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Manchester United vs Stoke City: Preview

Here we go, it’s crunch time in the Premier League as Manchester United face Stoke City at Old Trafford on the final day of the season. Once last chance to clinch a record breaking 19th League title and 4th in a row, but two teams stand in the way… Chelsea and Stoke.

The Blues lie one point clear of United at the summit of the table and if they win their match at home to Wigan then they will be crowned champions, but if they draw or lose and we overcome our opponents at Old Trafford then United will be crowned champions… Simple.

All matches today kick off at the same time so the crowd will play a big part in communicating the results at other grounds to the players on the pitch, imagine if United get an early goal, the pressure on Chelsea will be enormous. Can they cope? We may be looking to make amends for another final day disappointment when in 1995 we failed to take advantage of Blackburn’s slip up at Liverpool.

Even Sir Alex wont be able to shut out events at Stamford Bridge,

“It’s pointless going into the game expecting anything from Chelsea in our favour,” said Ferguson.

“I have confidence that Wigan will do their best and they will try.

“There’s pressure on both us and Chelsea because we both need to win but I don’t know what’s going on in Chelsea’s minds – all I know is that in this situation we just hope.”

United will be going into today’s game with a relatively fit squad. Edwin van der Sar will sit behind a back four that should consist of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand in the centre.  Wes Brown could well get a start as he is now fully fit following a metatarsal injury, but has Gary Neville, Rafael and John O’Shea all vying for the right-back slot. No such problems for Patrice Evra as he will make his 38th Premier League appearance, only one has been as a substitute.

Expect an attacking line up and a four-man midfield. The superlative Nani will be looking to add to his recent goal tally as he starts on the right, Ryan Giggs will look to take up at slot on the left, drifting into the centre when needed. Paul Scholes who has been turning back the years will be joined by Darren Fletcher in the centre of midfield.

With a 30 second run out for Owen Hargreaves last weekend, an extended appearance may be the order of the day, depending on the score of course. Antonio Valencia is out with an ankle injury so wont feature.

It appears the last chance saloon has closed for Dimitar Berbatov so this could be his last match at Old Trafford if rumours are to be believed, lets hope he makes it one to remember. Wayne Rooney will be his strike partner as he enters into a personal duel with Didier Drogba for the top scorer accolade, his record is 31 games 26 goals, and Drogba’s is exactly the same.

Stoke City boss Tony Pulis will name an unchanged line up from the side that beat Fulham 1-0:

“It will be the same team and I think that is only fair on the lads who have done so well for us against Everton and Fulham,” he told

“The only change may be Abdoulaye Faye coming back in on to the bench after overcoming his recent injury.

“Hopefully we will have learned our lessons from Chelsea, but it is still difficult if the likes of Wayne Rooney are right on top of their games. The big sides can turn teams over if they aren’t at 100% so we have got to go there be strong and keep doing what we have done over the last couple of games.”

The last time we won our final four league matches we won the title – 2001/02, so lets hope for a repeat. As the saying goes it’s not over till the referee blows his whistle.

Come on Wigan!!

Prediction: 3-0 United

Probable Line Up: van der Sar, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Fletcher, Scholes, Giggs; Berbatov, Rooney


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