There wouldn’t have been many worse places to go than Stoke had Wayne Rooney not bottled his move to Manchester City. This hateful bunch of supporters, who put more time and effort in to slagging off the opposition than supporting their own team, would have had a field day if Rooney had left.

As it is, they will start the day very deflated, unable to sing their well rehearsed songs they had been penning together on their football forums. Last season we completely outsung them at their place, which caused them no end of embarrassment, so they’ll likely revert to their Rooney/whore songs in full volume. A week ago, this would have been a good wind up, but now, do they think our fans give a shit? Do you think we’re going to leap to the defence of a player we don’t even like anymore? With Rooney not even in the country at the moment, their songs are unlikely to do much damage to anyone, but don’t think that will put off this inbred lot.

It wasn’t just off the pitch that we outdid them last season though, with our lads having an easy stroll to victory at what is supposed to be a difficult place to win. I’d be amazed if we could collect the three points so easily this year though, particularly given we’ve still failed to pick up on our first win on the road. Stoke have beaten Villa at the Britannia at this season, which is good going, but that feat is spoilt by their defeat to Spurs and draw with woeful West Ham.

Sir Alex Ferguson might opt to pad out the midfield and leave Dimitar Berbatov leading the line. Nani and Ji-Sung Park could support him with Fletch, Scholes and Anderson behind them.

Defensively we’ve been shocking so far this season which should give us some hope against Stoke, considering only 6 teams have scored less than them. But even that doesn’t guarantee us a clean sheet given the fuck ups we’ve been guilty of.

We need a reaction today though. A draw here isn’t a bad result but given the points we’ve dropped already, there is more pressure. If we could land a win then it would set us up well for difficult fixtures like Spurs and City which are on the horizon and keep us up with the pace Chelsea are currently setting.

After all, we don’t want people to think we’re unambitious…

RoM will have a live blog running for the game.