Writer: Red Boy
Date:Monday January 3 2011
After snatching a 2-1 defeat at the Hawthorns last timeout, Manchester United have the perfect opportunity to put further pressure on their title rivals when Stoke City visit Old Trafford this Tuesday evening.
Stoke City venture to Old Trafford on the back of a very creditable 2-0 win over Everton, last time out. They arrive full of confidence and believe they can spring an upset with Dean Whitehead convinced that their strike-force of Kenwyne Jones and Ricardo Fuller can be the key to a Stoke success, when he remarks,
"There are a few games they have won which have been close but f you get at them, they are vulnerable at the back."
"Ricardo causes mayhem up top. He gets hold of the ball and lights things up. If Kenwyne and him produce another performance like they did against Everton, then we`ve got a right good chance."
We`ll see, we`ll see!
Sir Alex goes into this fixture with a couple of players who will need assessment after picking up knocks at the Hawthorns last time out, these players being Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra and Darren Gibson.
Definitely out are Antonio Valencia, Owen Hargreaves, John O`Shea and Paul Scholes with various injuries whilst Ji-Sung Park is away on Asian Cup duty.
Sir Alex is hoping, though, that Nani will have finally shaken off a hip injury that has kept him out of recent games.
It`ll be interesting to see how our club captain deals with the barrage of aerial balls that is likely to come in his direction courtesy of the throw-ins orchestrated by Rory Delap.
Tony Pulis brings his squad to Old Trafford with only one injury absentee - Mamady Sidibe.
Robert Huth missed the Everton game through suspension but will be available again.
A former United youngster who has come on in leaps and bounds and is now being tipped as a potential England centre back of the future.
United have a good record against Stoke with our visitors not having won at Old Trafford since April 1976.
In recent fixture between the sides Manchester United have won 10 of the last 13 without Stoke scoring a goal.
The last two fixtures between the sides have seen Stoke beaten 4-0 on the last day of last season and United winning 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium back in October.
Mark Clattenburg will be the man in the middle.
Although Stoke harbour ambitions of winning this one, I really can`t see anything other than a United victory, possibly by at least two clear goals.
This Sunday we welcome our old friends Liverpool to Old Trafford for what promises to be a titanic FA Cup 3rd round tie!
Date:Monday January 3 2011
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