Manchester United vs Stoke City: Potential XI with Wayne Rooney dropped

by Leo Nieboer

Following tumultuous successive defeats to Manchester City, Feyenoord and Watford, Manchester United have emphatically responded with three comfortable wins of their own.

Sunday’s game against an ailing Stoke City side presents a perfect opportunity for Jose Mourinho’s side to continue building momentum ahead of the upcoming visit to Anfield after the international break.

One suspects that Mourinho will be keen on fielding similar side to the one that decimated Leicester City last weekend, meaning that Wayne Rooney misses out on the starting XI for a third game in a row.

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With Rooney keeping the bench warm, United were able to launch a barrage of penetrative, fluid attacks from the first whistle. The likes of Paul Pogba and Juan Mata, liberated from the stagnation usually brought by Rooney, ran riot, and deploying the same approach against a struggling Mark Hughes side would be a wise move.

Ander Herrera, rested for Man United’s Europa League win over Zorya Luhansk, will also come back into the fold: the Spaniard, playing in a deeper midfield role, was the perfect supplement for Pogba and Mata, sweeping up danger and moving the ball forward at every opportunity.

Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia, Mourinho’s first choice full-backs, are likely to make a return as well.

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