Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has backed Manchester United to secure a hard-fought win over Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday. The Red Devils have made a lightning start to the new campaign with victories in their opening three games, and this sees them at the top of the table.
Despite this, Merson is not fully convinced with Jose Mourinho’s side, who have scored most of their goals after the 70th-minute mark this term. While providing his predictions for the week, the Arsenal legend admitted that the club have improved from the previous season, but does not see them rolling over Mark Hughes’ team.
“I haven’t really bought into Manchester United so far this season. They won games by an impressive margin, yes, but I don’t think they’ve clicked yet. United do look a better team than last year. They look strong, they look quick with plenty of pace on the break but I don’t think Jose Mourinho will see his side as the finished article,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“Maybe he will stick himself in goal after his performance in the #Game4Grenfell – just not for penalties. Joking aside, if they can go to Stoke and win then fair play to them. The bet365 Stadium has always been a hard place to go but I can see United edging it.”
Taking recent history into account, the Red Devils are winless in their last four trips to Staffordshire but Mourinho will be hoping to end this streak this weekend. Liverpool and Manchester City face off against each other in Saturday’s early kick-off and one or both of their rivals could drop points prior to the Stoke game.
Manchester United play hosts to Swiss champions Basel in the Champions League on Tuesday night, and Mourinho could make a couple of early substitutions, should the match proceed the right way.