PREMIER LEAGUE analyst Daniel McCulloch (@danmcc84) takes a look at Monday night's match-up between Manchester United v Stoke.
Manchester United v Stoke | Monday 15th January 2018, 20:00 | Sky Sports
Given Manchester United have gained 26 points at home this season and Stoke have managed just six on their travels, it is hard to make a case for the Potters on Monday evening.
In truth, were United up against stronger opposition, I would probably look to oppose them as I believe they have gained far more points than performances have merited for quite some time now.
For example, they have five single-goal victories to their credit this term but they only had more shots (both on and off target) in one of those matches. Indeed, David De Gea has 73 saves to his credit, 19 more than any other other goalkeeper for a top-six side and his displays – most notably against Arsenal – are the key reason United currently find themselves as high as second.
Unfortunately, as I alluded to at the start of this piece, it is impossible to make a case for Stoke. A run of one victory in eight games is obviously concerning but it is their level of performances that would really concern me if I was a Stoke fan.
They can’t really blame bad luck as they were outplayed in the vast majority of those games and they cannot blame a tough run of fixtures as opponents in that run include Burnley, West Ham, West Brom, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Coventry!
The Potters have conceded a league-high 47 goals and average just one goal a game themselves so it really is tough to make a case for them at Old Trafford tonight. I do, however, struggle to see United scoring a hatful.
Caretaker manager Eddie Niedzwiecki will surely try to go back to basics in his sole game in charge and I see this as a bit of damage limitation exercise for the visitors.
United have failed to score more than two goals in their last seven home games and given that I struggle to see Stoke breaching their backline, I like the look of BetVictor’s 11/10 on a United win and Under 3.5 Goals.
Another bet I like the look of is Jesse Lingaard in the Anytime goalscorer market. The United youngster has scored five goals in his last six games and will fancy his chances against a porous Stoke rearguard.
Marathon price this as 6/4, which is very generous given that the majority of bookies are only offering 5/4.