The teams are out for Manchester United’s encounter with Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, and there are a smattering of surprises. Marcos Rojo and Anthony Martial are both omitted from the matchday squad entirely, with Chris Smalling partnering Phil Jones at the centre of defence, and Juan Mata given the nod on the left of United’s attack.
The absence of Rojo — combined with Eric Bailly’s disappearance to the Africa Cup of Nations — has left United with a worrying dearth of defensive options. There are no nominal centre-backs on the bench, with Michael Carrick and Matteo Darmian the only options if catastrophe strikes.
Speaking of Darmian, he’s left out, with Daley Blind preferred at left back; while Marouane Fellaini is surprisingly preferred to Michael Carrick. United are otherwise as expected, with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera both starting in the centre of midfield, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimović completing the attack.