United v Stoke Preview
It`s time to quit sulking over our FA Cup exit to Liverpool and concentrate on the Premier League. So what if this is the first time since the Premier League began that it`s the earliest we`ve out of both the Champions League and FA Cup, we`ve still go the biggest domestic prize in our sight, let`s not let that ambition slip away!
Ahead of the fixture, Sir Alex Ferguson had this to say about Stoke and taking them on,
"You know what Tony Pulis` teams are like, they`re always the same with 100 per cent commitment."
"They all get stuck in and you have to cope with that. I quite enjoy that. When we use dot play Wimbledon, when they first came into our division, nobody looked forward to playing them."
"But then we started to enjoy it because it was a physical challenge, in terms of trying to take control of possession and to play your football."
"Like Wimbledon, Stoke never give in, they keep going, so it`s a good challenge for us."
A pretty fair assessment we`d say!
United Team News:
Sir Alex is still suffering from injuries to his squad - Fletcher, Vidic, Nani, Rooney, Jones and Young are amongst those side-lined.
Ferdinand may start but the biggest decision, in our opinion, is who Sir Alex will stick between the posts. Will he go for De Gea knowing he can be knocked off his stride when crosses come in or will he opt for the more robust Anders Lindegaard?
Player to watch: Antonio Valencia
Getting back to his very best now that injuries have given him that break he needed for an extended run in the side.
Stoke Team News:
Tony Pullis brings his physical side to Old Trafford with one of his key players, Matthew Etherington, missing. The wide-man picked up an injury in the FA Cup win over Derby County.
One of Stoke`s summer signings, Cameron Jerome, signed form Birmingham City, may very well get his first start.
An uncompromising side, watch out for the sheer size and physical attributes of the back four!
Player to watch: Ryan Shawcross
An ex-United youngster, who has developed into a robust centre-back and, not long ago, was being tipped for international honours.
Match Facts & Stats
Earlier this season Stoke held us to a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium, it was the first point they`ve earned against us in the Premier League.
In 10 league visits to our gaff, Stoke haven`t won, the last Stoke victory coming back in April 1976.
The last seven meetings between the two clubs at Old Trafford have seen United win all seven, scoring 20 and conceding none.
Stoke may well have a more than above average record on the road but they`re one trick ponies who take the aerial route and bully teams into submission, we`re far better than that and our class will prevail as we rack up a quite comfortable win.
We`re off to Stamford Bridge this Sunday to hammer another nail in Chelsea`s Champions League ambitions, how the once mighty blues must regret watching father time catch up with their ageing squad!