Manchester United travel to face Stoke City at the Brittania Stadium on Saturday evening.
Both teams were involved in Carling Cup matches during the week, but United played a reserve side while Stoke started a nearly full strength team. Manchester United overcame Championship side Leeds 3-0 after a brace from Michael Owen and a goal from Ryan Giggs. Stoke beat Spurs on penalties after a 0-0 draw.
The victory over Spurs will be a big boost to Stoke, who suffered a disappointing 4-0 defeat to Sunderland last weekend. Stoke had begun the season well, gaining eight points from their opening four games. A 0-0 draw at home to Chelsea and a 1-0 victory against Liverpool were the highlights for Tony Pulis’ men.
Manchester United have enjoyed an impressive start to the Premier League season. The Red Devils sit first in the league after scoring 21 goals in five matches despite a difficult start to the season. Alex Ferguson’s charges have already overcome difficult matches at home to Arsenal and Chelsea and away to Spurs and Bolton.
Last season, United gained a valuable victory at Stoke in October. Ferguson’s men were not on top form, but two goals from Javier Hernandez, including an impressive late header, helped United to a 2-1 victory. Goals from Hernandez and Nani helped United again win 2-1 at Old Trafford in January.
United naturally boast more attacking weapons than Stoke, with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Nani, Anderson and Ashley Young in brilliant form this season.
Stoke could, however, trouble a United backline that has shown weakness this season and is still missing the injured Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, although the former could return on Saturday. The Potter have big strikers in Peter Crouch and Kenwyne Jones and if they receive good service from Matthew Etherington and Jermaine Pennant, Stoke could trouble United’s inexperienced back four.
United’s wealth of attacking options should be enough to claim a difficult away victory.