Match to be played on Saturday 26th October 2013 at 15:00. Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester.
Any win for Manchester United at the moment is important and another three points in their Champions League campaign has allowed the club to take a dominant position in their group.
Focus now switches back to the Premier League and responding to the 1-1 draw against Southampton last weekend.
Stoke will not make things easy for United and will try to make the game physical, stopping United’s creative players from getting on the ball and having an influence over the game.
Here is the side David Moyes may go with.
GK – David De Gea
The Spaniard looks like a completely different player to the one that first joined the club and he’ll continue in goal. De Gea has a brilliant ability to make top saves from difficult positions before offloading the ball accurately up field to start counter attacks.
RB – Rafael
Rafael should continue at right-back. He was taken off after an hour in the win against Sociedad, most likely because Moyes wanted to rest him ahead of the weekend and because he was on a yellow card. He’s the best right-back that United have available at the moment.
CB – Nemanja Vidic
If Vidic is fit then he’ll come straight back into the team. United’s back four are much stronger with Vidic than without him and he’ll be a key component against the physical tactics Stoke are likely to use this weekend.
CB – Jonny Evans
Evans had a decent game against Sociedad and he’s a very underrated defender. He reads the game well, he’s strong and he’s very quick to get into the face of strikers that are trying to bully the United defence. He can also fill in on the left when Patrice Evra is caught up the field.
LB – Patrice Evra
Regardless of the speculation surrounding Evra’s future, he should continue in his left-back role. Defensively he’s looked decent this season and his ability to get forward and support the midfield isn’t something that needs to be sold.
RM – Antonio Valencia
Valencia is looking like a much better player than last season. He’s one of the quickest players in the Premier League which makes him useful in an attacking sense. He’s also played at right-back before which means he’s a good player to have filling in for Rafael if the Brazilian gets caught out.
CM – Michael Carrick
Carrick will sit in the middle of the team and pull the strings. He’s one of the best in the business when it comes to reading the game and making interceptions, cutting down the angles and the space opposition players have to play in.
CM – Marouane Fellaini
Fellaini coming back into the side makes sense if Stoke are going to turn this into an ugly match. He’s got a big physical presence in the United midfield and he can use that to help out the defence or to try and do his own bit of bullying against Ryan Shawcross in the Stoke back four.
LM – Shinji Kagawa
If Danny Welbeck isn’t fit then expect to see Kagawa continue down the left of the side. He’s great at protecting the ball and uses it well. He’s able to spot passes that can unlock a defence and create a chance within a matter of seconds.
ST – Wayne Rooney
Rooney is producing some of the best form of his United career and he should continue just in behind the main striker. Rooney can drop off into the midfield if United are under pressure but he can also drift across the frontline occupying different defenders and pulling them out of position.
ST – Robin van Persie
Van Persie missed out against Sociedad because of a slight injury problem but he goes straight back into the team if he’s fit. The Dutchman can produce good finishes at any time, which makes him a key component of this side.
What do you think? Who should play in the midfield? Should Vidic come straight back in?