Predicted Manchester United XI to play Stoke City - Mata, Rooney and RVP to start?

Stoke City Britannia Stadium

Match to be played on Saturday 1st February 2014 at 15:00. Venue: Britannia Stadium, Stoke.

Manchester United will be looking to back up a good win against Cardiff City when they take on a difficult challenge against Stoke City.

A win for David Moyes’ men would put them within touching distance of the top four, which would allow them to consolidate and strongly push for Champions League football over the second half of the season.

Here’s the side Moyes could select for the game.

GK – David De Gea

De Gea will continue in goal until he makes a series of glaring errors, which looks unlikely as he’s been very consistent this season.

RB – Rafael

Rafael will continue on the right side of defence. Defensively he needs to have a very solid game but he can also be useful, cantering forward when United get the chance to release pressure.

CB – Chris Smalling

Smalling looks more settled in central defence than he does at right-back. He’s physical and has good presence so should be able to cope with Stoke’s aerial threat.

CB – Jonny Evans

Evans has been inconsistent at times this season but this is a chance for him to get stuck in and show that he’s arguably, the best central defender at the club.

LB – Patrice Evra

Evra will stay on the left, injecting that experience into the back four which is very important. He’ll get forward to provide extra width when he can but will look to shut out Stoke’s threat on his side.

RM – Antonio Valencia

Valencia will work hard throughout the game. He’ll use his pace to get forward on the counter and his experience of playing at right-back means he can drop in if Rafael gets caught out of position.

DM – Phil Jones

Jones played well against Cardiff, sitting and protecting the back four. He looks for the danger coming from central midfield and can also drop in as an extra centre back if United struggle aerially.

CM – Juan Mata

Unfortunately, it’s a big ask for Ryan Giggs to play two games so close together these days because of his age. Juan Mata is more than capable of settling into central midfield and pulling the strings.

LM – Adnan Januzaj

Harsh on Ashley Young after his goal against Cardiff but a decision Moyes could well make. If he feels he needs extra responsibility down that left hand side then Young may keep Januzaj out of the side.

ST – Wayne Rooney

Rooney got some valuable minutes under his belt against Cardiff and he should start in behind the main striker. Expect him to drop off into midfield to provide assistance to Mata and Jones if United are under pressure.

ST – Robin Van Persie

Van Persie grabbed a goal against Cardiff so it’s important for him to stay in the team. The Dutchman needs to build some momentum heading into an important part of the season for the club.

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