Stoke City vs Manchester United
Barclays Premier League – Sunday 14th April, 2013 (14:05 KO) – The Britannia Stadium (27,743)
Stoke manager Tony Pulis on his side’s relegation battle: “It’s in times of adversity that you need to show strength of character and rise to the challenge, which is hopefully what the players will do…”
Matthew Etherington (back) and Marc Wilson (hamstring) face late fitness tests. Glenn Whelan, who missed their defeat against Aston Villa, should return to the side. Otherwise, manager Tony Pulis has a full roster with which to choose from. Stoke are on a poor run: 1 league win in 13, 1 away league win in 25, 1 clean sheet in 14 league games, 7 goals in the last 12 league games and 1 point in 6 games. Relegation form.
Predicted Stoke line-up: Begovic, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Shotton, Whelan, Adam, N’Zonzi, Walters, Jones
Home record: P16 W6 D7 L3 F19 A18 Pts25
Home form: L D W L D L
Sir Alex Ferguson on Sunday’s game and the title run-in: “I don’t think we should look at our position in terms of being 12 points clear. What matters is winning on Sunday and we need to do that.”
Nemanja Vidic remains an injury doubt. Chris Smalling will be missing. Jonny Evans could return. After his MOM display against Manchester City, Phil Jones could start again at centre-back. Ashley Young (ankle) has been ruled out for at least 2 weeks. Paul Scholes should return to training next week so Sunday’s game comes too soon for him. Otherwise, Sir Alex has a fully-fit squad to choose from.
Predicted United line-up: De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Jones, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Nani, Kagawa, van Persie
Away record: P15 W11 D2 L2 F31 A16 Pts35
Away form: D W D W W W
Record of the Britannia Stadium: P4 W3 D1 L0 F6 A2
Recent meetings at the Britannia Stadium
Stoke 1-1 United (24-09-11), Stoke 1-2 United (24-10-10), Stoke 0-2 United (26-09-09), Stoke 0-1 United (26-12-08)
Jon Moss. The 42-year-old has officiated 18 Premier League matches this season, brandishing 56 yellow cards and 1 red as well as awarding 6 penalties. The Yorkshireman last took charge of United for December’s 2-0 home win over WBA.
Goals: (Stoke) 28 – (United) 71
Conceded: 39 – 33
Top scorer: Jonathan Walters (6) – Robin van Persie (19)
Assists: Glenn Whelan (4) – Wayne Rooney (9)
Most shots: Jonathan Walters (52) – Robin van Persie (115)
Most appearances: Jonathan Walters, Asmir Begovic (32) – Robin van Persie (28/3)
Completed passes: Steven N’Zonzi (1057) – Michael Carrick (1942)
Disciplinary: 66 yellows, 3 reds – 47 yellows, 0 reds
Average possession: 43.2% – 56.3%
Pass success rate: 70.4% – 85.6%
United have won 8 of the last 9 matches against Stoke in all competitions
United have scored at least 2 goals in 6 of the last 7 matches against Stoke.
Of the current squad, Javier Hernandez (4) has the most goals vs Stoke
United are unbeaten at the Britannia Stadium (3 wins, 1 draw)
Stoke have picked up 5 Premier League points in 2013 – the poorest record in the league
A record of 28 goals in 32 games means Stoke are the most shot-shy team in the division.
Score prediction: Stoke 0-2 United