EPL Matchday 4 Preview: Stoke City vs Manchester United

Manchester United will be back into the Premier League action after the international break this Saturday when they visit Stoke City. The Red Devils sit at the top of the standings with three consecutive wins, and they will try to make it four in a row in one of the toughest visiting grounds in the entire league. The game will kick off at 17:30 BST, and  Neil Swarbrick will be the referee.

The Opponent

Stoke have been a bit inconsistent to start their season. The Potters currently sit 11th in the Premier League with four points in three matches. They defeated Arsenal, drawn with West Brom and lost to Everton. They also clinched a berth in the third round of the EFL Cup after topping League One side Rochdale 4-0.

Stoke were quite active during the final days of the transfer window. They signed Kevin Wimmer from Tottenham, and the Austrian centre-back could make his debut against United. However, Bojan Krkic and Gianelli Imbula left the club on loan to Alaves and Toulouse, respectively.

Mark Hughes won’t have his side at full strength, though. Former United Academy graduate Ryan Shawcross will miss the contest with a back problem. Former Schalke 04 forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will need a late-fitness to determine his availability due to a hamstring injury. And two other former United players, Mame Biram Diouf and Darren Fletcher, should return after recovering from minor knee injuries.

The Venue

The match will be played at Britannia Stadium, Stoke’s home ground. The last time United played there, Jose Mourinho’s men were forced to settle with a 1-1 draw thanks to a free-kick from Wayne Rooney. That was a historic goal, since he came off the bench to score the goal that broke Sir Bobby’s Charlton’s record of being the team’s all-time top scorer.

Despite the draw the last time out, United have been successful when playing against Stoke of late. Since The Potters were promoted to the EPL in 2008, Manchester United have won 12 of the 18 EPL meetings against them. It is fair to say the club has a mixed bag of results if we consider the all-time record against them, though. The Red Devils have won 43, drawn 35 and lost 28 in 106 meetings with the Potters across all competitions dating back to 1893.

Team News

The Reds could have Ashley Young and Luke Shaw back in contention for a place in the squad. Both stepped up their recoveries from injury by playing for the Reserves before the international break. However, Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will remain out. Neither should be available before October at the earliest.

Andreas Pereira is no longer available either after he completed a Deadline Day move to Spanish club Valencia.

Manchester United’s Predicted Starting XI

There could be a slight degree of rotation in the starting XI for the first time this season. Players like Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku could get some rest. All four could receive rest before United’s debut in the Champions League next week. Meanwhile, names such as Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini could get the start considering Stoke are a rather physical team.

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