Manchester United Predicted XI vs Stoke City: Reds fresh from warm-weather training camp

Manchester United Predicted XI vs Stoke City: Reds fresh from warm-weather training camp

Manchester United look to build on from the promising victory in their previous Premier League game at Everton.

Shoaib Khan

Manchester United return to Old Trafford as they seek another three points against struggling Stoke City on Monday night.

José Mourinho's side comes into the game following a training camp in Dubai, where the Red Devils took advantage of a break in the fixture schedule to earn some warm-weather training.

Previous to this, United had overcome Derby County at home in the FA Cup, with their last Premier League game having occurred before that at Goodison Park where Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial got the goals in a 2-0 victory.

Stoke, on the other hand, have suffered conflicting form as 3 defeats in 5 Premier League games followed by a cup loss at the hands of Coventry City led to the sacking of manager Mark Hughes.

Team News

United could welcome right back Antonio Valencia to the side after the Ecuadorian was out of action due to a hamstring injury.

Although, Zlatan Ibrahimović remains unavailable with his hamstring problem, whereas club captain Michael Carrick is not deemed fit following his heart problem and Eric Bailly continues his recovery from an ankle injury. Ashley Young will also sit out the game as he serves the final game of his suspension for violent conduct.

Back-line to receive a boost?

David De Gea will, of course, wear the gloves for this one after Sergio Romero got a chance against Derby County last time out. As mentioned, Antonio Valencia is in line for a start at Old Trafford on Monday night after recovering from a hamstring injury. Valencia could take the captain's armband as well as the right-back slot.

In the centre of defence, Phil Jones looks likely to partner Chris Smalling to provide solidity in front of De Gea, ahead of Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof, and Daley Blind.

Luke Shaw has made a break into the team that has seen him gain a handful of starts to continue his development and he looks set to keep his place - at least until Ashley Young completes his suspension.

Return to a holding two?

Mourinho could deploy the regular partnership of Nemanja Matić and Paul Pogba as the two holding midfielders of the side.

Much has been discussed of how this system fails to get the best out of Pogba, who shone as the left-sided player in a midfield three away to Everton, claiming two assists and producing eye-catching skills. The Frenchman, who has captained the side in the absence of Valencia, has seven assists in 12 appearances during this Premier League campaign.

Matić, who had been brought in to free up Pogba's defensive duties, could have benefitted from the training camp in Dubai more than others after showing signs of fatigue in recent games.









Lingard to continue his magical form?

In front of Matić and Pogba, Jesse Lingard is odds-on to play behind the main striker where he has proven to be a different player since early December. The number 14 has sent shocks to the United faithful with his dramatic turn in form that has seen him score eight times in 10 games, some of which can only be described as 'screamers'.

Either side of the Englishman, Juan Mata will likely be in as the right-sided forward. The Spaniard has been in-and-out of the side in a season where he has registered three goals and as many assists in the league. Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have been rotated often by the boss this season, and this game looks one set for Rashford who needs a confidence boost after a dip in form.

To finish off, Romelu Lukaku is to be the man trusted to get the goals as the number 9 on the side. The Belgian hasn't scored in the league since visiting West Brom on the 17th December, but his goalscoring reputation means that he'll remain Mourinho's man for the foreseeable future.

Predicted XI: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Shaw; Pogba, Matic; Mata, Lingard, Rashford; Lukaku.