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Manchester United Fixtures

United Face Tricky Trip to Stoke

Despite their struggles away from home, there were few teams last season who had a realistic chance to pick up a result both home and away against Manchester United. One of those teams was Stoke, who hung with United in both meetings last season and were unlucky to not come away with at least a point.

Will today be the day that Stoke finally break their run of misfortune against United, or will United successfully navigate a tough trip to the Britannia Stadium to continue this season’s incredible start?

RECENT HISTORY

United have six wins in six matches against Stoke since the Potters made their return to the top flight in the 2008/09 season, and they’ve scored 16 goals and allowed only two in those six wins.

Both of Stoke’s goals came in last season’s two encounters, and in both, Stoke played United close but ultimately came up empty-handed. In United’s visit to the Britannia Stadium last October, United took a first-half lead before Tuncay put Stoke on course for a point after his 81st minute equalizer, but Javier Hernandez struck five minutes later to give United a 2-1 win.

Then, when the two sides met at Old Trafford in January, United took a first-half lead once again, but Stoke equalized early in the second half through Dean Whitehead. But Nani struck the eventual winner shortly after the hour mark to preserve United’s recent perfect mark against Tony Pulis’ side.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Stoke City

After finishes of 12th, 11th, and 13th, Stoke look set to challenge for the top seven or eight this season.

A run to the FA Cup final saw them earn a place in the Europa League qualifying rounds, and along with qualifying for the competition proper, Stoke have gotten off to a solid Premier League start, and even after getting thumped 4-0 at Sunderland last weekend, they sit fifth in the Premier League table, with two wins, two draws, and that lone defeat after five matches.

To show off their new ambitions and to help meet their heightened expectations, Stoke spent big, relatively speaking, late in the transfer window, signing striker Peter Crouch from Tottenham for a club-record 10m and giving Spurs another 8m for midfielder Wilson Palacios, and prior to that late ‘spree’, Stoke made a couple of thrifty defensive signings, nabbing experienced duo Matthew Upson and Jonathan Woodgate for free.

Manchester United

Chicharito, who scored three goals against Stoke last season, could be absent today after being on the receiving end of a poor, poor challenge from Ashley Cole in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Chelsea, but if he’s unable to go, Danny Welbeck is fit again and ready to go after making his return from injury in Tuesday’s 3-0 Carling Cup win at Leeds.

Elsewhere, Chris Smalling could also be sidelined due to a groin strain, but Rio Ferdinand could resume his regular place in the center of United’s defense, which could see Phil Jones start at right back as he did at Bolton.

Elsewhere, it will likely be much the same lineup we saw in the win over Chelsea, even with Tuesday’s Champions League tie against FC Basel in mind.

PREDICTION

United were made to work for their two wins against Stoke last season, and there’s a good chance they’ll have to fight tooth and nail for the win today.

But United’s class and calmness under pressure will see them through, and they’ll make it six wins in six games to open the Premier League season and seven wins in seven meetings against the Potters.

Score Prediction: Stoke City 1-2 Manchester United

111 Comments

111 Comments

  1. Jay wire

    September 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Pique hardly got a look in whilst at United, but within 12 months of leaving he was regarded by many as the best defender in the world. What’s your point? Smalling? Deco? Zidane? Look at their histories and see how that point loses value

    • Moscow is my heaven

      September 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm

      Pique didn’t exactly have an unknown status coming from United, Deco was a hero at both club and national level upon joining Barcelona, being a key in both Porto’s Champions League triumph and taking Portugal to the Euro 2004 final. Zidane was signed for a then world record fee, and with top accolades as well, so I don’t know why you mention him?

      Anyway, that’s not my point. My point was that it shows how much our midfield has deteriorated over the years that a Reserves product can simply walk into our starting XI given a couple of games. You’d think Fletcher and Gibson would offer some kind of resistance?

      • ash is the man

        September 25, 2011 at 6:02 pm

        becks giggs and scholes waled in too. REMEMBER???

  2. Craig Mc

    September 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Ashley Young a good few of you are saying was average or poor – and I hate to say I told you so. Young is very good HOMER performer, but away from home his performances for Villa were far from anywhere near consistent. Jones and Smalling I have to say do perform well home AND AWAY! Their levels do not drop. Nani is going to get better and better until he makes so many of you CRY by his performances – his goal yesterday was feckin amazing, and Giggsy you dopey you know what – you robbed Lil man of an assist and us of the win. Now why the hell did I start this post – I am beffudled from late night booxe up with my rugby mates, and the missus earbashings – in doghouse today! Oh yes – I wanted to say that Nani has said that he has told Fergie he can play as 2nd striker and just behind the main attacker, and can create chances for others to get goals from 2nd striker position because he has done tghat for his club and country in Portugal. I believe Fergie reply was – listen you Portugueser, cheeky bleeder – you adhere to the sidelines and continue to take the piss out of opposing defenders til the cows come home! Nani said – Feck you I’m off! 👿

    • ash is the man

      September 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

      @CRAIG- first i too am in the dog house with me missus 🙁
      but ashley young couldnt perform yesterday because the pitch was way too small for him to do what he can do from the left. I said to lads when i was wtching the game that fergie should switch him and nani because i thought he would of done better on the right in this particular game- and he actually did before he was taken off.
      AND also NANI is better at control and working tight spaces that on the left he could cut in and do good stuff against stoke. SO REALLY WASNT YOUNGS FAULT. the whole team wasnt at its best as tactics were a little at fault. AND JONES IS DEFINITLY A RIGHT BACK

      • Craig Mc

        September 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm

        Oh NO your in the doghouse too! Women eh Ash – we can’t live with them but we can’t live without them. I only have one night boozing each week on matchdays with mates, well also midweek games if I watch the game down the pub – cos the Missus loves to watch soaps. But I only have 2 pints MW games because I have responsibilities. Turn a deaf ear Ash and they will get over it 😉 😆 .

        I take your point about Yound playing on the right, because Nani can score with right and left feet, and he plays well with Evra on that side of field. It is a myth that Nani is much better on right wing than left. In our end of season review dvd’s Nani has had a few good assists from left wing crosses, so yeah Fergie ahould try that. Also I think Nani should get roaming role that Ronnie had, and that Nani plays for Portugal! Worth a try mate!

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