Hughes and Stoke hunt Boxing Day upset of Man United

Manchester United’s Boxing Day clash with Stoke City is being talked up as a game that Louis van Gaal must win if he wants to keep his job.

The Red Devils will head to the Britannia Stadium on the back of six games without a success across all competitions and back-to-back Premier League defeats at the hands of promoted clubs.

Ladbrokes price United’s chances of getting the much needed victory to save Van Gaal at 5/4, while Stoke come in at 23/10 and the odds of a draw are 21/10.

Looking at how the season has gone, backing the Potters to pile on more misery seems to be the best option.

Mark Hughes’ side have played every member of last season’s top four, apart from Man Utd, at least once this season and have only suffered a single defeat.

Arsenal managed a league triumph over Stoke, but Manchester City limped to a 2-0 defeat and Chelsea were handed a 1-0 loss in the league after being knocked out of the Capital One Cup by the Midlands club earlier in the season.

Therefore, in four meetings with teams in the top four the Potters have come out on top on three occasions and this must be a worrying omen for Van Gaal ahead of such an important game.

Even more troublingly for the Mancunians is the fact that they haven’t won in their last two visits to the Britannia, including a 2-1 loss in 2014, backing history to repeat itself with that scoreline is available at 11/1.

Marko Arnautovic has scored three times against last season’s top four, so David de Gea and company will need to be wary of him considering the Red Devils have let in seven goals in their last three games in all competitions.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Dan Ross

After a brief stint as a commentator, Dan took his passion for football into writing and went on to gain an NCTJ in sports journalism. A lifelong Walsall fan, he's followed the Saddlers through the highs, getting to Wembley for the first time ever last season, and the lows, namely relegation to League Two in 2006.