Can United get their season back on track at home to the out of sorts Stoke?
Man Utd v Stoke - Sunday 12:00, BT Sport 1
Man Utd put in their best performance of the Mourinho era so far with a convincing 4-1 victory over Leicester last time out, and the main talking point was of course the absence of Wayne Rooney from the starting line-up and he also missed out in the Europa League in midweek. The hosts played at a quicker tempo, blitzing the champions in a 20 minute first half spell with Juan Mata taking the plaudits in the No. 10 role. Ibrahimovic is not especially mobile these days and so moving Mata inside allowed Mourinho to have pace on both flanks, drawing attention away from his undisputed star striker. The move also had the additional benefit of better set-piece delivery, with Daley Blind taking responsibility.
Also noticeable for Man Utd was the accomplished and athletic display of Paul Pogba, who had more influence than in any of his previous matches where he drew considerable criticism. Partnered with Ander Herrera, a better player on the ball than Marouane Fellaini, the record signing was able to push further forward despite the initial 4-2-3-1 formation remaining the same. All things considered, Rooney is likely to stay on the bench for this game with others taking the centre stage.
Stoke were much better against West Brom, but sill conceded a late equalizer from yet another set-piece. Many teams have struggled with the new rules on grappling in the box, but the same rules apply to everyone and Mark Hughes’ protestations are now falling on deaf ears. With Wilfried Bony still off the pace, this ought to be an easy victory for Man Utd and we think the value lies in a comfortable two goal winning margin at 4.0.