Manchester UTD v Stoke City, Old Trafford, 15:00 EST.
Well, its that time of the week again when the world gears up for yet another week of football. Manchester United though will realize that this week offers yet another tough opponent requiring more focus than ever before.
The match would be played for two completely different reasons: Manchester UTD would be looking to win & close the gap on Chelsea, while Stoke city would look to get their campaign up & running which has been a dull campaign with 5 draws already in 8 fixtures. Here’s a look at the individual teams.
The jolly green giants will be coming to town this weekend and the Red Devils will need to step up their game if they are to get anything out of this fixture.A strong 3-0 away drubbing of Newcastle UTD at the place where they potentially lost the last year’s title would certainly have put Manchester UTD in a good spirit before the International break.
And not to mention, their team players with the exception of Nani, have come out with flying colors for their respective national teams. Evans had a solid match against the Faroe Islands; RVP was on the scoring sheet, as did Cleverly & Welbeck who had a brilliant game against a hapless San Marino team. There was one man who stood out; it was the England & Manchester UTD striker Wayne Rooney. He has been immaculate before & during the International break scoring thrice for his country & in doing so, knocking past Alan Shearer’s goals tally for England.
Current form (EPL): WLWWWW
They look determined more than ever to close the gap to Roberto Di Matteo’s men who themselves have a lot to gain & lose when they take on Spurs tomorrow. Secondly, their players are all confident enough after a wonderful International experience. They would be raring to go thrash Stoke City & wanting to prove their consistency.
De Gea could finally make a come back. Ashley Young being declared fit by the UTD boss & Antonio Valencia fit as well, Manchester UTD have their full squad except their 3 defenders in Smalling, Jones & Vidic. The veteran manager however has started to revert to a diamond formation omitting the use of the characteristic United wingers. This doesn’t bode too well for the likes of Nani, Young and Valencia.Possible Line Up
If not for the much renowned “Physical” style that the Potters play, they would have been written off by almost every opponent, especially in their current form which has neither been good nor bad. But having held on to a draw with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool this season, Tony Pulis’ men would try to emulate the same feat, if not better it out against the 12 time premier league champions & create some history for themselves.
Current form (EPL): DDDLWD
With a win & a draw to sign off before the International break, we see no reason why Stoke City cannot do the impossible by winning tomorrow. But it is just that against Manchester UTD they have been lacking that cutting edge.
Manager Tony Pulis will assess the condition of Glenn Whelan and Michael Owen. Midfielder Whelan, who limped out of the 0-0 draw at Liverpool with a hamstring problem which kept him out of the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers against Germany and the Faroe Islands, is rated “50-50” by Pulis. The Welshman has also said he expects the former Manchester UTD striker Michael Owen, missing from the Liverpool game after tweaking his groin, to only be fit enough for a place on the bench at best, but defender Andy Wilkinson is available again after completing a three-match suspension.
Should be an intense game on our hands, but one that we expect Manchester UTD to pull it off 3-1.
- Stoke City themselves need to put all their form behind & take their physical style of play to UTD, that they can dent the confidence & mental demand that UTD have been lacking this season defensively by going behind in almost 50% of their games. If the Potters can tap into this aspect, then this match will definitely have its own tempers flying around.
- Whereas, Manchester UTD team & fans have high hopes of winning. This is because history tells us that UTD have never lost to Stoke City in league since December 1984, not lost at Old Trafford to the Potters since April 1976 & UTD have won the last 8 premier league games against the Potters, which includes results such as 5-0, 4-0 & 2-0. But as everyone knows, history is just a past that has been played.