Stoke have yet to beat Manchester United in six attempts since their promotion to the Premier League in 2008 and the Red Devils’ early-season form suggests the two teams’ latest meeting will end in a seventh straight defeat for the Potters.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have made a perfect start to their title defence, winning their first five games and scoring 21 goals in the process.
As such, they are 1/2 favourites to claim all three points at the Britannia Stadium in Saturday’s evening kick-off.
A draw is priced at 3/1 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market and a Stoke victory at 11/2.
However, Stoke’s defensive record so far this season – particularly at home – suggests the Red Devils could find this their toughest assignment of the domestic season so far.
Admittedly, the Potters lost 4-0 to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in their last league outing.
However, Tony Pulis put this down to a bad day at the office and can point to the seven clean sheets kept so far this season as evidence of his side’s defensive solidity.
Significantly, Stoke blunted the attacks of Chelsea and Liverpool in their two league games at the Britannia this season, suggesting Man Utd will find it difficult to keep up their record of averaging just over four goals scored in every league match this season.
As such, it may be best to err on the side of caution in the over/under 3.5 goals market despite attractive odds of 9/5 on there being at least four goals.
Odds of 19/50 on there being fewer than four goals may be significantly shorter but look by far the safest option despite United’s impressive recent form.
With this in mind, those looking to back a win for Man Utd could take advantage of the odds of 5/4 on the Red Devils to secure victory in a match containing no more than three goals.
For those looking for more value, betting on the game to be level at half time and for Manchester United to be in the lead at the final whistle looks a good option at 17/5.
This is because four of United’s five goals scored at the Britannia in the last three seasons have come after the interval.
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