Five games played, five games won and 21 goals scored. Manchester United haven’t enjoyed a Premier League start this good, although we should cast our minds back to that first game of the season where West Brom came close to holding the Red Devils at The Hawthorns.
The champions needed an own goal to land victory in that match and there might be little to separate them from Stoke City on Saturday evening, with the Potters a tenacious side that were unbeaten themselves until last Sunday when a long trip back from the Ukraine caught up with them and they were soundly beaten at Sunderland.
Nevertheless, Tony Pulis’ side have drawn with Chelsea and then beaten Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium, with the Welshman clearly feeling it is high time that they managed to get something at home to a United team who have won at this ground on the past three visits.
Stoke are 6/1 (Paddy Power – £100 free bets) to claim victory in this match and 3/1 (Ladbrokes – £50 free betting) to land a draw which they at least deserved last season when Gary Neville somehow escaped a second yellow card which helped the visitors win 2-1.
Rio Ferdinand will return to the United line-up for this contest and the Red Devils are a best price 3/5 (William Hill) to continue marching towards a 20th league title, with the champions looking very threatening when they go forward.
It may be that Sir Alex Ferguson alters the formation in this match so that Wayne Rooney is supported by Ashley Young in attack, allowing an extra midfielder to be played in a bid to win the tussles in the middle of the park.
Rooney is a man on fire at the moment and can be backed at 7/2 to score the first goal of the game, with Young as big as 7/1 and the mercurial Nani available at a similar price.
However, this could be a match where defences are on top and Paddy Power’s 11/10 looks like an interesting bet about Over 2.5 Goals on the basis that Stoke will throw bodies in the way to avoid conceding and continue their unbeaten home record.