Recently, United found themselves involved in a 'relegation' battle with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Given the club's 8th placing at the moment, its fair to call their clash with Stoke City at Old Trafford a mid-table clash as the Potters more often than not finish in mid-table.

The above is part of the stick that rival fans have enjoyed throwing in the way of United fans as the club endures its worst start to a top flight league campaign in over a two and a half decades. As already poited out in the Real Soceidad review post, the measure of how far back we've fallen is evidenced by the fact that a win and defeat for all teams above us would still leave us in 8th place going into the 9th fixture of the season. It's a testament of the work that we have to put in between now and Christmas to get to near the top by New Years' Day. Sir Alex always spoke of the need to be at the top or thereabouts by the turn of the year to have a chance to challenge for the title so its imperative that we make up for our horror start these next few months.

Stoke City are abysmal. They should be one of the weakest side in the division that will make the trip to Old Trafford this season so it should be three points for us come Saturday evening. The problem is so should have the 4 points dropped to West Brom and Stoke. The Manchester United that is turning up for Champions League games seems more accomplished and up to the task than the one turning out for league games. Perhaps the manager is under less pressure in Europe because goodness knows United will not win the European Cup this year, and yet he finds himself under the expectation of wins in domestic fixtures. That however is a theory, but you'd like to think that Moyes will now find a place for Shinji Kagawa in the team or at least ahead of the likes of Valencia and Ashley Young. Maybe Soceidad are that bad, but the Shinji I saw on Wednesday was the one I saw two years ago doing it for BVB Dortmund in the Bundesliga. Given our apparent difficulty in breaking down the opposition and finding goals, having Shinhi and Januzaj plus the attacking duo of Wayne and RVP upfront, perhaps supported by Nani is as creative as we can get.

We've been unlucky with our chances of late and so you feel that someone is due a hiding at Old Trafford. It would be a much needed hiding tomorrow. We're desperately in need of a run of wins and we must get that run started tomorrow. It is not yet too late for United to win the league even from this position, but you feel that only a run of wins can save us in that respect at the moment. On the flip side, you feel that we are just the one bad result from relinquishing our title. If that isn't motivation to kick-start our season, then I don't know what is.