Manchester United have failed to win at the Britannia Stadium during the post-Fergie era, losing twice and drawing once in recent years against Mark Hughes’ men.
Jose Mourinho will know that, following a 1-1 draw with Liverpool last time out, a win at Stoke City is paramount for a side still five points behind second-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
With that in mind, here is a potential XI for the game against Stoke with Luke Shaw returning to the starting XI for the first time since late November.
Shaw has been the subject of conflicting stories in recent weeks, with some reports suggesting that Mourinho – frustrated with the youngster’s attitude and lack of progression this season – has expressed a desire to offload Shaw in the summer; other reports have claimed that the Englishman, happy with life at Old Trafford according to his agent, will make a return against Stoke.
Either way, one suspects that Shaw’s influence on the left hand side, especially in what promises to be a furiously paced, physical encounter, would dramatically eclipse what Matteo Darmian – a solid but ultimately uninspiring force at left-back – has offered in recent weeks.