Louis van Gaal looks to be heading into early retirement unless there is a sudden and significant improvement from the 13 time Premier League champions. They’ve not won in six games in all competitions, including back-to-back defeats against promoted opposition and the entertainment is arguably the only thing worse than the results. United did win on Boxing Day last year but they failed to win any of their three following matches and a similar sequence would surely spell the end for the Dutchman.
Defeat for United would signal their lowest 18-game points total in any Premier League season, while a draw would match the previous low. It’s hard to make a good case for them doing better than that though. They’ve won just 10 of their 28 away games since the start of last season and have failed to win here in either of the past two campaigns.
Stoke probably deserved a point against Palace last weekend but, despite that loss, their form is decent as they’ve won half their last 12 matches while being beaten just three times and keeping seven clean sheets. Furthermore, this is exactly the sort of match they excel in, with Man City and Chelsea already sent packing this season, and they’ve won half their 22 home matches against top-half teams since 2013/14 while being beaten just five times.
United have won just four of their last 15 trips to middle-third teams, though they have picked up seven draws, as they’ve suffered from a chronic lack of goals. The Red Devils only finished in the top four last season courtesy of several inspired performances by David de Gea and even the keeper seems to have lost a bit of form and confidence recently. Overall, Stoke look more than a match for this United team and are a great price on the Draw No Bet at 2.25.
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The away side’s lack of goals makes it very hard to see them winning and given how solid Stoke have been at the back in their past 10 games under-goals has to be an option. Nine of the Potters last 10 matches have had fewer than three goals and six have had fewer than two. However, their matches against top-half teams tend to see more goals and at some point there has to be the temptation for Van Gaal to remove the shackles – though such is his belief in his ‘philosophy’ it would be surprising to see – and the ‘unders’ price is a bit too short to get interested in.
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