Stoke take a short trip up the M6 to face an in-form Manchester United at Old Trafford, where they’ll be looking for their first victory in the theatre of dreams since 1972. Before the international break United looked in very good form at times, Stoke on the other hand have made a slow but steady start to the campaign, with hard earned points against Man City and Liverpool.
The statistics don’t look good for Stoke with United’s attacking options boasting a good record against them. Van Persie has scored 6 goals in 5 games against the Potters and Hernandez 4 goals in 4 games. Stoke haven’t picked up a win on the road since January so anything but an embarrassment would be acceptable by Tony Pulis.
One man eager to put an end to Stokes dismal record against United is former striker Michael Owen who is a doubt to start but will almost certainly make an appearance. Other than this Tony Pulis has a full squad to choose from with little or no injury concerns.
United on the other hand are still without Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, which will be Fergie’s greatest concern of dealing with Crouch’s aerial threat. After all we saw how United struggled to deal with Felaini and the direct approach at the start of the season, Stoke will be praying for the same result. Meanwhile Ashley young is set to make only his second appearance of the season after suffering an early knee injury.
All signs point to a comfortable Manchester United win with the vast majority of possession and greater amount of chances. Stoke will be looking to capitalise on set pieces with United’s defensive vulnerabilities and De Gea’s inability to convincingly organise his players. Owen will be desperate to score against his former club and I predict an immediate impact to stun Old Trafford into silence. I predict a totally dominant game with an unconvincing score line as the cracks in United’s defence continue to show.
Prediction United 3:2 Stoke