Injuries. They continue to thwart Louis van Gaal’s plans.
Manchester United will be without Angel Di Maria as they look to push up the table against a Stoke City side that has dropped off the cliff a bit of late.
Things kick off from Old Trafford live on NBCSN at 2:45pm ET or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
Thankfully, van Gaal likely will get Falcao back to work, having made a substitute appearance last week, but Di Maria’s creativity will be sorely missed, being one of the most used players in attacking flow in the entire Premier League. The Argentinian has created 31 chances thus far in Premier League play.
Di Maria will be joined by Rafael, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Phil Jones, and James Wilson, but Ander Herrera is back to full strength as well.
Meanwhile, Stoke has lost two straight and also is dealing with injuries. Midfield engine Steve Sidwell will miss out after coming off against Liverpool over the weekend and looks to be on the sidelines for up to six weeks with a knee problem.
On top of the injuries, the Potters have dropped two straight games which has sunk them to 12th in the table and
What they’re saying:
Van Gaal on weekly goals: “Winning, for a top club like Manchester United, is the most important thing in a week, or in a day. Especially when we are in fourth position in the league table you have to win, otherwise others shall overcome you. Of course I had hoped that we would win on Saturday [against Hull City] but we have to win also against Stoke City.”
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes on injuries: “You can’t really avoid them because they’re occurring in matches and they’re difficult to legislate for, even though you try to do everything correctly. There’s not a great deal we can do about it. It’s just a phase we are going through and we’re trying to make the best of it.”