Stoke City will be looking to win a third consecutive game as they host Manchester United, who begin 2015 on a nine-match unbeaten run.
After weeks of inconsistency, the Potters now appear to be on the up and are ready to make another assault on the top half, combining resilience and discipline with attractive attacking football to help them to recent wins over Everton and West Bromwich Albion.
Mame Biram Diouf scored both of their goals in the latter, and will hope to add to his tally against his former club, whose goalkeeper David De Gea prevented the Senegalese forward from earning Stoke a point in the reverse fixture at the beginning of December.
Manager Louis van Gaal cited tiredness as a factor in Man Utd’s second half performance last time out at Tottenham, as the game petered out towards a 0-0 draw, but the Dutchman will still be nonplussed at his side’s failure to net in the opening period.
Results later on Sunday rendered that lack of ruthlessness as a huge missed opportunity. Draws for Chelsea and Manchester City meant that had United taken all three points at White Hart Lane, they would have been very much in the title mix. As it is, there is still significant ground to make up.
Phil Bardsley is likely to miss out again for Stoke, who will assess Bojan Krkic after he picked up a slight hamstring injury against West Brom.
Man Utd have doubts over Antonio Valencia, who was forced off at Tottenham, but Ander Herrera is hoping to return from a muscle injury.
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