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Premier League

  • 31 January 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 74719
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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

PROBABLE LINE-UPS
MANCHESTER UNITED

De Gea
Rafael, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra
Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs
Park
Welbeck
STOKE CITY

Sorenson
Woodgate, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson
Shotton, Palacious, Whelan, Etherington
Walters, Crouch
Manchester United come into the game off the back of a demoralising FA Cup defeat at the hands of rivals Liverpool, although Rio Ferdinand's expected return will be a timely a boost for Sir Alex Ferguson.

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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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
40Ben AmosGoalkeeper
3Patrice EvraDefender
5Rio FerdinandDefender
6Jonny EvansDefender
12Chris SmallingDefender
13Ji-Sung ParkMidfielder
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
18Paul ScholesMidfielder
25Antonio ValenciaMidfielder
9Dimitar BerbatovStriker
14Javier HernándezStriker
29Tomasz KuszczakGoalkeeper
35Fabio Da SilvaDefender
2RafaelDefender
6Paul PogbaMidfielder
19Danny WelbeckStriker
48William KeaneStriker
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
4Robert HuthDefender
12Marc WilsonDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
7Jermaine PennantMidfielder
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
8W. PalaciosMidfielder
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
25Peter CrouchStriker
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
8Jonathan WoodgateDefender
6Glenn WhelanMidfielder
24Rory DelapMidfielder
26Matthew EtheringtonMidfielder
10Ricardo FullerStriker
10Cameron JeromeStriker
Players to Watch
David de Gea
David de Gea
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 1
Games Goals YC RC
4 0 0 0

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.

Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 8
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0

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?

Prediction

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.

Editor's Prediction

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