Game: Stoke City Vs Manchester United
Venue: Brittania Stadium, Stoke On-Trent, England
Competition : League Match
Hello people, how was your weekend? Mine was not exactly great, do keep reading and you’ll see why. Victory over Leeds in the carling cup on Tuesday was good, as the Red Devils qualified for the 4th round. A Michael Owen brace and a goal from Ryan Giggs earned United a 3-0 score line. A fair result from my point of view. The Red Devils face Aldershot in the next round. Just incase you missed it, my darling team dropped points against Stoke City. For me it wasn’t surprising and I hope this result will spur the lads on and not the opposite. Stoke City is a side that has awesome supporters. Their fans are said to be amongst the most loyal fans in world football today. Their stadium has about the scariest atmosphere in the EPL with their ever loud chants. Against daunting odds Stoke are participating in the Europa league, thanks to the runner up position they achieved in last season’s FA cup and they are not doing too badly. They recently knocked out Harry Redknapp’s Spurs team in the Carling cup and despite being thrashed 4-0 by Sunderland in their last league match, they are still occupying a decent position in the EPL.
Going into the game, Stoke had never gained an EPL point against Man Utd since their promotion to the top flight in 2008. With that being said the Potters as they are sometimes called are a force to reckon with especially at the Brittania stadium where they play their home game. With a draw against Chelsea and victory over Liverpool, it shows how difficult a side they can be. Prior to this game they have lost just once. Though the season is still young this stat is a surprise to many. Tony Pulis who is the manager has made this team very competitive and improved the squad with some quality signings and a little bit of experience. He bought Peter Crouch from Spurs, Cameron Jerome from Birmingham, Jonathan Woodgate and Wilson Palacios also from Spurs and Matthew Upson from Westham.
I hoped the Red Devils would emerge victorious. It was however not meant to be. United still had players out due to injury with young defenders Johny Evans and Chris Smalling joining Tom Cleverly, Vidic and Rafael, hence missing out of the Brittania party. The painful thing for me on the day was Rooney’s injury minutes before kickoff. He pulled his hamstring which will now sideline him for a week or so. Like I said after the Bolton game, injury to Wayne Rooney or loss of form could cause problems for the Red Devils. The starting line up for Stoke had Asmir Begovic, Jonathan Woodgate, Ryan Shawcross, Marc Wilson, Andy Wilkinson, Glenn Whelan, Rory Delap, Matthew Etherington, Jermaine Pennant, Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters. The wealth of Injuriess forced Sir Alex to ring some changes to his side with David Degea maintaining his position, Evra, Phil Jones, Ferdinand, Valencia (at right back due to Smalling and Rafael’s injury), Anderson, Fletcher, Nani, Young, Berbatov and Chicharito completed the line up.
The game kicked off with Man Utd dominating but the hard tackling Stoke players made life difficult for the United players. Hitting them like it was a rugby match. These tough tackles led to Chicharito hobbling off the pitch after being fouled by Woodgate. I still wonder how the ref didn’t see that as a penalty. He was replaced by in form Owen in the 11th minute. The game went on with both sides looking for a breakthrough but it was United who would smile 1st. The Red Devils’ goal came in the 27th minute, a typical Luis Nani finish. He breezed through the Stoke defenders before unleashing a low shot to right corner of Begovic’s goal. Stoke pressed for an equaliser but De Gea made some great saves from Walters and Wilkinson. United went into the halftime with the 1 nil lead.
Having finished the 1st half strongly, Stoke City picked up from where they left off and got an equaliser 7 minutes after the restart through record signing Crouch. It is my opinion that he fouled Phil Jones. Game on and both sides created chances but gailed to convert. Peter Crouch almost scored his 2nd of the night but Dejo was on hand to make a superb save again. The introduction of Giggs and Welbeck in place of Young and Berbatov respectively in the 70th looked good and yes they settled in quickly. I could have placed bets on a Man Utd winner from there on, but we all know the story now. The game ended 1-1. Stoke City finally earned a well deserved point against Man Utd ending United’s 100% start to the season.
My man of the match was David Degea. He made wonderful saves and I’m glad he continues to improve with every game. This maybe surprising to all, but Degea sits on top of the player index rating with over 30 saves in his 6 EPL games. I will also praise the efforts of Fletcher, Jones and Nani on the night. Peter Crouch and Andy Wilkinson also had a decent game.
Next up for Man Utd is a champions league group game against FC Basel of Switzerland at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
As always I thank you for reading. I really appreciate you………………… Bless
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