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Football News: Premier League Match Preview Monday 15th January 2018

Premier League Match Preview Monday 15th January 2018
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Monday 15th January 2018


Manchester United v Stoke City 8pm kick off


Martial (knock) late fitness test
Ibrahimovic (knee injury expected return 21st February) out
Valencia (hamstring injury) doubt
Bailly (ankle injury expected return 3rd February) out
Carrick (heart condition expected return 31st January) out

Man Utd have been on an unbeaten run recently but those 6 matches have seen half of them drawn, which has allowed local rivals City to pull a big lead on them. In any normal season, 47 points would have them right in the title mix, so it is not as bad as it may seem, however all of those draws could, probably should, have been wins. With Chelsea and now Liverpool breathing down their neck, even second place is under threat, which is why Jose Mourinho will be so keen to see the company chequebook in action during the January window. Not just to close the gap on leaders Man City, but to keep ahead of the chasing pack.
Most important player: Jesse Lingard. It is not just that he scores important goals, it is the runs he makes that make him so important. Added to his workrate, he is a key piece to the way United play and is everything the fans thought they were getting when they signed Mkhitaryan.


Pieters (tight hamstring) slight doubt
Shawcross (calf strain) late fitness test
Johnson (knee injury) out
Martins Indi (groin strain) slight doubt
Jese (match fitness) doubt


Finally Stoke can look forward to the future following the removal of Mark Hughes, who has been nothing but a millstone around the club's neck over the last few years. Poor recruitment, poor tactics and poor management has left the club in a complete mess and now they are struggling to attract a manager. The club are still caught between two stools, one foot in the Pulis era, while the other foot is trying to stretch out and reach towards a Guardiola-style but ending up getting dragged back to Pulis. The next manager will need to be brave to take this team on, especially with the January window fast coming to an end and little to no chance of recruiting the players needed. It is little wonder Quique Sanchez Flores had no interest in the role. This is a scenario we have seen played out so many times before, Sunderland last year and Aston Villa the year before spring to mind, a club going backward for years and the board not having a clue what to do about it.
Most important player: Jack Butland. It is important he stays fit, for once, as the constant chopping and changing of keepers is not helping their cause, though Lee Grant is a very able deputy.


Defining Battle: this would require pure guesswork to know! The first match under a caretaker manager for the Potters, will he make any changes or just look to stability and hope that the usual uplift of form that accompanies a caretaker-manager taking the role does the work for him? The Red Devils will want to pick up a goal or two early, then they can just sit back and pick them off at will, as happened so often early in the season.



Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 3-0
Ed003 - 1-0
Ed004 - 3-1
Ed007 - 2-0
Ed018 - 0-0
Ed025 - 2-0
Ed033 - 2-0


Editor's Predictions Table
1= Ed002 - 137 points
1= Ed025 - 137 points
3. Ed033 - 136 points
4= Ed003 - 135 points
4= Ed004 - 135 points
6. Ed018 - 133 points
7. Ed007 - 121 points


*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 11th January 2018 (not including results for that day)

Written by Tris Burke January 15 2018 05:36:07