Stoke vs Manchester United: 3 Key Battles
The Red Devils travel to Stoke on New Years Day hoping to extend their unbeaten run to 10 games. While Stoke on the other hand, will be looking to add United as another scalp in what has been an oddly confusing season for the Potters. With both squads, depleted by injury, neither manager will have the players to effectively rotate the squad. While that might reduce the quality of the game, the longer the game wears on, given the attacking quality on the pitch, there certainly promises to be a few goals in what is the first game of 2015. Here are the three key battles that will decide the outcome of the game.
1. Ryan Shawcross vs Radamel Falcao
In the absence of the suspended Robin Van Persie, Radamel Falcao looks set to lead the line against arguably the most physical side in the League. The Colombian striker struggled to deal with the physicality in the game against Tottenham and was often beaten in the air by the center backs. Although fully fit, the 28-year-old is still struggling to get back to the form he showed for Porto and Atletico Madrid.
When it comes to the League’s centre backs, they don’t come much more Physical than Shawcross. The Englishman, who has been linked with a move back to Old Trafford will be keen to show Louis Van Gaal that he is ready to make the step and dominate the Colombian striker, who still only has two goals to his name at United. If he can do that and clear the crosses that come in for Falcao, then the hosts have a good chance of getting something from the game.