Stoke City v Man United: Premier League
New Year’s Day kick off sees Stoke City v Man United from the Britannia with the Reds gaining momentum in their title bid.
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Louis van Gaal’s men have remembered how to play on the road now going four unbeaten and have won five of their seven visits to the Potteries since 2008.
Stoke will assess Spanish forward Bojan, who was substituted against West Brom on Sunday with a slight hamstring problem and could again be without full-back Phil Bardsley, who has an ankle injury.
Manchester United will monitor wing-back Antonio Valencia, who was forced off against Tottenham with a minor groin problem whilst midfielder Ander Herrera may return from a muscle injury.
United trail leaders Chelsea by 10 points and and it will be interesting to see if any transfer business is done this month in their continued efforts to reduce that gap.
Their current defence will face a thorough examination at the Britannia Stadium as Arsenal found last month but a run of 23 points from a possible 27 has brought them much needed consistency.
David De Gea has been a rock during that run finally realising potential seen, but whom many questioned, by Sir Alex Ferguson two years ago.
- Manchester United have won six of their last seven games against Stoke City in all competitions.
- Their only defeat was a 2-1 loss at the Britannia Stadium last season.
- The Potters have not keep a clean sheet against the Red Devils since a 1-0 win in a top-flight match at the Victoria Ground on 2 March 1983.
- Victory would give Stoke three successive top-flight wins for the first time since last March.
- The Potters have kept consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since September 2013.
- They had conceded in each of their previous 11 Premier League runs prior to that run.
- Stoke midfielder Steven Nzonzi ran further than any other Premier League player in the first half of this season, covering 214.8 km (over 133 miles).
- The Red Devils have won just two of their last 11 away games in the top flight (D6, L3), although they are unbeaten in their last four (W2, D2).
- All five of Manchester United’s shots on target against Tottenham came in the opening 45 minutes.
- The last time United failed to score in back-to-back league games was in December 2013 against Everton and Newcastle.
- They have scored seven goals from outside the penalty area this season – the joint-highest figure in the top flight (along with Everton and West Ham).
Robin van Persie has scored ten goals in ten Premier League appearances against the Potters and the Dutchman is a forward in form, notching four times in his past five appearances for Man United.
He also netted on both of his prior Premier League journeys to the Britannia Stadium with the Red Devils and looks value at 2.74
Wayne Rooney has provided five goals and two assists in his last seven Premier League appearances and is just two goals shy of becoming the first player to hit double figures in 11 consecutive Premier League campaigns. Another who looks good value at 2.84
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