Stoke v Man Utd – Britannia Stadium at 12:45 live on Sky Sports 1
A huge day of football this Boxing Day kicks off with Stoke hosting Man Utd at the Britannia Stadium at 12:45 live on Sky. Stoke are struggling with consistency this season and Utd are without a win in four, looking to avoid a 3rd successive league defeat.
It’s a fairly typical season so far for the Potters, currently sitting in mid-table, unable to put together a decent run of good performances. There have been signs of improvement, beating Chelsea, Southampton and Manchester City in their last 6 league games, but defeats to Sunderland and Crystal Palace show they still have a way to go to really threaten others for a European place.
Stoke are lacking goals, with just 14 in their 17 BPL matches, no one has scored fewer. With the likes of Shaqiri, Bojan, and Arnautovic, they look threatening going forward, but have really struggled to create clear cut goal scoring opportunities.
At the other end of the pitch though, they have been strong and make it very difficult for opponents to break them down. Only Man Utd, Tottenham and Arsenal have conceded fewer goals this term and against a Utd side that have managed just 3 goals in their last 4 matches, they will be confident of keeping their 8th clean sheet of the season.
It’s fair to say that the Red Devils are having a tough time of it lately and the fans aren’t happy. They are without a win in their last 6 games in all competitions, have slipped out of the top four and have dropped into the Europa League.
The pressure is mounting on Louis Van Gaal and some reports are suggesting he must win his next 2 matches to save his job. The Dutchman has been criticised all season for his low temp, often unattractive and boring style, failing to create enough chances to really push for a title challenge.
Unfortunately for football fans, this isn’t the best way to kick off the busy festive period as I don’t see many goals in an uninspiring match. Stoke have kept 6 clean sheets in their last 8 games but have managed just 7 goals in that period. Five of Man Utd’s last eight matches have seen less than 3 goals, so it’s no surprise Under 2.5 goals is as short as 1.61. Too short to get involved with, as is the 1.79 for Under 2.25 on the Asian Line.
For my recommendation, the value lies with the hosts on the Asian Handicap betting market. Although they are far from potent in attack, United’s weak midfield will allow the likes of Shaqiri, Bojan, and Arnautovic to create chances and take advantage of a defence that has conceded 4 in their last 2 league games.
Although Man Utd fans would like to see the back of LVG, which could well happen if they lose, they will be hoping to start the busy Christmas period with a win. I don’t see that happening though.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Stoke +0.25 at 1.91
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