Stoke City vs Man. United by FP

Most people, including me, are slowly getting used to the fact that Manchester United are not a very good side any more. The first half of the season has been spent waiting for the players to hit form, for the team to start playing attacking football and for Manchester United to score goals. On all the evidence so far this season – and there has been a lot of evidence – the players available are simply not good enough to be part of a top four Premier League side.


Louis Van Gaal’s signings have been poor with the exception of Anthony Martial, but he has strangely been played out wide when he is Manchester United’s only serious option for the central strikers position. Captain Wayne Rooney would not get in his old team Everton’s side on current form which says all you need to know, but still Van Gaal persists with him. His team are slow, negative and easy to defend against which is a very strange thing to say about a Manchester United team. Any team that includes Spanish stars Juan Mata, David De Gea and Ander Herrera will always have a chance of getting a result but the rest of the team are distinctly average at best.


If news reports are to be believed then Manchester United are courting the recently fired ex Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho to take over from Van Gaal which would be a major boost as he would certainly give the players a kick up the backside and get the fans back on side.


Ex Manchester United striker Mark Hughes has been in charge of Stoke City for two and a half years now and has replaced the Tony Pulis recipe of long balls and physical play with an attractive attacking way of playing which has seen his team nicknamed ‘Stokalona’, mainly due to the ex Barcelona players Bojan and Affelay joining the Staffordshire club. Hughes has Stoke settled as a mid table club, but they are very inconsistent and seem to win a game playing like Barcelona then lose the next game playing like Barnet (no offence Barnet fans!). The last four games sum up their season so far. They had a shocker during a 2-0 loss to Sunderland, put in a great performance to beat Manchester City 2-0 at home, then drew 0-0 with West Ham and lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace.


The Britannia Stadium will be full to bursting point on Boxing Day and it will be a very daunting trip for an under performing Manchester United side that have failed to win any of their last six games – three draws followed by three defeats. This is pointing out the obvious but a lot will depend on who scores the first goal. I feel that if Manchester United are to get a win then they need to take an early lead as this will allow them to try and nullify the game by retreating into their boring possession based football in the hope of defending their lead. If Stoke go ahead at any point then I cannot see Manchester United having the personality and fight in the team to drag them back into the game.


With home advantage and the encouragement of the Stoke fans I will be backing Stoke to come away with something from this match and pile on the misery for Louis Van Gaal.


Tip: Stoke City, draw no bet @ 2.25


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Pick Bookmaker Odds Stake Result
Stoke, draw no bet 10bet 2.25 8 2-0 WON (+10 units)
0 0
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