Three ways Stoke can give Manchester United a day to forget

Saturday afternoon sees Manchester United face a challenge – a challenge so infamous it has become a folk tale in its own right. A wintery trip to Stoke City is iconic in its difficulty, even if their on-pitch style has changed markedly. The Bet365 Stadium will be windy, looking out across the Potteries, and the crowd will be as partisan as ever.

Stoke are now one of the Premier League’s most inconsistent teams. Almost impossible to predict from one week to the next, that in itself presents another challenge for Manchester United. Jose Mourinho’s team were far from their best against Liverpool last weekend, but were good enough to maintain an unbeaten streak that has seen them close the gap on Manchester City to just two points.

The pressure is on for the Red Devils. A top four finish was considered the bare minimum at the start of this campaign and they must win games like this if they are to achieve that goal. Stoke, meanwhile, can play with the freedom of a side under no pressure at all…