United has won its last six matches against the Potters and goes into the game looking to maintain its 100 percent start to the season against an opponent unbeaten at home.
Huth, Shawcross, Upson, Wilson
Pennant, Palacios, Delap, Etherington
Jones, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra
Park, Carrick, Anderson, Nani
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. Robert Huth is likely to continue at right back.
Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping that defender Rio Ferdinand will be available to play at the Britannia Stadium. The England center 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.
Meanwhile, Nemanja Vidic and Rafael are definitely out with injuries, while Chris Smalling and Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez are doubts. Phil Jones is almost certain to continue at the back after his impressive start to life in a red shirt. Dimitar Berbatov appears to be in line for his first league start of the season.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Stoke City has not picked up a single point against Saturday's opponent since it was promoted to the Premier League in 2008.
- The game will be the host side's 12th of the season and its 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 is averaging a goal a game at home, but has failed to find the net in normal time in its 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 a reputation as one of the most physical teams in the country, Stoke City has 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 has put 16 goals past Stoke City in their previous six meetings, with the last two encounters ending 2-1 to the Premier League champion and the corresponding fixture last season being the first time in 17 years that the Red Devils had conceded against this opponent.
- 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 has found the net 19 times in its five consecutive wins.
- The last time Manchester United was defeated by Stoke was in 1993 in the first leg of a League Cup tie at the old Victoria Ground. However, Sir Alex Ferguson guided his team to 2-0 home win, sending it through to the next round 3-2 on aggregate. The last time United 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 kickoff. 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.