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Premier League

  • 24 September 2011
  • • 17:30
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: P. Walton
  • • Attendance: 27582

Stoke City - Manchester United Preview: Tony Pulis' men looking for first Premier League points against Sir Alex Ferguson's side

The champions have won their last six matches against the Potters and go into the game looking to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season against opponents unbeaten at home



Huth, Shawcross, Upson, Wilson
Pennant, Palacios, Delap, Etherington


De Gea
Jones, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra
Park, Carrick, Anderson, Nani
Rooney, Hernandez
Stoke City are likely to be without long-term absentees Danny Higginbotham and Ricardo Fuller, while Kenwyne Jones is a serious doubt after limping off in the midweek League Cup game against Tottenham.

Tony Pulis made drastic changes for that match and could again mix things up at the back. Jonathan Woodgate was poor in his last outing against Sunderland, and Matthew Upson – who formed a solid partnership with Ryan Shawcross against Liverpool – could be handed another start while Robert Huth is likely to continue playing at right-back.

Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping that defender Rio Ferdinand will be available to play at the Britannia Stadium. The England centre-back has been used sparingly since injuring a hamstring on the opening day of the season at West Brom, but the United boss confirmed on Thursday that he wants an experienced head in the backline.

The visitors have also been boosted by the return of Javier Hernandez, who trained with the side on Thursday and has been confirmed as available for the trip to Staffordshire after he picked up a calf injury following Ashley Cole's lunge at Old Trafford last Sunday.

Meanwhile, Nemanja Vidic and Rafael are definitely out with injuries, while Chris Smalling is a doubt. with Phil Jones almost certain to continue at the back after his impressive start to life in a red shirt.

  • Stoke City have not picked up a single point against Saturday's opponents since they were promoted to the Premier League in 2008.
  • The game will be the hosts' 12th of the season and their sixth at home, with the Potters unbeaten at the Britannia thus far having played Hajduk Split, Chelsea, Liverpool, FC Thun, and Tottenham.
  • Tony Pulis' side are averaging a goal a game at home, but have failed to find the net in normal time in their last two matches (a 4-0 defeat at Sunderland and Tuesday's League Cup clash against Tottenham which resulted in a victory following a penalty shootout).
  • The Potters have three players on their books who started their careers at Old Trafford. Danny Higginbotham, Danny Pugh - currently on loan at Leeds - and Ryan Shawcross (pictured right) all failed to make the grade under Sir Alex Ferguson.
  • Despite their reputation as one of the most physical teams in the country, Stoke City have the fourth best disciplinary record in the top flight, with Arsenal and Liverpool the two bottom clubs. The Potters wound up with the 11th best record last season.
  • Manchester United have put 16 goals past Stoke City in their previous six meetings, with the last two encounters ending 2-1 to the Premier League champions and the corresponding fixture last season being the first time in 17 years that the Red Devils had conceded against this opposition.
  • Wayne Rooney is the top scorer in the Premier League with nine goals, as many as Kenwyne Jones managed for Stoke over the course of last season and three times the Potters' team total this term. In contrast, United have found the net 19 times in their five consecutive wins.
  • 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. However, Sir Alex guided his team to 2-0 home win, sending them through to the next round 3-2 on aggregate. The last time they lost to the Midlands club in the league was on Boxing Day in 1984.
  • The two teams have met each other 93 times, with United winning 36 to City's 26.
  • Refereeing the match is Peter Walton, who last year waved an imaginary yellow card to Birmingham midfielder Jordan Mutch after leaving his cards in the dressing room prior to kick-off. He has shown 17 real cards in the three league games he has been in charge of this season, with one of those being a red for Arsenal's Gervinho on the opening day against Newcastle United.

Players to watch

A. Begović

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The Bosnian goalkeeper was the home fans' hero against Chelsea and Liverpool, pulling off a string of quality saves in both games as the defence held firm for clean sheets.

However, the former Chelsea and Tottenham target was at fault at Sunderland last week, where he conceded four.

With United's attacking players as adept at finishing from afar as they are from close range, the 24-year-old will have to be at his best since his side cannot afford any clangers as Wayne Rooney will be ready to pounce.

De Gea

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 27

  • 0
  • 2
  • 0
The Spaniard has had a mixed start to life in England since his big-money move from La Liga, with some world class saves matched by equally stunning mistakes.

The 20-year-old has looked particularly vulnerable when challenged in the air, and will be coming up against arguably the most direct and physical team in the league on Saturday.

Be it from set-pieces or open play, Stoke will likely target the former Atletico Madrid man with balls launched into the six-yard area, and he will have to pick when to claim the ball quickly and wisely, as any hesitation or a lack of judgment will be seized upon by the likes of Peter Crouch and the particularly dangerous Robert Huth.

Editor's Prediction

The champions' staggering attacking play of late has resulted in some almost stupefying results, and they face a Stoke side that have rode their luck at home this season with dubious officiating having a large hand in terrifically fought matches with Chelsea and Liverpool.

Tony Pulis' team's fortune ran out when they were torn apart 4-0 at Sunderland last week, as they showed little to no understanding of how to get club record signing Peter Crouch functioning up top.

However, the Potters have a habit of upping their game against the big boys at the Britannia, and though their record against United is abject, they have rarely been easily beaten at home against Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

But with Wayne Rooney and Co. rampant and showing no signs of slowing down, the visitors should come away with another win.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Stoke City

Manchester United


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Stoke City FC STO
Stoke City FC Stoke City
Manchester United FC MUN
Manchester United FC Manchester United

Top 3 Predictions

Stoke City FC STO
0 - 3
Manchester United FC MUN
Stoke City FC STO
0 - 4
Manchester United FC MUN
Stoke City FC STO
1 - 3
Manchester United FC MUN