Predicted XI: Stoke City vs Manchester United – Mata, Januzaj and Rooney start

Predicted XI: Stoke City vs Manchester United – Mata, Januzaj and Rooney start

David de Gea – De Gea will be hoping this can be the first time the Reds keep consecutive clean sheets since mid-December. The last occasion United did that was also against Stoke City.

Rafael – With Chris Smalling and Phil Jones tied up in other areas of the pitch, Rafael faces no competition for his right-back spot.

Chris Smalling – Smalling has arguably been United’s best performer in the last two games and will be looking to continue his good form against Stoke.

Jonny Evans – With Rio Ferdinand potentially still not match fit and Nemanja Vidic still suspended, Evans and Smalling is set to be the centre-back pairing yet again.

stoke-away-1-febPatrice Evra – Evra is set to make up the back five which will be seemingly unchanged from United’s last fixture.

Adnan Januzaj – Benched against Cardiff, Januzaj can expect to recalled for this fixture.

Phil Jones – With the continued injury to Michael Carrick and the return of Marouane Fellaini yet to materialise, it appears to be a case of Jones and one other in central midfield at the moment.

Darren Fletcher – With Ryan Giggs having played in midweek, it is between Fletcher and Tom Cleverley for a starting spot on Saturday, with Fletcher likely to get the call.

Ashley Young – A good performance topped off with a goal against Cardiff may mean Young keeps his starting place this weekend.

Juan Mata – It is likely the Spaniard will keep his place in the team after a decent showing on his debut against Cardiff. Perhaps he will interchange positionally with Januzaj and Young.

Wayne Rooney – After only appearing from the bench in midweek, Rooney is set to return to the starting XI on Saturday.

Formation: 4-4-1-1

After admitting he had to be careful with both Rooney and Van Persie’s fitness, David Moyes is likely to only start one against Stoke as they continue to make progress on their return’s from injury.

Cleverley, Welbeck, Van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, Hernandez and Valencia could easily make up the bench for United, with any one a possibility to be included in the starting line-up as well.

Carrick, Ferdinand and Nani remain injured, Vidic remains suspended and it would appear Fellaini will not be brought back into the matchday squad just yet.

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About The Author

Tom has a degree in Politics & Economics. He was previously sports editor of a student newspaper and is now working in the charity sector.