The Opposition: Manchester United

Stoke Man Utd

It’s all change at Old Trafford and Manchester United fans must be optimistic that they are on their way back to their best.

Jose Mourinho’s appointment may not bring a more thrilling style immediately, but the addition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic is sure to enhance the entertainment value.

Life after Sir Alex Ferguson has been tough but there is a bright future ahead.

Louis van Gaal’s tenure may not have been the most successful, but his blooding of youngsters was especially exciting, notably the emergence of Marcus Rashford.

Hopefully Mourinho- who isn’t renowned for giving youth a chance- doesn’t stunt the progress of the talent at Old Trafford.

But, with a trio of new faces arriving so far, you feel that Mourinho’s eyes are fixed on experience rather than following in the footsteps of van Gaal.

Generally successful wherever they go, the Mourinho-Ibrahimovic partnership could be one of the most lethal in the Premier League this season- both on and off the pitch.

This could be Man Utd’s year to shine.

Memorable match: Stoke 2-1 Man Utd. 1 February 2014. Stoke had waited just short of 30 years for a league victory over Man Utd, so it was an especially sweet moment when Charlie Adam smacked home the winner past David de Gea. Adam’s deflected free-kick had given Stoke the lead, but Robin van Persie equalised for the reigning champions. It didn’t take long for Stoke to regain the lead and the goal was a cracker worthy of winning any football match.

2016-17 Fixtures: 1 October (A), 21 January (H).


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