Jose Mourinho made a notable effort over pre-season to use a three at the back system for when a change of structure is needed during a long, topsy turvy Premier League season.
The Portuguese spent half of last year wrestling with a plan A, let alone a plan B, but this time around Manchester United can set up in two completely different ways to neutralise an opponent.
And the clash with Stoke City, with Mark Hughes using a three at the back system of his own, may be the perfect time to adopt a pragmatic tactical shift.
With that in mind, where is how Mourinho could set up his side for their clash at the Bet365 Stadium.
Jose Mourinho countered Chelsea’s three at the back system with his own back in March and, right up until Ander Herrera‘s red card, it worked. The likes of Eden Hazard couldn’t find any space.
The same idea needs to be applied to coping with Jese Rodriquez and Xherdan Shaquiri, who will serve as inverted wingers whilst the likes of Erik Pieters or Geoff Cameron bomb forward as wing backs.
Having the muscular, powerful presence of Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini, aided by their respective full-backs, would mean United could work zonally to keep track of any onslaught whilst maintaining a balanced position of their own.
Mourinho noted after the win over Leicester that he will need to be pragmatic this season, and the clash with Stoke could end up being a first example of exactly that.