Only time will tell whether Rooney’s exclusion from the starting XI and Man United’s 4-1 thrashing of the Champions was a coincidence or not. We think the latter as they certainly looked more threatening with Herrera sitting deep and Pogba pushing on with Mata in the hole and Rashford playing further up the pitch with Ibra.
Set-piece defending let Stoke down yet again on Saturday as they conceded a last-minute equaliser against West Brom to deny Mark Hughes his first win of the season. The stamp-down on pushing and pulling in the penalty area has really hindered the Potters as they’ve now conceded 15 goals in their opening six games. Leicester are another side to be most affected by the rule change and they conceded three goals from corners at Old Trafford last weekend, so with this in mind we’ll have a small wager on United’s most aerially threatening defender, Chris Smalling, to find the net.
The Red Devils may have lost the Manchester derby but they dismissed Leicester and Southampton in their other two games at Old Trafford and those two sides are playing much better than Stoke currently. Furthermore, the visitors have lost 14 of 18 trips to top-six teams during Hughes’ reign and they’ve shown little to suggest they’ll improve on that. 11 of the defeats have been to nil and given Stoke have scored just four times this term, with Wilfred Bony yet to start firing, it could be another tough day in the office for Sparky at his former club.