Manchester United

V

Old Trafford

15/01/2018 | 8:00 pm

Stoke

V

Old Trafford

15/01/2018 | 8:00 pm

In a sentence: Monday night football sees Manchester United host a managerless Stoke City, looking to continue their winning start to 2018.

Last time: Back in August, Stoke held United to a 2-2 draw at the bet365 Stadium, with a brace from Eric Choupo-Moting flanking goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.

This time: United are overwhelming favourites to win at 1/5, with a 5/1 reverse for a draw, and Stoke just 14/1.

You might remember: Stoke’s 2-1 win over United in February 2014, their first victory against the Red Devils for 30 years. Charlie Adam scored twice, his second goal a stunning 25-yard effort, either side of one from Robin Van Persie.

Team News

Betting Tips & Predictions

Romelu Lukaku got back on the score sheet in Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Derby County

Manchester United have struggled against Stoke in recent years, with the two sides picking up an equal number of points in the last six clashes, with four draws and a win apiece. However, given the gulf in form of the two sides, Jose Mourinho will go into Monday’s match considering anything less than a win a failure.

United are 1/5 to win against Stoke, and have home advantage, recent form and Stoke’s recent firing of Mark Hughes all working in their favour. The Red Devils were far from at their best in December, with consecutive draws against Leicester, Burnley and Southampton. However, a win against Everton, followed by a comfortable victory in the FA Cup will have gone a long way to rebuild confidence.

Stoke a paltry 14/1 to take the three points at Old Trafford, with the Potters sitting in the relegation zone and having recently lost to Coventry in the cup. However, the brief regenerative powers of firing a manager should see the Stoke players approach Monday’s match with far more positivity than they would have done a week ago.

A draw is 5/1 which would certainly be considered a good result for Niedzwiecki, and yet not an unrealistic opportunity. With Ibrahimovic out injured, the goalscoring responsibility is once again resting on Lukaku, who struggled with the burden earlier in the season. Stoke’s freshly fit, and particularly physical back-line with not give the Belgian an easy time, and may play for a 0-0 stalemate

Regardless, Lukaku is 7/10 to score anytime, having overcome a spell of four games without scoring against Derby, contributing a goal and an assist. In a game that is likely to see the Stoke goal under siege, the forward will make a nuisance of himself in the box, and look to get on the end of every cross.

Eric Choupo-Moting is 24/5 to find the mark against United, having already scored twice against them this season. Stoke’s best chance of taking a result on Monday will be hitting the opposition of the break, with Mourinho likely to field only Nemanja Matic in front of the defence. Against the Serbian, Chupo-Moting’s pace is likely to be a useful weapon.

Match Summary

1

Look out for:

A Kurt Zouma master-class. The Chelsea loanee suffered a career threatening injury against United three seasons ago, but didn’t let it prevent him putting in one of his best Premier League performances against Mourinho’s side earlier this season.  The centre-back is 12/1 to help his side achieve a clean sheet on Monday.

2

We fancy:

United to win and Paul Pogba to score at 5/1. Stoke will defend deep and the French midfielder’s combination of long-range shots and bursts into the box will make him vital in cracking the lock.

3

It’s a long shot, but:

Stoke to win thanks to a Choupo-Moting goal is 20-1. A resolute defensive performance and a quick counter-attack could well see the downfall of United.

Written by Greg Murray

Greg Murray focused on watching football rather than playing it after realising he wasn’t going to be the next Gianfranco Zola. Writing prolifically on Italian football while keeping an eye on the game around the world, Greg has also turned his pen to the aviation industry and the betting market.