|English Premier League 2014-15|
| Stoke City
||vs|| Manchester United
ScheduleThursday, 1 January 2015 at 11:19 GMT / 11:19 UK / 16:49 IST
VenueBritannia Stadium (Stoke-on-Trent)
Next Thursday, 1st of January 2015, Manchester United will travel to Staffordshire to measure forces with Stoke City at Britannia Stadium for round 20 of English Premier League, on what will be the first match of the new year and a clash of the utmost importance for the Red Devils, who need to win it in order to keep their closest contenders at bay.
After smashing Newcastle at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, Manchester United didn’t manage to overcome a well organized Tottenham team last Sunday. It was a very even match, with both teams seeking for the goal throughout the entire match, but all attacking intents crashed into the hands of two fantastic goalkeepers: David de Gea and Hugo Lloris. United looked stronger during the first-half, where they created several chances to score but both the woodwork and the French goalie prevented the visitors from gaining the lead. After the break, however, the Spurs appeared to be rejuvenated and enjoyed from several golden opportunities to clinch the three points but all of them were denied by the inspired Madrid born goalkeeper.
Manchester United failed to win two of their last three clashes and their upcoming travel to Britannia Stadium will certainly include plenty of difficulties. For that particular match, Louis Van Gaal will still not be able to rely on the services of Fellaini, Blind, Rojo and Januzaj, all of them still recovering from their respective injuries. There are also still some doubts regarding the physical condition of Di Maria and Valencia, who are also still recovering from minor injuries.
As for Stoke, the Potters are currently enjoying a very interesting moment at the Premier League with three wins and just one defeat (against the league leaders, Chelsea) in their last five matches. After defeating Everton at Goodison Park on Boxing Day, Mark Hughes’ boys overcame West Brom at home last Sunday, thus securing six important points in just two days' time and catching Liverpool on the 10th place of the league table.
The Potters are a quite complicated team when playing at home and they will certainly pose a very interesting test to Van Gaal’s rejuvenated United, who are on a nine-match row without a single defeat. The Red Devils are favourites for the clash but they will need to put up something very special in order to grant the three points against a fairly moralized Stoke City.
Stats: W-3 L-1 D-1
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Stats: W-3 L-0 D-2
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Stoke City (4-2-3-1) – Begovic - Cameron - Shawcross - Muniesa - Pieters - Whelan - N’Zonzi - Krkic - Arnautovic - Diouf - Crouch
Manchester United (3-5-2) – De Gea - Rafael - McNair - Evans - Jones - Shaw - Carrick - Mata - Rooney - Van Persie - Falcao