Stoke City vs Manchester United Preview: Classic Encounter, Recent Form, Team News and More
Manchester United will be hoping to continue their perfect record so far this season. With three wins, three clean sheets and ten goals scored - they have been scintillating. Sitting on top of the table, they have fast become most people's title favourites but face a tricky test away at Stoke.
Always a tough fixture, Stoke will be looking to get back to winning ways, having been held to a draw by West Brom. Already claiming the scalp of one top six side in the form of Arsenal, Mark Hughes will look to deploy a similar "smash and grab" strategy to beat United this Saturday.
United were the victors in a six goal thriller when the sides met at Old Trafford in 2012. Wayne Rooney stole the headlines, recovering from an early own goal to strike twice - in a tale of zero to hero.
Rooney put Stoke ahead having bundled the ball into his own net, but goals either side of half time made his contribution turn from negative to positive. Further goals from Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck put the game out of sight.
Managed by Tony Pulis at the time, Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron and Peter Crouch remain the sole survivors on Stoke's side - Michael Kightly scored Stoke's second goal, in what proved to be a memorable fixture.
United are coming off the back of another win this season, beating Leicester 2-0 in a convincing performance. Romelu Lukaku has scored on three occasions this season and many will back the Belgian to find the back of the net again come Saturday.
Meanwhile, Stoke have four points to their name this season - bouncing back from an opening day defeat to Everton. The Potters have picked up points against Arsenal and West Brom, as new signings Darren Fletcher and Jese Rodriguez, in particular, have hit the ground running.
Stoke's Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting faces a battle against the clock to be back in time for this match. Picking up a knock against Nigeria in a World Cup qualifying round, Choupo-Moting will be desperate to recover in time and feature for the Potters. Having arrived from Schalke for £5m, he is yet to find the back of the net in a Stoke shirt.
Further injuries to Kurt Zouma, Darren Fletcher, and Ryan Shawcross have severely weakened Stoke's starting eleven. Mark Hughes will have to reshuffle the pack, with a new back three that have never played together before. Kevin Wimmer will make his Stoke City debut having moved from Spurs for £18m.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho will be equipped with a fully fit squad. With Phil Jones featuring in both of England's World Cup qualifiers during the International break, he has overcome an ankle knock sustained against Leicester.
Despite sitting out Belgium's World Cup qualifying win over Gibraltar, Marouane Fellaini is expected to be passed fit come Saturday, as Fellaini went on to start against Greece. Unlikely to start against Stoke, Mourinho will have the option to bring him off the bench.
Predicted Stoke City Starting Lineup: Butland, Martins-Indi, Wimmer, Cameron, Johnson, Allen, Adam, Pieters, Shaqiri, Choupo-Moting; Jesé.
Predicted Manchester United Starting Lineup: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Bailly, Blind, Pogba, Matic, Mkhitaryan, Mata, Rashford; Lukaku.
United pose Stoke's greatest challenge thus far, in what could be a cagey affair given both sides physical presence. With both managers focused on dominating matches with physicality, this match could see plenty of bookings.
Manchester United will be firm favourites for this match, with superior talent in all areas of the pitch. Recent games between the two have proved close, with two draws in the last two meetings - however, this fixture will be decided in the early moments, as United kick on from an early lead to white wash this Stoke side.
Prediction: Stoke 0-3 Manchester United