Before the season started, Stoke were favourites to go down. So far, they’re doing fairly well, with only goal difference keeping them out of the top ten, as well as being above The Richest Club in the World (TM) in the table.

Their not-so-secret weapon appears to be the incredible throw-in of Rory Delay, which averages at 38 metres, though usually ranges between 30-40 metres. Of Stoke’s first 13 Premiership goals, 7 were created by his thrown-in.

We do not want to fall victim like Arsenal did a couple of weeks ago and our players are confident we can handle it. Famous last words?

“I have never come across anything like this,” said Vidic. “The guy can throw the ball 40 metres. It is something we have had to think about, which is why we have practised them in training. There is no point getting worried about it. We are at home and we are making chances in every game. We just need to score. If we are right, that is what counts, not Stoke. We need to keep the ball down, make chances and score early goals. That will change the game and give us more space to play.”

Edwin Van der Sar, whose form has been less than impressive recently, also shows no fear.

“We’ve been working on it of course and we’ve got one or two ideas,” said our keeper. “The main thing is if we have the ball we’ve got to play our game and we’ve got quality all over the pitch. Of course you have to focus on the set-pieces from the opposite team and normally those of corner kicks or free-kicks and these are throw-ins so that’s a different approach.”