Man Utd v Stoke preview
Last Updated: October 20, 2012 2:10pm
Ashley Young: Has shaken off a knee injury and comes back into contention for Manchester United
Manchester United head into the weekend hoping to avoid becoming the latest side to drop important points against Stoke City.
Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool have already been held by the Potters this term, with Tony Pulis' side living up to their reputation as a notoriously difficult nut to crack.
Manchester United have, however, fared admirably against Stoke since they returned to the Premier League - winning all but one of the eight meetings between the two clubs.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side have won all four of their clashes with the Potters at Old Trafford, netting 13 times in the process.
Stoke will have taken plenty of positives, though, from the way in which they have started the season, with their sights set on moving into the top half of the table.
Self-preservation is likely to be the name of the game for the visitors on Saturday, but clean sheets against Liverpool and Arsenal have raised morale and the Potters are always dangerous from set-pieces.
Ferguson is aware of that fact, branding Pulis' men 'the jolly green giants', but will be looking for United to counter that threat and build on the positive showing they put in at Newcastle United prior to the international break.
Ashley Young is ready to return to the Manchester United squad after shaking off a knee injury.
The England winger has been sidelined since the end of August, but will come back into contention this weekend.
Ferguson has confirmed that his crop of international stars have been returned to him in full working order, meaning he has no fresh injury concerns to contend with.
Chris Smalling is making progress in his return from a knee problem, but he remains out of the picture for now along with defensive duo Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones and Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.
Pulis will assess the condition of Glenn Whelan and Michael Owen ahead of Stoke's trip to Old Trafford.
Midfielder Whelan, who came off in 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 as 50-50.
Pulis expects former Manchester United striker Owen, missing from the Liverpool game after tweaking his groin, to only be fit enough for a place on the bench at best.
Defender Andy Wilkinson is, however, available again after completing a three-match suspension.
- Robin van Persie has scored six goals in five Premier League appearances against the Potters.
- Stoke have scored a league-high proportion of goals from set pieces this season (67%) after heading this category last season (58%).
- Tony Pulis' side have won none of their last 13 Premier League away games (W0 D6 L7), scoring just six goals.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 13 Lindegaard
- 7 Valencia
- 6 Evans
- 4 Jones
- 28 Buttner
- 8 Anderson
- 16 Carrick
- 23 Cleverley
- 26 Kagawa
- 20 van Persie
- 14 Hernandez
Team taken from Man Utd vs West Brom (Barclays Premier League) on Sunday 19th May 2013
- 1 Begovic
- 30 Shotton
- 17 Shawcross
- 4 Huth
- 12 Wilson
- 2 Cameron
- 18 Whitehead
- 15 N'Zonzi
- 26 Etherington
- 25 Crouch
- 19 Walters
Team taken from Stoke City vs Southampton (Barclays Premier League) on Sunday 19th May 2013
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Bromwich Albion||38||49|
|10||West Ham United||38||46|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||38||25|
Man Utd v Stoke
Stoke boss Tony Pulis insists captain Ryan Shawcross will continue to improve and has yet to reach his peak.
Paul Merson reviews United's 4-2 win against Stoke at Old Trafford.
Tony Pulis insisted there were positives to take from Stoke's loss to Man Utd but was left frustrated by poor defending.