sides last met. The last 7 days has seen Stoke crash out of two Cup competitions so I expect they will be glad back to League matters

Hughes’s Stoke side currently find themselves 9th in the League and have won 1 of their last 3 league matches which was a comfortable 3-1 win over Norwich at The Britannia. Stoke’s form has been slightly patchy as of late but I don’t think Hughes can have too many complaints at their current League placing.

Last time out in the League they were soundly beaten by leaders Leicester. A rare off day for Stoke but then again maybe it’s just a barometer of how good Leicester have actually been this season. There’s no real disgrace in losing to a side at the top of the table.

As for Tonight I think United have to be a bit more attacking from the off, they can’t afford to try and win this game in the Second half. If Van Gaal can get the shackles of his side then they should go on and win this. I’ll say both teams to score but a home win for me.


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