Manchester United will try to make it six wins in six English Premier League games when they visit the Britannia Stadium to take on fifth-place Stoke City on Sept. 24th. Both teams are coming off of mid-week Carling Cup third-round wins with United beating Leeds 3-0 and stoke taking down Leeds 7-6 on penalty kicks.
United, to the surprise of many, has simply been unstoppable this season, especially in the goal scoring department. And it easy to see why when their fifth-choice striker Michael Owen can come off of the bench and score two goals in 32 minutes in his season debut, which he did at Leeds on Tuesday.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, and Dmitar Berbatov also to choose from at striker, with Rooney leading the league with nine goals already, including two hat tricks. United has 21 goals in their five league games and players such as Nani and Ashley Young can also score and provide goals.
Hernandez could miss this match due to being injured by an Ashley Cole challenge in their 3-1 win and Rio Ferdinand is questionable as always as is captain Nemanja Vidic. Youngsters Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have been covering for Vidic and Ferdinand exceptionally well.
Stoke has started the season pretty well with a win over Liverpool and a draw against Chelsea. However, they were embarrassed 4-0 in Sunderland last weekend. They’ve got some good strikers in John Walters, Peter Crouch, and Kenwyn Jones, but are still struggling to score goals. They could be missing Jones for this match due to injury.
Manager Tony Pulis is playing with fire though by allowing the league’s top teams to attack his squad while they simply try to defend. This tactic will be suicide against United as they’ll simply keep attacking them wave after wave.
Hernandez has three goals in two games against Stoke and United has beaten them all six times they’ve met in the EPL, allowing just two goals along the way. Stoke has only been beaten once at home in their last 11 league gamed, winning seven and drawing three of them.
With Rooney scoring in every league game so far this season and keeper David de Gea leading the league in saves and save percentage it’s hard to see Stoke winning this game, especially considering they’ve scored only three times in their past seven league games.
Sportsbook William Hill has the odds of a United win at 6/10 and a Stoke win at 9/2. A draw is listed at 3/1.