This weekend Stoke host Man United at the Bet 365 stadium hoping to carry on their current home “giant killing” form, which served them so well against Arsenal, thanks to a debut goal from Jesé.
Mark Hughes’ men are 11th in the table, after 3 games, with four points, which also includes an impressive 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion, who themselves have started the season very brightly.
However, Man United will be a much sterner test, after the league leaders are the only team with 3 wins out 3 this term. Mourinho’s men couldn’t have wished for a better start after scoring 10 goals, with none in reply and dispatching off West Ham, Swansea and Leicester, in a ruthless style, comparable to a certain “United Way” that dominated the last couple of decades.
Now that all the summer transfer madness has come to an end, with some teams benefitting more than others, the season can really get going and mainly be about what’s going on, on the pitch, rather than off it.
United’s record at Stoke over the last couple of season’s isn’t as good as some would expect and the two fixtures last year, resulted in two 1-1 draws. If United are to mount a proper title challenge this year, then Stoke away is a fixture they need to be dispatching with ease.
Too many false dawns and purple patches has left fans cautious, despite the start of this season, with the league leaders not having won the title since Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge.
Stoke will be the underdogs come Saturday evening, but Mark Hughes, having played for United in the 80’s, would love nothing more than causing another upset and pushing Stoke into the top half of the table. With some United old boys currently at Stoke, (Fletcher, Shawcross, Diouf) and more Champions league winners (Jese, Fletcher, Shaquri, Bojan, Afellay) coupled with some players returning late, from the all so compelling international break, this game really could be a tight affair.
So will United pass their toughest test of the season so far? Mourinho certainly believes in his squad and with all pace and power at his disposal, you’d be a brave man to bet against it.