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Preview: Jose Mourinho to field the same side against Stoke before shuffling the pack midweek?

Stoke City -v- Manchester United

Premier League 2017/18

bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent

Saturday 9th September 2017; KO 17:30 BST

Live on BT Sport

Manchester United embark to Stoke City for Saturday’s evening encounter in the Premier League. Three matches into the new season with three wins under the belt, Jose Mourinho’s side are yet to concede their first goal. Stoke have not had a great start, losing, winning and drawing their opening three matches, looking to send United packing unable to take three points from the bet365 Stadium, which has been the case in the last few visits. Mourinho’s side are much better than last season, at least they have been in the opening three matches, but like last season, the international break could have changed everything with United needing to do better than their three-match losing streak in the three games after the break last season. Granted, United will not be playing Manchester City like they did a year ago, but Stoke does pose some threat for United.

United head into a busy month with seven matches being played over the course of 22 days with the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and the Carabao Cup all coming into contention in September. United will face Stoke on Saturday before entertaining FC Basel at Old Trafford on Tuesday, Everton a week on Sunday, Burton Albion the following Wednesday, Southampton the Saturday after, a trip to Moscow the following Wednesday, then Crystal Palace at home to end the month. Talking about his team in his press conference on Friday, Mourinho said:

“The squad is strong. The players are ready to play, the decision to leave people on the bench is hard, the decision to leave people at home is hard. The fact that now we play every three days, in relation to that, I think is good because the players will feel now that they are all involved. 

“I think, by the end of September every player [will have] played, every player [will have] started matches because it’s the normal movement of the squad and that is not a problem at all – that makes my control of my human resources better, easier and simple. But the matches are difficult and we have always the risk of being unable to keep a winning run, which is really difficult to do.”

Previous Matches:

Manchester United and Stoke City have met 106 times in the history of both clubs, the first match going back to the 7th January 1893 with a 7-1 humiliation on the cards for Newton Heath. United have won 43 matches, drawing 35 and losing just 28. United were last beaten by Stoke on Boxing Day in 2015, a 2-0 defeat away from home. United are winless in their last four trips to Stoke, last winning on the 18th December 2013, a 2-0 victory in the League Cup with both Ashley Young and Patrice Evra scoring the goals. In the last seven meetings between the two sides, all played in the Premier League, United have won just twice, also losing twice and drawing three times. Stoke seem to be the bane of Manchester United at this moment in time, something which needs to change with Jose Mourinho’s side prospering and leaving Stoke-on-Trent with another three points in the bag. United have a 13 match unbeaten run against Stoke which stretches from the 6th October 1993, ending on the 18th December 2013, a feat of over a decade of matches with United winning twelve times, drawing just once.

Form:

Manchester United started their Premier League season in good stead winning their first three matches, scoring ten goals, conceding none and sitting at the top of the Premier League table throughout the season so far. United had a near perfect start last season, winning their first three matches, not so much in this great fashion, but after the international break, they fell to three straight defeats in the league and the UEFA Europa League, which did not put the team into the best form early on. This season, United will need to overcome their troubles from last season, ensuring that they grind out the much-needed results to continue their great start to the season.

Stoke City have had an indifferent start to the new season, sitting in eleventh place with four points after three matches; losing the first match to Everton, beating Arsenal in the second match and drawing against West Bromwich Albion in their third match of the season. This may not be the best time for Stoke City to face Manchester United, after their perfect start to the season, but stranger things have happened, this is football! Mark Hughes has made some changes to his side, ones which may well be for the better and if he can continue United’s poor form in Stoke, he will be doing things right. United may have a trick up their sleeve though.

Team News:

Jose Mourinho has a strong squad to take to Stoke. Luke Shaw and Ashley Young may still be out of action, Shaw played for the U23’s on Friday evening. Young could well be involved in the travelling squad as the manager gave nothing away on Friday. Andreas Pereira left the club on loan on deadline day, something which Mourinho moaned about with it not being ideal, but he was not going to guarantee playing time to a player with all to do at Manchester United. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been suggesting on social media that his return could be coming, but he does like to make the media talk about him, which is a good thing for any snowflakes out there. Mourinho, speaking in his press conference on Friday, said:

“We have to wait and see. There is still one more training session. Not every player has reported yet, so today is the first time we are all together.

“I hope that these 15 days without us being together and working together, doesn’t affect us too much,” Mourinho added at his press conference. “I know it will affect [us]. I know that one thing is a week working with the players and working tactically and going through every principle of play to be ready for the weekend match; another thing is to have the players away and arriving step by step. 

“I don’t even see them all. Today is the first time I see them all together, and obviously, today is not a day to work; today is just a day to make the decision and the selection and to travel to Stoke. But hopefully, we can keep a good level of play.”

Predicted Starting XI:

Match Prediction: Manchester United to overcome the negative nature of a trip to Stoke?

Stoke City 1-3 Manchester United

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