Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Stoke City
Venue: Old Trafford – Sunday, October 2 – 12:00 BST (07:00 ET)
Match Odds: Man Utd 1/3 – Draw 4/1 – Stoke 8/1
Manchester United welcome Stoke to Old Trafford in Sunday’s early Premier League kickoff, with the Red Devils looking to build on last weekend’s huge win over Leicester against a struggling Stoke side.
Jose Mourinho’s men overcame a terrible week to beat Leicester 4-1 last time out and then followed it up with a 1-0 home win over FC Zorya in the Europa League on Thursday.
They are heavy favourites for Sunday’s contest and should prove too strong for a Stoke side that has yet to win this term.
United are six points off leaders Manchester City going into the weekend and need to close that gap to three before their rivals kick off at Spurs later on Sunday.
For Stoke, things are looking very worrying. They have failed to win any of their six league games so far and now have to try and win at a ground they haven’t won at since 1976.
Mark Hughes is a man under pressure. His side aren’t performing anywhere near well enough and will be disappointed to have conceded in the last minute of last weekend’s 1-1 draw with West Brom.
Stoke are 19th in the table and looking like relegation candidates at this early stage. Sunday’s game will be a real test but they need to show they are willing to fight for their manager if they are to take anything from the match.
United won 3-0 in the corresponding fixture last season but have not managed to complete a league double over the Potters since 2013.
Jose Mourinho is set to be without Luke Shaw again, with the left-back struggling with illness. Bastian Schweinsteiger is still out of the first-team picture and won’t make the squad. There will be plenty of focus on Wayne Rooney’s position again, with a place on the bench most likely. Though he did come on to assist the only goal in Thursday’s win over FC Zorya, giving Mourinho a bit of a headache.
Stoke have three players ruled out here, with Stephen Ireland, Ibrahim Afellay and Jack Butland all sidelined. Jakob Haugaard is a doubt and is unlikely to feature. On-loan City forward Wilfried Bony will lead the Potters’ attack.
Man United’s last five: W/W/L/L/W
Stoke’s last five: L/L/L/L/D
Key Stat: Manchester United are unbeaten at home to Stoke in 16 games in all competitions, winning their last 13 in a row in front of their own fans.
Key Player: Paul Pogba – The world’s most expensive player finally got his first goal last weekend and will now be looking to kick on with another impressive display against a struggling Stoke side here. If he can find space, Pogba will undoubtedly control the game from midfield for the home side.
Manchester United 2-0 Stoke City – Unfortunately for Stoke, their troubles don’t look set to improve on Sunday, with the home side heavily expected to seal all three points. United impressed against Leicester last time out and will now be looking to put in an equally impressive showing against a struggling Potters team. It should be a fairly comfortable home victory.