Stoke City welcome Manchester United to the Britannia Stadium on New Year’s Day with both sides hoping to get 2015 off to the best possible start.
United are undefeated in their last nine matches, winning seven and drawing two, while Stoke are seeking their third straight win having defeated Everton and West Bromwich Albion in recent days.
Stoke have Mame Biram Diouf in fine form – a player United know well from his time at Old Trafford – while Louis van Gaal must decide whether to pick the same starting XI for the third game running.
United flagged in the second half against Tottenham Hotspur and both sides are likely to make changes for Thursday’s early kick-off.
Stoke injury concerns: Steve Sidwell is expected back for this match following a knee injury. Stephen Ireland has a 50 per cent chance of playing and Bojan Krkic is expected to recover from a hamstring problem. Phil Bardlsley is a doubt against his former club.
Stoke absences: Victor Moses is out until the end of January while Peter Odemwingie is also side-lined through injury.
United injury concerns: Adnan Januzaj will be hoping to overcome the illness that has kept him out of the festive fixtures while Daley Blind may still be lacking match fitness following his return to training. Angel Di Maria has a pelvic injury and Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia are looking to overcome ankle and groin problems respectively.
United absences: Marcos Rojo is likely to return to action early next month…but not quite that early.
Predicted starting line-ups:
Stoke – Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Muniesa, Pieters, N’Zonzi, Whelan, Arnautovic, Walters, Diouf, Crouch
United – De Gea, Rafael, Jones, Smalling, Blackett, Shaw, Carrick, Herrera, Rooney, van Persie, Falcao