Early 12:45 kick off on New Year’s Day makes this match one to watch for many of fans with bleary eyes and a pounding headache from the night before.
Footballers being the athletes they are, we are unlikely to see any boozy hungover Brian Robson/George Best performances in this game, which will be taken very seriously by 3rd place Man Utd who are battling for a champions league spot and if Michael Carrick is to be believed also snatching the title from chelsea or city’s hands.
Stoke City have the home advantage at the Britannia Stadium with the potteries fans looking to get the new year off to a positive start after a decent run in December taking 3 wins and a draw and only losing to Premier league leaders Chelsea.
Man United had a lacklustre draw with Spurs a comedown from the emphatic 3/1 over Newcastle just days before. With fixtures tightly crammed in most players have barely had time to digest their turkey since Christmas day, which may explain a slight dip in performance against Spurs. PLus if it was not for a superb performance by keeper Hugh Lloris no doubt Man Utd would have taken the 3 points.
It’s not long since we last saw these two teams play at Old Trafford. Man United took the 3 points in that game and deservedly so, but stoke came close to grabbing a draw with a late chance cleared off the line.
If Herrara is back for Utd that will be a massive boost given the grueling December fixture schedule. The Potters may be without striker Bojan who has a hamstring issue from the west brom match.
Given the last fixture I expect to see a similar display, perhaps less energetic, so certainly an early goal for Stoke could give them a good chance of taking the game, if Man Utd repeat the poor second half display against Spurs again. Stoke can keep it tight at the back with clean sheets recently against Everton and West Brom. Man United have well known defensive issues, but still I think they can grab at least a goal or two.
Stoke will not make this easy for Man Utd and I think it will be a fairly ugly physical game, I fancy Man Utd to win by a goal with 2-1 being the likely result.
The following tips are all attractive
Both Teams to Score – 5/6
Man Utd to WIN – Evens
Correct Score 2/1 to Man Utd – 17/2