A number of injuries present Sir Alex Ferguson with a dilemma ahead of the home game against Wigan on Saturday. Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young are both injured while Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa picked up slight knocks on international duty.
Meanwhile, Antonio Valencia and Javier Hernandez have both had to deal with long flights back from the Americas – which pretty much leaves the underused England forward Danny Welbeck as the last man standing.
The forward is still waiting for his first goal of the season but looked bright when coming on against Ukraine at Wembley on Tuesday and will fancy his chances if given the opportunity to lead the line against the Latics.
Manchester City have shown some defensive frailty so far this season, conceding seven goals in their opening four games of the campaign. The possibility that Roberto Mancini may again experiment with a back-three makes it tempting to back a Stoke player to open the scoring.
And that man has to be Peter Crouch. The tall forward has begun the season in fine form, netting in each of his last two games for the Potters.
The England international also scored the opening goal in spectacular fashion when these sides met in the corresponding fixture last season and he’s a chunky price to repeat the trick here.
The Sunderland man enjoyed a brilliant Black Cats debut in the Premier League as he scored twice at Swansea. Now the fans will be hoping to see more of the same on his home league debut against Liverpool.
Fletcher’s ongoing absence from the Scotland squad means he has had an interrupted fortnight of training to prepare for this one and against a Reds side struggling to find the net there is every chance the 25-year-old will be the man to break the deadlock in this one.
Indeed, Fletcher is longer odds to open the scoring than Luis Suarez despite home advantage and the fact that he scored more Premier League goals in an inferior side last season.
These selections could all provide healthy returns as singles but combined they equate to a 360/1 shot with Paddy Power for those who are seeking higher returns this weekend.
Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here – you can also follow Adam on
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