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Can we continue their fine Premier League form with the hardest away fixture to date, at the Britannia ?

Match Preview – Stoke City v Manchester United

Competition: Premier League
Kick-Off & Date: 5:30pm, Saturday, 24th September 2011
Venue: Britannia Stadium, Stoke-On-Trent (Away) 
Live TV Coverage: ESPN (HD), 4:45pm – 7:45pm

Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire, England)
Assistants: Mike Mullarkey, Ceri Richards
Fourth Official: Chris Foy

Form: Stoke City lie 5th in the Premier League table, 7 points behind leaders Manchester United. The Potters have endured a mixed start to the season, drawing with Chelsea and defeating Liverpool, but Tony Pulis’ men were stunned when their trip to Sunderland ended in a 4-0 thrashing. Stoke managed a 1-1 draw with Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League last week, and have improved on last season’s squad with some big-name signings arriving.

United are the team to beat in the League this season, in first position and having won all their first five domestic matches – plus a 3-0 win at Leeds United on Tuesday in the Carling Cup. The Red Devils claimed the most impressive result of the campaign so far last Sunday, beating Chelsea 3-1 at Old Trafford thanks to Chris Smalling, Luis Nani and Wayne Rooney. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have scored 25 goals, and conceded just 5 in all competitions. 

The Injury Front: Stoke City are without Kenwyne Jones, after damaging a hamstring in the penalty victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Carling Cup midweek, while Salif Diao, Cameron Jerome and Jermaine Pennant all remain out. Ricardo Fuller is likely to miss Saturday’s game at the Britannia Stadium through an Achilles injury, while Danny Higginbotham is also struggling with injury problems. Danny Pugh has been loaned to Leeds United. 

Squad: Begovic, Wilson, Huth, Shawcross, Upson, Wilkinson, Whelan, Whitehead, Diao, Etherington, Walters, Sorensen, Shotton, Arismendi, Woodgate, Pennant, Delap, Crouch, Palacios, Jerome.

United welcome back Rio Ferdinand, and Javier Hernandez is ‘lucky’ to be in consideration for the game against Stoke after being on the receiving end of an appalling tackle by Chelsea’s Ashley Cole in United’s 3-1 win over The Blues last weekend. Danny Welbeck is also back, but Nemanja Vidic, Rafael Da Silva, Darron Gibson and Tom Cleverley are all sidelined. There is one other injury concern, with a doubt over the fitness of Chris Smalling. 

Squad: De Gea, Lindegaard, Evans, Evra, Fabio, Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, Anderson, Carrick, Fletcher, Giggs, Nani, Park, Valencia, Young, Berbatov, Hernandez, Owen and Rooney.
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The Gaffer: Tony Pulis has high hopes for high flying Stoke City, not least a decent shot at a top four finish. A couple of years ago, The Potters wouldn’t dream of anything of the such. However, now there is a real possibility that the Brittany Stadium can enjoy a sublime time in the Premier League with Mr. Pulis…

Most-Feared: Peter Crouch joined Stoke from Tottenham Hotspur over the summer, and at 30 years of age he still knows how to hit a ball into the back of a net. The former Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Liverpool centre-forward is still capable of causing an upset, and United will want to be careful of the 6ft 7in towering footballer on front of goal !

The Ref: Peter Walton last officiated a United win, against Everton last season, while also taking charge of away games at Fulham and Blackpool (ah, the memories). The 51-year-old FA official was already involved in a rumpus this term – the fiery match between Newcastle United and Arsenal earlier…

United Latest‘s Prediction: Stoke City 1-3 United
Wayne Rooney with another hat-trick ?

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Sat, 24 Sep 2011 9:24:53 am

4.1 rooney (2) Hernandez and park, with crouch 4 them 🙂



Sat, 24 Sep 2011 12:12:21 pm

Seriously fink dis will be are toughest test yet but if we can play the way we play and have been weel win comfy no doubt



Sat, 24 Sep 2011 12:56:02 pm

0-3 Young, Rooney and giggsy.



Sat, 24 Sep 2011 7:45:54 pm

this is way to off, ref is awful! Is not how man utd / stoke city played! It’s the ref!


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