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Stoke City vs Manchester United – Match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

Jake Jackman

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Stoke

Manchester United will look to extend their perfect start to the season this weekend as they travel to Stoke City. It will be an interesting contest as the Potters showed they could compete with the best a couple of weeks ago, as they took three points off Arsenal. Although United are in a better place than the Gunners right now, it will give Mark Hughes confidence that he can pick up a positive result this weekend.

The Potters are expected to finish in mid-table again this season and they have started well with two positive results. Hughes may not have progressed the team as much as he would have liked in recent years, but they remain an accomplished Premier League outfit. It will be difficult for them this weekend, but they have nothing to lose and that can be when they are at their most dangerous.

After a great start to the season, Manchester United have already emerged as one of the favourites for the title. They added quality to their ranks during the summer and have a manager that knows how to win major honours. It is too soon to get carried away, but the excitement is beginning to build around Old Trafford once again.

Recent form

Stoke City have taken four points from their first three matches. They have conceded only two goals and that underlines their impressive organisation at the back. Their attack needs to improve, but there is no criticising their defence.

Mourinho’s side have starting the season in tremendous form, as they have won all three of their games at a canter. They have scored ten goals and have yet to concede, which means their goal difference already stands at +10.

Predicted line-ups

Saidi Berahino could come back into the side if Eric Choupo-Moting doesn’t make it back in time to start. Kevin Wimmer will be waiting in the wings to see if Kurt Zouma is passed fit.

Manchester United are unlikely to make many changes to the team that beat Leicester City. Marcus Rashford came off the bench to score in that game and he could return to the starting eleven in place of Anthony Martial.

Team news

Kurt Zouma, Darren Fletcher, Mame Biram Diouf and Eric Choupo-Moting are all doubts for this weekend with various knocks. Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland will be missing through injury.

Ashley Young and Luke Shaw are both struggling to be fully fit for this weekend’s trip to the Bet365 Stadium. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo remain long-term injury concerns.

Score prediction: Stoke City 0-3 Manchester United

Stoke City have shown that they are tough to break down and they will be difficult for Manchester United to beat this weekend. However, the visitors have been incredible during the opening weeks of the season. They should have more than enough to take the three points and they could score a few goals in the process. Initially, it will be a tight contest, but once the first United goal goes in, a couple more could follow.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Liverpool

Liverpool missing out on Yerry Mina looks a mistake after World Cup showing

Liverpool had been linked with a loan move for Mina but he looks set for Real Betis.

Mathew Nash

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Earlier this summer Liverpool were linked with the loan move of Barcelona defender Yerry Mina. Back in May, it seemed as though he was definitely Anfield bound. As reported by talkSPORT, a TV presenter in Spain had suggested his loan move to Liverpool for the season was done.

That, of course, did not prove to be the case. Now, it is suggested the Liverpool target is going elsewhere. The Colombian is, according to reports, off to Real Betis. As reported by El Desmarque, the La Liga side are on the cusp of completing a loan deal for the player which will include an option to buy at the end of the season.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Based on the evidence of last night at the World Cup, Liverpool are definitely missing out.

Mina, who cost Barca £10.5 million in January, put in a fantastic display for Colombia against Poland in Russia yesterday. Brought in to replace Valencia’s Jeison Murillo the youngster formed a fantastic partnership with Tottenham Hotspur youngster Davinson Sanchez at the heart of defence for Colombia.

Fast, strong and imposing in the air the 23-year-old looked every inch the Premier League defender.

He even found his way onto the scoresheet. He excellently nodded home James Rodriguez’s beautiful lofted cross to give Colombia the lead.

What Liverpool fans saw was the perfect option to provide a challenge to Dejan Lovren for the partnership with Virgil van Dijk. Unfortunately, it seems he will be heading elsewhere.

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Chelsea

Chelsea face Alvaro Morata decision amid Borussia Dortmund interest

The Spaniard could be set to leave the Blues after just one season.

Jake Jackman

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Morata
Photo: Getty Images

Chelsea have a summer of restructuring ahead of them, but the progress has been slow to date.

Antonio Conte remains in the manager’s hotseat, despite plenty of rumours to suggest that he is unlikely to be in the dugout for the first game of the 2018/19 season.

The Blues won’t be in the Champions League for the second time in three years and that is likely to affect their transfer business in a negative way.

They will realise the importance of selling players in order to bring in the funds required to strengthen.

Talksport and the Daily Mail both cite reports originating from Bild suggesting that Borussia Dortmund are interested in signing Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata.

The German club are believed to have made the Spaniard a top priority as they try to add a top-tier striker to their ranks.

(Photo by Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)

Last season, they loaned Michy Batshuayi from Stamford Bridge and the Belgian striker did very well for the club, but they have now switched their attention to his team-mate.

Morata endured an off first season in the Premier League, facing a lot of criticism for his performances, despite finishing the campaign with a decent return in front of goal.

His contribution of 11 goals and six assists in the Premier League isn’t bad, but Chelsea expected more from a striker that they spent big on last summer.

It was hoped that he would play a similar role to Diego Costa, but he lacked his international team-mate’s aggression in the final third.

It can be argued that he was a more selfless striker and he often chose to bring his team-mates into the game at every opportunity, but the lack of a regular supply of goals did hurt Chelsea.

They became over-reliant on Eden Hazard and Willian. Meanwhile, the tactical set-up of Antonio Conte was a lot less effective without a top-tier striker.

There will be many at Chelsea that remain behind Morata and will be willing to give him time, but if the interest from Dortmund is genuine, it may be too good to turn down.

Although they aren’t in the Champions League, the Blues remain one of the biggest clubs in Europe and they will have the pulling power to attract a top striker.

At this time, their Spanish number nine has maintained his value in the transfer market, but another average season may see that plummet.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The problem at Chelsea right now is that their future direction both in the boardroom and in the dugout are unclear.

This period of uncertainty is hurting the club as they are unable to make decisions on members of the current squad and potential transfer targets.

Antonio Conte will have different ideas than a potential successor and until a clear decision is made on the manager, no moves can be made in the transfer market.

His first season in England will have been a disappointment for Morata and he will be eager to prove that he remains one of the best strikers in the world.

A player doesn’t have Real Madrid, Juventus and Chelsea on their CV without having a lot of talent.

At the age of 25, he still has his best years ahead of him and it might be worth keeping him in the hope that there is an improvement.

However, the Blues need to return to the Champions League next season and their current number nine may not be up to the task of delivering that.

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Liverpool

Fans still divided on Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson despite excellent England showing

Jordan Henderson was excellent for England again but the Liverpool man struggles to win over fans.

Mathew Nash

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There are always players among the England national team that seem to divide opinion. Right now, Jordan Henderson appears to be that player. The Liverpool captain is continuously criticised for his performances by fans of both England and Liverpool.

The main criticism is that Henderson is too negative. He is always looking to play the ball backwards or sideways and never forward. Henderson is limited in ability, negative in style and a waste of a shirt number. That is often the criticism.

Others completely disagree. Henderson is the pendulum of the Liverpool and England team. He sets a tempo from midfield and is always available as an out ball. He does play forward passes, often in behind defences to test them and move territory into the opposition third.

These are the fans who believe Henderson has come on leaps and bounds under Jurgen Klopp’s tutelage at Liverpool.

(Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Based on his form so far at the World Cup, those people are right. Henderson was brilliant against Tunisia in the opening game. He was even better today, as England swept aside Panama 6-1.

Henderson put in a fantastic display for 90 minutes, covering more ground than any other player in sizzling heat. He was often positive in his passing and showed his natural leadership qualities, even if Harry Kane wears the armband.

But once again, fans are divided. It seems Henderson may always be ‘that’ player for England. The easy one to blame, the scapegoat.

Unless he can carry on his excellent form and bring ‘it’ home. Then fans will have to love the Liverpool star…

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