Stoke manager Tony Pulis believes the Manchester United side that will visit the Britannia Stadium on Saturday are the best team in world football.
Sir Alex Ferguson guided his side to a record 19th top-flight title last season but many pundits felt it was not one of the better line-ups the Scot had overseen.
However, there has been no such criticism this season, with United flying out of the traps, winning five straight Premier League games, including last weekend's 3-1 victory over Chelsea and their 8-2 mauling of Arsenal in August.
The addition of the likes of Ashley Young, Phil Jones and David De Gea this summer, as well as the return from loan spells of Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck, has given United a more youthful, energetic look.
And Pulis believes, if they were now to face UEFA Champions League winners Barcelona, it would be a very different outcome to the 3-1 victory Pep Guardiola's team achieved at Wembley in May.
"If you look at their team and the way they've started, I think United now have a better team than they had last year, and they won the Barclays Premier League title last year," said the Potters boss.
"It's going to be a tough test. We have to play to our maximum, we have to have things go for us, and United have to be a little bit short on the day.
"If they play to their maximum, they will beat any side in the world, and I put Barcelona in that because they have been pretty outstanding."
Wayne Rooney - yet to score against Stoke - has been the main man as far as goals are concerned for United, netting nine times already, but it is Mexican Javier Hernandez that has caught Pulis' eye.
He said: "I think Hernandez is the next Denis Law. His movement in the box, his anticipation, is fantastic. He's quick, he's got everything great goalscorers need and he's certainly deadly in front of goal.
"And Ashley Young, what a great signing that's turned out to be. Then you've got Rooney playing the best football he's played for years, Nani scoring goals from everywhere. They've got goalscorers and they will be a major force again."
Although Pulis is hopeful a number of players will shake off niggles to face United, he will definitely be without striker Kenwyne Jones.
The Trinidad and Tobago international limped off during the Carling Cup victory over Tottenham on Tuesday with a hamstring injury and, although the problem is not as bad as first feared, he is expected to be out until after October's international break.
Pulis said: "That is a big disappointment for us because Kenwyne had started the season really well. And, although we brought Peter (Crouch) in, we were hoping he'd put the pressure on Kenwyne to get the best out of Kenwyne."
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