Stoke City v Manchester United - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Saturday 1st February 2014 at 15:00. Venue: Britannia Stadium, Stoke.

Odds: Stoke City 11/2, Draw 3/1, Manchester United 8/13

Last season: 0-2

Preview & injury news

Stoke go into this game in precarious position. Not only is the relegation battle pretty tight, the Potters recent form as seen them slide dangerously towards the drop zone. They currently sit 16th in the table, three points above the drop zone having not won in their last six league outings. 

On the face of it Manchester United's league form hasn't been so bad having won six out of their last eight, losing games to Tottenham and Chelsea, with exits from the cup competitions showing an inconsistent picture overall. However, they returned to winning ways against Cardiff City which saw the return of Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney from injury and the debut of record signing Juan Mata. 

On the injury front, Stoke could welcome Robert Huth back after a knee injury with no real timescale put on Matthew Etherington's return from a calf problem, whilst defender Andy Wilkinson is at least another week away from fitness with an ankle problem.

Manchester United's injury list has been reduced significantly with the return of Rooney and Van Persie, and they could see two more players returning to the squad in the form of Marouane Fellaini and Rio Ferdinand from wrist and knee injuries respectively. Michael Carrick is still out with an ankle injury, as is Nani with a hamstring problem.

Key stats

Here are the sides' top scorers in the league this season.

Charlie Adam Stoke MF 5 21 1,234
Peter Crouch Stoke FW 4 20 1,504
Oussama Assaidi Stoke MF 3 13 859
Wayne Rooney Man Utd FW 9 18 1,486
Danny Welbeck Man Utd FW 8 16 1,096
Robin van Persie Man Utd FW 8 12 975

Here are their average possession statistics

NamePossession PercentageGames
Manchester United 54.13 23
NamePossession PercentageGames
Manchester United 54.13 23

And the amount of clean sheets they have kept

NameClean SheetGames
Stoke City 6 23
NameClean SheetGames
Manchester United 7 23

5 players to watch

Charlie Adam - Adam has been pretty effective in the middle of the park for Stoke this season though he does tend to tire midway through the second half. An effective performance from Adam could trouble United for some time, especially if his shooting radar is right.

Ashley Young - Young put in a pretty good performance against Cardiff City including a very well taken goal, and he played very well when Manchester United were last at the Britannia Stadium in the League Cup. A repeat performance from him will do the visitors nicely. 

Ryan Shawcross - Shawcross is going to have his hands full with Robin Van Persie, and possibly Wayne Rooney to deal with at the same time. His physical approach could ruffle some feathers, or could cost Stoke. Either way he is going to have a very busy afternoon.

Robin Van Persie - Van Persie scored on his return from injury against Cardiff and looked quite sharp, meaning that Stoke's defence could be in for a long afternoon trying to keep the Dutchman quiet. 

Asmir Begovic - Begovic is a very good goalkeeper and could be in for a busy afternoon if United's attacking unit starts to click. If his goal does come under siege, just how long can he keep them at bay? He is the type of keeper who can keep his side in the game.

Earlier on in the season

Manchester United 3-2 Stoke City, October 2013

It looked as if it was going to be one of those days for David Moyes at Old Trafford, as United came from behind twice to beat the Potters. Peter Crouch put the visitors ahead after Jonny Evans attempted to clear only for it to rebound off Crouch into the net. Robin Van Persie equalised for the hosts shortly before the break only to fall behind again on the stroke of the half thanks to Marko Arnautovic's free kick. It was heavy weather in the second half before Wayne Rooney equalised after heading in from a corner two minutes before Javier Hernandez headed home Patrice Evra's cross.

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