The respective priorities of the Carling Cup and Premier League were emphasised by the starting line-ups at the Britannia Stadium this afternoon.
Between them, Stoke boss Tony Pulis and Manchester United counterpart Alex Ferguson made 21 changes, with only Red Devils winger Nani surviving the mass cull from midweek.
After six successive wins in all competitions, United have stabilised their season after that shock defeat at Burnley but Ferguson was expecting a stiff test from a Stoke side who are backed by what he believes are the noisiest fans in the league.
Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Collins, Lawrence, Whelan, Delap, Whitehead, Etherington, Kitson.
Subs: Simonsen, Higginbotham, Cort, Beattie, Pugh, Sanli, Wilkinson.
Man Utd: Foster, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Scholes, Fletcher, Nani, Berbatov, Rooney.
Subs: Kuszczak, Neville, Owen, Anderson, Giggs, Carrick, Jonathan Evans.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)