After a disappointing 0-1 defeat at the hands of the Saints at Old Trafford, Manchester United FC are looking to bounce back in the Premier league after a refreshing 3-1 win in the FA Cup against Derby County FC.

Manchester United FC currently have 10 points between them and the league leaders Leicester City FC, and are also one-spot behind Tottenham Hotspurs FC, who sit at the 4th position in the league with a 5-point-lead over the Red Devils and 15 games to go.

The club is looking to improve on their recent run of poor performances and bag a win over the Potters, who disappointed them with a 2-0 defeat the last time the two Premier League sides met at the Britannia Stadium.

If this turns out in favour of the Old Trafford side, they will be recording their third win since November 2015.

Louis Van Gaal VS Mark Hughes

A former United great, Mark Hughes, makes his way back to Old Trafford after helping his side put the English giants to bed in a 2-0 victory at the Britannia stadium.
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Both the bosses have come face to face thrice until now in the Premier League and have each won one match and drawn one.

Louis Van Gaal will be looking to impress the fans as much as his employers

“We want attacking football', says David Gill.

“We want attacking football’, says David Gill.

A rather poor and inconsistent run of performances in the Premier League, Champions Cup and the Capital One cup has seen Manchester United FC’s current boss’ life made miserable, mostly by the fans and football pundits.

With 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss, in all competitions, the club seems to be regaining its confidence and aura. But it still remains to be seen whether or not Louis Van Gaal is able to steal the thunder from his critics, including various Ex-Manchester United players and football pundits, or does he face a sack at the end of the season.

“I hope that we can give the same level of performance as against Derby, Stoke City are a team that every club has a lot of difficulties with. I saw them play against Liverpool and thought they were very good – they deserved to go through. I have to say that I like how Stoke play, very much,” Louis Van Gaal said in a post-match press conference.

Mark Hughes eyes European Cup football next season

Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore

Although the Potters might look weak at the 9th position on the Premier League, they’re merely trailing by 4 points to Manchester United FC at 5th and a win can prove crucial to increase their chances to fight for European Cup glory next season.

Mark Hughes, who seems to be in a habit of keeping in touch with his former club — Manchester United FC — be it in the form of managing their arch rivals Manchester City for a short duration during 2008-2009, means business as he heads back to the Theater of Dreams with formed-United players, Ryan Shawcross, Phil Bardsley and Mame Biram Diouf.

With the added talents of Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic, Stoke City FC will be looking to repeat the 2-0 victory they enjoyed at their home ground.

Key Battles

Wayne Rooney/Anthony Martial VS Jack Butland

Manchester United vs Swansea City

Manchester United FC captain Wayne Rooney will be looking to extend his run of good form and convert more chances at Old Trafford as the 30-year-old striker looks forward to becoming the highest goal scorer in the club’s history as he stand at 243 goals, only 6 short of Sir Bobby Charlton’s long-standing record of 249 goals.

Anthony Martial’s pace and agility on the wings and the brilliant passes are a threat to the Potters’ defense, usually led by captain Ryan Shawcross, who might not be available following a back injury, and can be crucial to the Red’s landing a goal.

Marko Arnautovic/Bojan Krkic/Xherdan Shaqiri VS David De Gea

Stoke City v Chelsea

The Austrian forward Marko Arnautovic and the La Masia product Bojan Krkic have been crucial to the Potters’ Premier League season so, contributing a total of 12 goals, and are going to be an imminent threat to a troubled defence line at Old Trafford, mostly held together by David Dea Gea, their saving grace and hero for the past two seasons.

Although Shaqiri hasn’t been as phenomenal in front of goal as his transfer tag of £15 million suggests he should’ve, he nonetheless adds pace to Stoke City FC’s attack.

Manchester United FC

Strengths

Manchester United FC have been boosted by the return of their long-term midfield maestro Michael Carrick, who had been sidelined by injuries for a month.

Wayne Rooney has been in great form as he has found the back of the net in his last seven games in all competitions.

Weaknesses

The Reds have a faltering defence line, which although has been strengthened by the form Chris Smalling has shown, but largely is marred by injuries of Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian and is supported by youth players — Borthwick-Jackson being the most noticeable name along with Varela.

Manchester United FC side lack pace, especially in their counter-attacks and if not for Rooney in form, they lack the finish in front of goal too.

Stoke City FC

Strength

Bojan Krkic, summer signing Xherdan Shaqiri and pacy Marko Arnautovic all are feathers in the cap of the Potters as they look to net past a goal or two through the distraught United defence

Weakness

Stoke City FC faced a major setback with the injury of Ryan Shawcross, who reportedly won’t be playing in the match, which can cause the defence line to weaken.
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