Jose Mourinho must make things happen now, or risk being left in the dust. Mark Hughes must get something going now, or risk being out of a job.
Two managers desperately looking for points to keep from falling behind their expected positions as Manchester United takes on Stoke City at Old Trafford live at 7:00am E.T. on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.
Wayne Rooney remains on the bench after his absence coincided with a 4-1 win over Leicester City their last time out. The Red Devils already sit six points back of rivals Manchester City at the top of the table. Juan Mata instead retains his place in the attacking midfield, with Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba sitting deeper.
Meanwhile, Stoke City is bottom of the table and without a win through the first six matches of the year, leaving Hughes’ job is in serious jeopardy should the stagnation continue. Only a pair of draws against Middlesbrough and West Brom have earned them any rewards.
American Geoff Cameron starts in midfield for the Potters, and Joe Allen makes the starting lineup despite not having trained all week due to a hamstring problem. Stoke has gone 16 straight matches without a clean sheet.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Blind; Ander Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Mata, Rashford; Ibrahimovic.
Subs: Romero, Depay, Rooney, Martial, Carrick, Fellaini, Darmian.
Stoke City: Grant; Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Cameron, Whelan, Allen; Shaqiri, Bony, Arnautovic.
Subs: Given, Bardsley, Adam, Diouf, Walters, Crouch, Bojan.