Manchester United continued their winning run with a fine 3-0 victory over Hull City on Saturday and apart from the positive result, the solid performance would most certainly have pleased the Red Devils’ faithful.
United dominated the proceedings from start to finish and although Hull City did not help themselves by approaching the game in a submissive fashion, credit has to be given to Louis van Gaal’s men for taking the game by the scruff of the neck.
United enjoyed a comfortable evening against Hull
With matches coming in thick and fast ahead of Christmas, United cannot afford to rest on their laurels for too long though and will now have to prepare themselves for a tough battle against Stoke City at home on Tuesday night.
Stoke may not be enjoying the best of runs at the moment but they are a difficult side to play against and as evidenced by their away victories over Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur this season, United will need to maintain high levels of performance against the Potters.
Here is the Strongest Possible Lineup for Manchester United on the day –
De Gea had little to do against Hull
David De Gea was a virtual spectator against Hull City on Saturday and the Spaniard hardly had a difficult save to make all afternoon.
After saving United on so many occasions this season, De Gea would have appreciated the defenders in front of him putting in a solid performance for a change.
Now with Stoke City coming to town though, De Gea will most certainly have to do more work than he did against Hull. The Potters can mix up style with strength and De Gea will have to be ready for a physical battle on the night.
Chris Smalling will be looking to continue his fine form
Louis van Gaal is certainly a tactically astute manager and he managed to fool everyone by the system he adopted on Saturday against Hull.
When the team sheets were out, everyone was anticipating United to play a 5-3-2 formation but as it turned out – the Red Devils lined up in a flat back four. Therefore, it will be interesting to see which formation van Gaal decides to adopt for the clash against Stoke City this weekend.
Van Gaal will most probably stick to four at the back, meaning Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling will most likely be the two players at the heart of the defence while the duo of Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia look set continue to in the full back positions.
That said, Jonny Evans and Rafael are nearing full fitness and could be in contention as well. The young duo of Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair will also be hopeful for starts.
Van Gaal has confirmed that star man Angel Di Maria is set to sit out the clash due to a hamstring injury and the Argentine international will certainly be a huge miss for the Red Devils.
Ander Herrera replaced Di Maria during the clash against Hull City and given his impressive performance, the Spaniard should start against Stoke City as well.
Herrera set to deputize for Angel Di Maria
Juan Mata also looked dangerous last time out and van Gaal will probably reward the playmaker with another start. Adnan Januzaj always remains an option for van Gaal and the young man will be in contention if the United manager elects to change things around.
In the centre of the park, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick have been impressive and should continue their partnership in the absence of the injured Daley Blind. Anderson and Jesse Lingard remain out with injuries.
van Persie managed to hit back at his critics with a fine goal
Robin van Persie managed to hit back at his critics by scoring a wonderful goal against Hull last time out and the Dutchman will now be hoping to get started on a good run of form. His strike partner, Wayne Rooney, is in great nick as well and will be looking to continue his fine goalscoring streak on Tuesday night.
The duo of Rooney and van Persie look a potent threat and they will most certainly cause the Stoke backline a few problems on the night.
Radamel Falcao also looked sharp when he came off the bench for the final 20 minutes of the game against Hull and it would not be a surprise if the Colombian superstar is handed a start, given the fixture congestion in the upcoming weeks.
Via – Lineup Builder