Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of Manchester United
's visit to Stoke City
. The only 100% record in the Premier League is on the line today and we should be in for a decent contest. Team news incoming...
STOKE XI: Butland, Zouma, Wimmer, Cameron, Diouf, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters, Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting
UNITED XI: De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Darmian, Herrera, Matic, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Lukaku, Rashford
Starting with the visitors United, they've made three changes from the side that defeated Leicester in their last outing. Darmian and Herrera replace Mata and Blind, while Rashford is preferred to Martial in the attack. Jose Mourinho
has the luxury of a broad squad, and he's taking full advantage of that this afternoon.
Stoke have made two changes from the side that held West Bromwich Albion last time out, and the big news is a debut for deadline day signing Kevin Wimmer. He comes in at the back for the injured Ryan Shawcross, while Bruno Martins Indi makes way for Mame Diouf.
As we've already touched on, United go into this one with the only 100% record in the Premier League to defend. It's three wins out of three for the Red Devils so far, and they can leapfrog their local rivals Manchester City at the top of the pile if they avoid defeat against Stoke.
Stoke, meanwhile, have made a decent start to the campaign and are unbeaten since the opening day. They head into this one off the back of a draw with West Bromwich and an impressive victory over Arsenal. The addition of Wimmer on deadline day should also make them a more robust proposition, so it should be an interesting contest this afternoon.
History suggests this is a tough fixture to call. United have been frustrated by Stoke in recent times, only winning three of their past eight Premier League games against the Potters. That's quite a turnaround considering they beat them in nine of the first 10.
That said, a home win is a big ask since they have beaten the Red Devils only twice in 20 fixtures in all competitions, losing 14 of those. And if today's match ends in stalemate, it will be the first time these two have drawn three consecutive matches since the 1970s.
The shared history between these teams may be chequered, but looking at United's current setup, I think they have enough quality to claim maximum points here. Wimmer in the Stoke defence is in for a baptism of fire against the free-scoring Romelu Lukaku
and I can't see the Potters keeping him quiet ite. A 2-0 win for the away side feels about right.
Pre-match quotes from the two managers coming up...
"Of all the teams they are clearly at the top of the pile. Their performances and the way they've gone about their business has been impressive. We had a similar situation last year with Man City, who were not able to sustain it. But the make-up of the Man United squad is very strong and they're playing in a way that their fans will take to and enjoy. Hopefully there are still things for us to exploit."
JOSE MOURINHO: "We try to play according to the qualities of our players. We try to play positive, we try to play good, but we try to win. If one day to win we have to play defensive football, we have to do it. If you ask me, are we going to go there and play with seven at the back, like some teams do, five plus two? No, we're not going to do that. We're going to try and play well and score goals. But if our opponent is better than us and dominant, we are humble enough to transform our way of playing to play for a result."
This speaks volumes about Mourinho's tactical prowess...
We're just moments from kickoff at the bet365 Stadium. Can Mark Hughes
cause his former club a few woes today? Stay tuned to find out...
KICK OFF! Stoke City get the match underway. There's a raucous atmosphere at the bet365 Stadium as usual. Can they keep a Lukaku-fronted United quiet this afternoon? Let's find out!
There's a half chance for Stoke as Jese gets in behind the United defence and shoots wide. The Potters win their first corner of the afternoon moments later, but David de Gea is quick off his line to make a confident catch. Looks like the hosts are planning on pressing their opponents, rather than parking the bus.
Stoke are looking confident this afternoon. United have just tested their resolve, with Pogba releasing Rashford along the left channel, but Cameron is on hand to snuff out the danger. Mark Hughes
has set out a tight stall this afternoon and has shown ambition to take the game to the visitors.
Darmian blazes down the left flank and sends in a cross towards Lukaku, but the Stoke defence clears its lines before it reaches the big Belgian. At the other end, a momentary lapse from Jones almost sends Shaqiri through on goal, though the United man quickly recovers and scrambles the ball clear.
This could be an interesting battle this afternoon...
United are knocking the ball around confidently in the middle of the park, searching for a way through the Stoke defence. Herrera almost finds one with a long ball down the right channel, but there are no takers. Butland comes off his line and collects unchallenged.
A stray pass from Rashford is collected by Choupo-Moting, but hesitancy from the Stoke man allows United to regroup and the danger passes. Moments later, the ball finds its way back to the Cameroonian in the United half, and he attempts to catch De Gea off his line from 40 yards out. His effort is high and wide, but not lacking in ambition.
Stoke go for a swift counter-attack as Shaqiri and Jese exchange passes and the latter almost slips a final ball through to Pieters. Bailly and Valencia combine to stop the move in its tracks. Good awareness from the United pair.
CHANCE! United are starting to unpick the Stoke defence now and have just come close to the opening goal. A clever ball from Bailly along the right channel lands at the feet of Rashford, who cuts into the area and shoots towards the bottom-left corner, forcing Butland to parry with his feet.
It's end-to-end action at the bet365 Stadium now! Allen and Diouf link up down the right and carve out a chance for Shaqiri, who shoots first time. It isn't a clean hit and that makes it all the more difficult for De Gea judge, but he makes the right call and absorbs the bobbling shot. At the other end, Rashford tests Butland again with a low strike, but an offside flag against Lukaku would have thwarted him anyway.
CHANCES! More action at both ends, but nothing you'd call a clear-cut chance. Shaqiri has a punt from 25 yards, which De Gea does well to hold onto, while Zouma almost puts through his own net at the other end moments later. Valencia played a dangerous cross towards Rashford at the near post, so Zouma had to make the interception, but it ended up rebounding too close to his own net for comfort on its way behind for a corner.
United are creating plenty along that right channel, with Stoke allowing Valencia plenty of space to do his thing. He's just manoeuvred into the danger zone and let fly from a tight angle, his effort soaring over the crossbar.
Here's an action shot of Lukaku. He's had a quiet afternoon so far, which is exactly what Stoke want...
After a bright start to the match, Stoke have buried their heads in the sand when they should be getting up in the United players' faces. Choupo-Moting attempts to release Jese with a cheeky backheel, but it doesn't come off. The Potters need to try a different approach.
GOAL! Stoke City 1-0 Manchester United (Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting)
Well, that came against the run of play! After retreating into their shell, Stoke hit United with a blistering counter. Diouf plays in a deft cross from the right, Bailly misses it and Choupo-Moting is there to guide the ball home from close range. It was a simple tap-in for the Cameroonian which De Gea could do nothing about.
GOAL! Stoke City 1-1 Manchester United (Marcus Rashford)
Oh my days! It's two goals in as many minutes as United level things up straight from the restart. The Red Devils win a corner which Mkhitaryan sends towards the near post, Pogba heads it goalwards and it beats Butland with the help of a deflection off Rashford. I'm not sure whether that counts as Pogba or Rashford's goal, but the former appears to be claiming it.
HALF TIME: Stoke City 1-1 Manchester United
We're all square here between Stoke and Manchester United at the break. It's been a lively first half that really exploded ahead of the referee's whistle, with the Potter snatching a lead against the run of play and United levelling things up straight from the restart.
I think Jose Mourinho will be the happier of the two managers as this match is there for the taking now. Conceding right after taking the lead will be a big blow for Stoke, who saw far less of the ball in the first half. United claimed almost 70% of the possession, and if they can do the same in the second period, I think they will do their opponents some damage.
KICK OFF! United get the match back underway. Stoke have made a half-time change with Bruno Martins-Indi coming on for Geoff Cameron, who appears to have taken a knock.
United have begun the second half on the front foot, with Pogba picking out Rashford on the edge of the box. The striker swings at it, but Zouma is well placed to block. The Red Devils win a corner moments later, which finds its way to Pogba. The Frenchman shoots from 25 yards, but it's straight at Butland.
It's Stoke's turn to apply a bit of pressure now. Darmian heads Pieters's cross behind for a corner and the resulting set piece almost falls kindly for Choupo-Moting in the six-yard box, only for the striker to fumble his first touch and allow the United defence to clear.
It's looking like we're in for an open second half. United have just powered forward along the right again with that man Pogba leading the charge. He frees Mkhitaryan, who chests the ball down and moves into the box for a shot. Butland saves with his legs, but the United midfielder had veered offside anyway.
GOAL! Stoke City 1-2 Manchester United (Romelu Lukaku)
United take the lead following a swift counter-attack. They really turned the tables on Stoke there, as the hosts staged a break themselves, with Jese leading the charge. He lost possession and Mkhitaryan's quick thinking carved out a chance for an unmarked Lukaku in front of goal. The Belgian's initial strike is brilliantly parried by Butland, but the rebound fell kindly and Rom doesn't miss from there.
WHAT A SAVE! Stoke would be level if not for heroics from De Gea! Jese belts a volley towards the United goal at lightning pace. He does everything right. Power, placement, the lot - but a brilliant reaction stop from the visiting goalkeeper deflects it behind.
GOAL! Stoke City 2-2 Manchester United (Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting)
Moments after De Gea's heroics, he's picking the ball out of his net! The corner comes in and Jones can't get up high enough to nod it clear. This gives Choupo-Moting a free header from close range and he makes no mistake. The net bulges and it's all square here at the bet365 Stadium!
United pile bodies forward in search of a third goal. Valencia plays in a dangerous cross, which Butland meets with a convincing punch to clear. At the other end Choupo-Moting finds space out wide and plays a cross into the United area where Jese is lurking, but the Cameroonian's delivery is overcooked and the United defence clears its lines.
United make a double change as Juan Mata and Anthony Martial come on for Marcus Rashford
and Ander Herrera. Mark Hughes will have to counter that will a switch of his own, surely.
SUBSTITUTION: There we go. Stoke have thrown a fresh pair of attacking legs on by swapping Jese for Saido Berahino.
Stoke appear to be going for this in the closing stages. Berahino, Zouma and Shaqiri are all forward, searching for a way through that United defence. Their combined threat forces Bailly to put the ball behind for a corner, which Shaqiri swings in with pace. It bends into the six-yard box, but De Gea leaps highest to claim it and snuff out the Stoke pressure.
MISS! Oh, that was a sitter! Martial twists and turns down the right and plays an inch-perfect cross into the area. Lukaku is there for what should have been a tap-in, but the ball rebounds off his shin and ends up behind for a corner. The prolific Belgian doesn't usually miss those. Will he live to regret it?
Both sides have prodded at the business ends of the park in the last few minutes. Shaqiri squandered an opportunity to test the United defence with a cross, playing a lofted pass straight into the arms of De Gea, despite having aches of space on his side. At the other end, a Mata cross is headed behind by Allen for a United corner.
There's some jostling between the two managers on the touchline as Mourinho ventures into Hughes's technical area. There's some pushing and shoving, but it's handbags really. Tensions are bubbling over on and off the pitch in the closing stages of this one.
United have the chance to test Butland with a free kick from 25 yards out in the final minute, but Lukaku crashes it against the wall and his rebound effort is blocked. There will be three minutes of additional time to play...
SAVE! Butland produces a magnificent reflex save to rescue a point at the death. Jones gets his head to a corner and Butland sees it late. It's on its way into the next and the Stoke keeper has only a split second to react, but he gets down to his right quickly and palms the ball away. Fantastic reflexes!
Full Time: Stoke City 2-2 Manchester United
The referee brings an entertaining match to a close and Manchester United's 100% start to the Premier League season has gone up in smoke at Stoke City. The match ends 2-2, but that's enough to send the Red Devils back to the top of the table on goal difference.
It was a roller coaster match, with Stoke taking the lead through Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
, before United pegged them back via Marcus Rashford before half time. The Red Devils then went in front thanks to Romelu Lukaku's killer instincts, only for Choupo-Moting to have the final say with the Potters' equaliser.
And that marks the end of our live coverage of this evening's match at the bet365 Stadium, but stick with Sports Mole for our ongoing coverage of this weekend's biggest matches. Many thanks for reading!