Stoke City will definitely contemplate a satisfactory result when they take on Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United home at the Bet365 stadium on Saturday, January the 21st. Mark Hughes side have come a long way from the bottom of the heap at the beginning of the EPL season to a respectable 9th spot at the present. Their veteran striker, the 36-year old Peter Crouch will be looking to get his 100th Premier League goal and looks quite likely to get it given that he has scored in each of the Potters’ last three outings. Although Stoke fought out a tough 1-1 draw when they last met the Red Devils at Old Trafford, their performance against top flight sides have been sheer disasters having conceded 4 goals in each of their defeats to Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea and that doesn’t include a 1-4 loss to relegation candidate, Crystal Palace. Although the Potters are on the mend, they are short on goals and are conceding a bit too many as their negative goal difference of minus 6 would suggest. The Potters’ top scorer, Joe Allen, has a tally of just 5 goals and folks like Marko Arnautovic, Peter Crouch, Bojan Krkic and Xherdan Shaqiri have only three goals apiece so far. Compare this to the season’s tally of 19 for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata’s 7.
Jose Mourinho seemed to have pulled himself and Manchester United from the brink after a humiliating 0-4 loss to Chelsea in October and not lost in any of their 12 fixtures since then. Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata have all been among goals and have combined fluidly with club talisman, Ibrahimovic, to get their side to a very respectable 40 points from their 21 games and just 2 points behind Manchester City. The match against Stoke presents the Red Devils a golden opportunity to close in on their city rivals.
Despite a rejuvenation of sorts, the Potters defence of Adam Johnson, Ryan Shawcross and Martins Indi will have do much more than usual to keep at bay a rampaging United forward line led by the avaricious Ibrahimovic. The record of last 6 Premier outings, though, show that the Potters haven’t exactly been outplayed by their more famous rivals. Stoke have won 2, lost 2 and drawn 2 of those. But if one were to take their current forms into consideration, few would give the hosts a chance at the Bet365 stadium on Saturday. Odds very much seem to suggest that.
Stoke’s last 20 HOME games have resulted in 7 wins, 5 draws and 8 losses. Contrast that to United’s last 20 AWAY games where the score card reads 10W-7D-3L.
Man United to Win, Best Odds 8/13 @ William Hill