The Capital One Cup has been a safe haven for David Moyes, but his trip to the Britannia will be where he treads on the carelessly discarded outer shell of a well-consumed, yellow fruit that will attract yet more disapproving glances.
Manchester United’s odds for victory in the Potteries stand at 4/5 with Ladbrokes, while Stoke are 10/3 outsiders next to a 13/5-rated draw.
The Red Devils’ record at a ground where so many of the Premier League’s prize pigs tend to struggle offers support to their odds-on favouritism – they’re yet to lose a game at the home of Staffordshire football in five visits, winning four – but Moyes has overseen the bucking of several United trends this term, making this price not steady enough to hang a hat upon.
The Potters are undergoing an identity transplant themselves, yet their home turf formidability remains the same. Norwich are the only team to have prevailed in their backyard, which has played host to the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Over half of the previous seven visitors have failed to hassle Stoke’s resident score master and they’re rated at 19/5 to finish this Capital One Cup quarter final with yet more re-useable laundry on their hands.
Assuming they can keep a clean sheet, a particular trend that both teams share suggests one of two things will happen. The first is that the game will finish 0-0 and go to extra-time, or the hosts will prevail.
Just one or neither side has bagged in four of Stoke’s last five and the same can be applied to five of their previous seven home games. United, in similar fashion, have complied with this pattern in seven of their most recent nine games.
For a repeat dose to occur here odds of 1/1 are available. Assuming this bet cops, the first goal in this clash will prove especially vital.
Both have scored first in five of their last seven games that have involved goals, but United have surrendered it in three from their last four domestic games, so advantage goes to the home side in this respect.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date
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