Manchester United will look to bounce back from Monday’s derby defeat to cross-town rivals City when they travel to take on Stoke this weekend. The Premier League leaders are still clear favourites to lift the title, and Sir Alex Ferguson will know that three points at the Britannia Stadium will move them one step closer to the crown.
Stoke are in a bad run of form, not winning in their last six games and sitting precariously three points above the relegation places. Due to the hosts poor record of late and the quality United possess, the visitors are clear favourites for the game at odds of 1.55 to win, with Stoke at 6.25 for victory.
Games at the Britannia have been difficult at times for United, but this Stoke side are low in confidence and have only won one of their last six games at home. The Reds will look to get off to a good start to further demoralise their opponents and neutralise the passionate home crowd, with the aim being an early goal. United are at odds of 3.90 to win both halves, and if they can get the ball into their main attacking players early, there is every chance this will happen.
That said, United have played Stoke four times since their return to the top flight, with three wins and a draw for the Red Devils. Despite this, the visitors have failed to score more than two goals in all four of the games. United will look to get their title chances back on track here and send a real message to Roberto Mancini that Monday’s result was a one off. United are at odds of 3.50 to get three goals or more in the clash.
Robin van Persie will see the game as an ideal time to get back on the scoresheet after a recent barren patch in front of goal, and is favourite to get the opener at odds of 4.50. Peter Crouch comes in as the main threat for Stoke, and the hosts will look to use his aerial prowess to ruffle the feathers of United’s backline – the former England targetman is at odds of 11.50 to get the first goal of the game.
Stoke are well and truly looking over their shoulders after a poor run of form and will be desperate for something from the game here. However, United have been stung by their defeat to Manchester City, and Sir Alex Ferguson will be determined to avoid letting the current champions back into the race for the title.