Star man: Peter Crouch has plied his trade for several top-flight clubs over the years, though the towering striker finally looks at home in Staffordshire at the Britannia Stadium. The 31-year-old England international is on fire this term, bagging five goals for the Potters thus far, including three, quite predictably for a man who stands at just over two-metres tall, with his head. United’s injury-hit back-four will need to be on top form come Saturday afternoon.
Quote/unquote: “It's always hard to play Stoke because they play a different kind of football to most teams in the Premier League. They are very physical and have very strong players. It's also difficult because most of the game is in the air. We need to be strong and play our game.” – Nani
Sub-plots: Former United striker Michael Owen hopes to face his former club for the first time since swapping Old Trafford for the Britannia Stadium in the summer. While he only spent three seasons in M16, the poacher remains a favourite with many Reds thanks to his Manchester derby winner in 2009. Fellow United old-boy Ryan Shawcross should also feature.
Whistle blower: Anthony Taylor will take charge of this fixture. The Manchester-based official has not been involved in any Stoke games this season, but did referee the Reds’ recent Capital One Cup win over Newcastle. Taylor has distributed 12 yellow cards and one red this campaign.
Betting: History suggests United should have little trouble seeing off Stoke City. The Reds have won their last nine home encounters against the Potters and are available at 3/10 to repeat the trick on Saturday (draw is 4/1 and Stoke are 9/1 shots). That price on United won’t make you rich though, so get on the 11/10 that the Reds win a game of Under Four Goals. Stoke are tough to break down but have scored just one goal at OT in 32 years, so a low-scoring home victory looks most likely. Register with bwin to claim up to £20 in free bets with your first deposit.