Manchester United visit Stoke City on Saturday afternoon in hope of continuing their good form. After starting a season with three wins, Jose Mourinho and his players will be eager to continue their perfect record.
David De Gea is one of the two goalkeepers which have not conceded in opening 270 Premier League minutes. Now, the opposition are Stoke. They have been problematic for Man United in previous seasons. In last four matches between these sides at Stoke, the hosts remained unbeaten.
Yet, there is one player in particular who could help Stoke prolong that run. Jese Rodriguez arrived to Stoke on loan this summer from Paris Saint-Germain. The two-time Champions League winner wants to resurrect his career after poor spells at PSG and Las Palmas. His Stoke debut told a lot about his intentions.
Learn From The Mistakes Arsenal Made
What Manchester United should do is not repeat mistakes Arsenal made. It is true Arsene Wenger’s side played quite chaotic football in all three Premier League matches so far. Yet, it is also true Jese was the one who also played very well in that match against Gunners.
His runs against Arsenal defence did not only show their shortcomings, but also the Spaniards potential. Maybe his career should not have taken a downwards direction, but he did not forget how to play football. He is still able of running through a defence if given space. He is still pretty good when taking on players. Jese still prefers cutting inside with the ball.
However, Manchester United defence was one of the best in the league last season and they started even better this season. Jese is a man of the moment – on his day he can create something out of nothing. If Peter Crouch starts up front as well, it would not be unthinkable to see Jese create chances for the tall Englishman.
Nemanja Matic Could Be Instrumental
The Serbian international has been amazing from the day he signed for Manchester United. His form and displays have been impeccable, bringing much needed stability into the squad. Matic could really be instrumental in stopping Jese doing any harm. The Spanish player has played as a number 10 in his two matches for Stoke, behind the striker.
That is the exact position Matic will be in charge for. He will sit in front of Man United defence, giving rhythm to his team-mates up front, but also being a shield for Eric Bailly and Phil Jones. It is hard seeing Jese doing much around Matic’s spot on the pitch. The Serbian is tall and strong, has a long stride and his intercepting skills are very well known. It should be expected to see Rodriguez roam a bit more. He will try to find space behind United’s full-backs, attacking directly towards the centre-backs from the outside.
Pace And Space For Jese
The two things that could play into Jese’s hands are obviously his pace and the space he is being given. Therefore, United players should negate him that space, not giving him time to turn towards the goal and start a run with the ball.
It is not that Jese is a player of such magnitude that he will not be stopped. He is not Lionel Messi and he is not Cristiano Ronaldo. It is just that Manchester United should simply give themselves the easiest possible afternoon, at least defensive-wise.
We all know that, if defenders do their job and do not complicate things, it will be easier for Romelu Lukaku and his ‘entourage’ up front to finish the opponent off.