Mark Hughes returns to the ground he stomped to such great effect as master-volleyer during his playing days and feels “it’s more than possible” Stoke “can get a positive result”.
It’s 17/50 that Manchester United will ring in a second home league win of the season, with a draw 4/1 and a victory for the visitors 29/4.
Given his Potters’ have yet to shed their scoring struggles keeping things watertight will be their best chance of doing just that and betting under 2.5 goals looks the wager of choice at 21/20.
The Red Devils aren’t looking too devilish right now having scored no more than once in their last seven games.
Searching for attacking equilibrium is proving a lengthy and public process in United’s brave new world and with the exception of a pair of four goal salvos against Swansea and Bayer Leverkusen they’ve struggled to catch fire.
Even hapless Crystal Palace were only downed thanks to a dubious penalty and a Wayne Rooney free-kick that Julian Speroni won’t be telling the wife about.
Of Stoke’s six most recent outings all bar one limboed the 2.5 goal pole.
The Potters have long been the uncontested monarchs of the sub 2.5 match goals castle with 25 of their outings last season delivering dosh to unders bettors.
Six of their ten matches in all competitions this term have seen just a single goal for fans of less subtle footballing entertainment and the onion bag has been rustled only twice in their last three outings.
Mark Hughes’ men are the division’s lowest scorers, but also boast it’s fifth most stingy defence.
While David Moyes’ men have yielded more than a goal per game in the Premier League a Stoke bonanza is unlikely, with the Potters averaging a score only every other match.
However Stoke have lost none of the resolve which was so admirable under the much-maligned Tony Pulis and are unlikely to go to pieces should they fall behind at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ as they have given up less than a goal a game themselves so far in 2013/14.