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Manchester United predicted XI to face Stoke City

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Manchester United will leapfrog Southampton into third place in the Premier League table - temporarily, at least - if they beat Stoke City at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

The Red Devils haven't occupied a place in the top three since the opening week of the 2013-14 season, when David Moyes' side sat top of the table following a 4-1 demolition of Swansea City.

That was one of the few high points of an otherwise disastrous season. But under the management of Louis van Gaal, Manchester United are slowly but surely hauling themselves back to where they belong.

Van Gaal to make several changes

Saturday's 3-0 victory over Hull City was arguably United's most complete performance of Van Gaal's reign to date - and the veteran Dutch coach will be looking for his side to produce a similar display against the Potters, who dropped to 12th in the Premier League table at the weekend following their 1-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Van Gaal has bemoaned the fact that Manchester United must play so many matches during the festive period, and with that in mind he will be tempted to make a few changes for Tuesday night's fixture.

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Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young should all retain their starting positions in United's back four, while the in-form David de Gea will start in goal, but it's in midfield and attack where Van Gaal could shake things up.

Midfield

Ander Herrera was excellent against Hull after coming on for the injured Angel di Maria, who will miss the Red Devils' next match, and could take the place of Michael Carrick.

Carrick himself produced a fantastic performance at the weekend, but at 33 it might be wiser for Van Gaal to give him a rest before next Monday night's match against Southampton.

Herrera should start alongside Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata, who proved to Van Gaal on Saturday that he does have a role to play in this Manchester United side.

Attack

Like Carrick, Van Gaal will also be tempted to rest striker Robin van Persie. Part of him will want to deploy the Dutch striker again following his confidence-boosting screamer against Hull, but the manager must also consider the fact that Radamel Falcao is hungry to play and eager to prove a point.

Falcao almost scored after coming on as a sub on Saturday and will be desperate to get his Manchester United career back on track, following a lengthy injury lay-off, with a start and a goal against Stoke. The same applies to winger Adnan Januzaj, who may also be given another opportunity to shine.

Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, will start providing he's fit. The Red Devils' captain suffered a knock at the end of the Hull game but should be fine to start against Mark Hughes' side.

Manchester United: Predicted line-up

De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Young; Fellaini, Herrera; Mata, Rooney, Januzaj; Falcao

Score prediction

Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City

Manchester United predicted XI to face Stoke City

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Topics:
Robin Van Persie
Stoke City
Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Premier League
Football

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