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Preview – Manchester United v Stoke City

Preview – Manchester United v Stoke City

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Mark Hughes returns to Manchester United on Sunday looking for an unlikely first win of the season for his Stoke City side.

The Potters have finished in a safe mid-table spot in each of the last eight seasons following their promotion from the Championship in the 2007/08 campaign, but look as though they could become embroiled in a relegation dogfight this term.

They have looked unusually porous at the back and will do well to bounce back after they conceded a stoppage-time equaliser in last weekend’s 1-1 draw against West Brom, now managed by former Stoke boss Tony Pulis.

Hughes, who scored 83 goals in 256 league games for United during his time at Old Trafford between 1988 and 1995, will be without Jakob Haugaard (ankle), Jack Butland (ankle), Stephen Ireland (broken leg) and Ibrahim Afellay (cruciate knee ligaments) for Sunday’s encounter.

Jon Walters could return from an ankle injury but Joe Allen is a doubt after complaining of tight hamstrings after the draw with the Baggies.

Jose Mourinho’s side brought a three-game losing run to an end in style last weekend when they thrashed Leicester City, scoring four goals in a one-sided first half.

They did so without Wayne Rooney who was dropped to the substitutes’ bench and the former Everton striker may miss out again, while Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are available after recovering from illness and a thigh injury respectively.

Phil Jones (cruciate knee ligaments) is the only definite absentee while Anthony Martial is in contention to start after impressing when coming on as a substitute on Thursday in the Europa League victory against Zorya Luhansk.

Without Rooney, Juan Mata, 49/20 to score at any time on Sunday, and Paul Pogba produced their best displays of the season against Leicester while Ander Herrera was outstanding at the base of the United midfield.

Mourinho has struggled to find his best team in the first few weeks of the season but he could do worse than to name the same 11 players that began the game against the Foxes.

A comprehensive 3-0 victory for United can be backed at 31/4, while a 1-0 win for Hughes’ side is available at 18/1 and a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford is 35/4.

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Gareth Freeman Gareth is our daily tipster, who has years of successful sports betting behind him and is always on hand to offer a value bet. As well as a passion for Football (UK and European), he also has in-depth Tennis, Boxing, Snooker and Basketball knowledge.