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Can Manchester United succeed where Arsenal failed and defend Stoke’s long throw?

The Gunners lost 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium a fortnight ago, prompting Arsene Wenger to get in a tizzy about Stoke’s style of play. While the Potters are tough-tackling, most people seem to agree that they are not a dirty team, although it might not stop them picking up a few yellow cards at Old Trafford this weekend!

The Potters travel to Old Trafford with a not-so-secret weapon, something which represents their best chance of scoring against the champions. The Press Association reports that the United players have been discussing the best way of defending against Rory Delap’s long throw-ins, although Mike Phelan is confident that they’ll be able to deal with it better than Arsenal.

“As everyone has seen, those throw-ins are a powerful weapon for Stoke,” Phelan told BBC Radio Manchester. “We will look at things to see how we can play against it.”

He added: “But our central defenders are not scared to put their head in where it might hurt. That is part of the job.

“You have to deal with what comes your way, whether that is a long throw, crosses or anything else.”

Are Stoke going to rattle Manchester United with their long throw-ins, or will the champions be too busy down the other end, creating chances and scoring goals? After a draw at Liverpool, City won’t have any fear when they travel to Old Trafford, and will hope to capitalise on sloppy defending in the way that Hull City did.

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