Manchester United has overcome the early season bumps and bruises to ride out a nine-game unbeaten run in recent play.
The Red Devils sit in third place, right in contention for a Premier League title if they maintain fairly consistent throughout the rest of the season.
And that consistency harps on the health of the squad, which, United manager Louis van Gaal notes, has been ameliorated with the return of certain players.
[RELATED: Preview of Stoke City v. Manchester United]
“In spite of a lot of injuries, we are improving and that’s because of the philosophy and I think the players understand the philosophy,” the Dutchman said.
“We can improve more when we have all the players available. Smalling is coming back, Luke Shaw is coming back, and Rafael da Silva is coming back.”
Looking to continue their triumphant ways, United will encounter middle-table Stoke City on New Year’s Day.