Manchester United - Stoke City Preview: Hosts have never lost to Tony Pulis' men in the Premier League
The away side have lost just twice in their last 10 Premier League games, but have won only once in their last six, as the Red Devils look to bounce back from Liverpool defeat
By Alex Young
Rafael, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra
Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs
Woodgate, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson
Shotton, Palacious, Whelan, Etherington
The big question in terms of team selection will be surrounding the man between the sticks after £19 million summer signing David de Gea again found himself in the headlines for the wrong reason with another nervy display at Anfield.
Anders Lindegaard, who had featured for the previous four weeks before last Saturday’s game, could well return after receiving far more praise in just a handful of performances this season.
Regarding Stoke, they sailed through their FA Cup fourth round tie away to Derby County thanks to goals from Cameron Jerome and Robert Huth.
Last time out in the Premier League, an injury-time winner for West Brom condemned Stoke to only their second defeat in 10 games - a run which included a very credible draw away at Anfield and a victory over high-flying Tottenham. Expect Peter Crouch and John Walters to retain their places up front for Tony Pulis' side.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester United have won six and drawn one of seven games against Stoke City in the Premier League, conceding just three goals in the process.
- If all games ended at half-time this season, United would have been at the top of the table.
- Sir Alex Ferguson's men have conceded 16 of their 23 goals this season in the second half of games.
- Stoke have lost just twice in their last 10 Premier League games, but have won only once in their last six.
- Among all the clubs in the top-flight, Tony Pulis’ men have converted the most goals from set-piece situations this season.
- However, the Potters also have the highest rate of conceding goals in the opening 45 minutes of a league match.
- Stoke have won five games out of five where they were winning at half-time. Manchester United have won 13 out of 14 times. The one game they ended up drawing was against Stoke back in September.
- The last time Manchester United were defeated by Stoke was in 1993 in the first leg of a League Cup tie at the old Victoria Ground.
- The two teams have met each other 94 times, with United winning 36 to City's 26.
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Top 3 Predictions
Manchester United 3-0 Stoke City
- 45.91 %
Manchester United 2-0 Stoke City
- 10.29 %
Manchester United 3-1 Stoke City
- 9.43 %
|Premier League (EPL)||1 Feb 2014||Stoke City 2 - Manchester United 1|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||18 Dec 2013||Stoke City 0 - Manchester United 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||26 Oct 2013||Manchester United 3 - Stoke City 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||14 Apr 2013||Stoke City 0 - Manchester United 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||20 Oct 2012||Manchester United 4 - Stoke City 2|
|8 Mar 2014||West Bromwich Albion 0 - Manchester United 3||EPL|
|25 Feb 2014||Olympiakos 2 - Manchester United 0||UCL|
|22 Feb 2014||Crystal Palace 0 - Manchester United 2||EPL|
|12 Feb 2014||Arsenal FC 0 - Manchester United 0||EPL|
|9 Feb 2014||Manchester United 2 - Fulham 2||EPL|
|35||Fabio Da Silva||Defender|
|David de Gea|
I’ve predicted that Ferguson will stick with De Gea in goal, after all, the Glaswegian boss will know that the youngster needs games to build confidence. United should boss possession and the chance of a clean-sheet will buoy the goalkeeper no end.
United pounced on a central defender playing right-back against Arsenal, with Johan Djourou having such a torrid afternoon Wenger was forced to pull him off at half-time. Stoke may well pose the same situation, with Jonathon Woodgate receiving criticism in recent weeks for his poor form in that position. He will be under the spotlight; can he rise to the challenge?
I fully expect Manchester United to bounce back from what Ferguson called a ‘sickening blow’ by losing to Liverpool last Saturday. Stoke held United to a 1-1 draw in the reserve fixture, and could well have won it in the end, but I can’t see things going quite so well this time around. Ferguson’s heavily depleted squad will be desperate to stop any slump as they turn full focus to an assault on the Premier League crown and when United are in the mood, little can stop them.