Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Stoke v Man United

Mark Lawrenson is predicting a 1-1 draw between Manchester United and Stoke City on Saturday lunchtime

Mark Lawrenson is tipping Manchester United to be held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke City in their Boxing Day clash at the Britannia Stadium.

The Red Devils head into Saturday’s game looking to return to winning ways in the top flight after a miserable run of results for Louis van Gaal’s men.

United have lost their last two Premier League games against Bournemouth and Norwich City, and were also dumped out of the Champions League at the group stage earlier this month.

Their poor form has resulted in intense speculation about manager Louis van Gaal’s future at the club after United dropped out of the top four last weekend.

And former Liverpool man Lawrenson is not expecting United to return to winning ways against the Potters at The Britannia on Saturday lunchtime.

Lawrenson told BBC Sport: “Stoke are one of the most difficult teams to predict. That’s because the Potters have earned the same number of away wins in the Premier League as they have had home victories – three.

“And they face Manchester United, whose manager Louis van Gaal is under severe pressure. Not only is he under pressure from the supporters but also – I would think – from the Old Trafford board, and from Jose Mourinho leaving Chelsea.

“It is not just the way Manchester United are playing – laborious, boring, not creating enough opportunities – but they are now losing games. Van Gaal was brought in to strengthen at the back, and at the moment they look anything but strong defensively.

“Stoke will steam into them. The Potters were a little bit unlucky to lose against Crystal Palace last weekend in a game they would have expected to win. However, they don’t go too long without picking up points.”

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United finished fourth in Van Gaal’s first season in charge at Old Trafford but will have to make do with Europa League football in the new year.

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