Manchester United 2-0 Stoke City – as it happened
Two penalties scored, and there should have been a couple more given to Manchester United, who secured a routine victory against a poor Stoke City. Image: Well Offside.
90 min + 3: That was a dreadful miss, really. Anyway, it’s full time.
90 min + 3: Valencia drifts into the box, like a hot, hot man through butter, pulls it back for Berbatov who clips the ball wastefully wide.
90 + 2 min: Ricardo Fuller cuts in from the left, but his shot is always dragging wide of the goal.
90 min: Smalling is penalised for a foul on Huth as he defended the ball in the corner. I don’t understand what he did wrong. Anyway, three minutes added time left for us tonight.
89 min: Manchester United are playing for time, now. All eyes must be on Goodinson Park.
87 min: A fantastic diagonal ball from Scholes towards Valencia earns a corner, but nothing comes of it despite a lovely turn towards goal from Pogba towards goal. He then gets the ball back a moment later, and his cross along the six yard box goes begging. Did Pogba hate Ravel Morrison or something? He looks so much better.
86 min: Flip all happening.
82 min: Huth is booked for a clear trip to end an Evra burst through onto goal. He probably would have missed, let’s be honest. Jonny Evans gives the ball away casually. Maybe he could replace Ferdinand in the long run.
79 min: Kenwyne Jones intercepts a careless backpass, but can’t beat the defender for pace, forcing a shot into the side netting. United should be careful here given the other results.
78 min: Manchester United earn a free kick on the right after he’s bundled over. Pogba has been all over Stoke since his introduction, he looks properly on one.
76 min: United are rampant. About seven passes around the box as United probe, ending with Pogba putting in a cross headed away for a corner. The speed at which they are passing is absolutely unrecognisable from half of their act this season.
74 min: Valencia, who I love, cuts back a ball for Park but the midfielder’s strike is stopped brilliantly by a Wilkinson (I think) block. Palacios is replaced by Delap, and Walters is replaced by Fuller for Stoke.
73 min: Javier Hernandez, who offered a slightly improved performance, is replaced by Paul Pogba. That he has come on tonight suggests he could be the midfield tearaway who gets to stay.
71 min: Evra claims for another penalty, but it was tough to tell what actually happened as he was challenged in the box. The attack dies down as United are forced to pass back to their keeper. On the replay it looks like Evra, who pick ed up a neat pass from Berbatov, was fouled by a late tackle. It should have been a penalty. United earn a free kick from 30 yards after a clumsy Shawcross challenge.
70 min: United are just pissing around now. They are a very, very careless team when they go ahead this season.
68 min: Everton have scored. Here’s some City stats I stole from Smyth: ‘City scored 23 goals in their first six away league games and got 16 points. In the five and three quarters since they have scored three goals and have five points.’
66 min: Stoke earn a corner after Pennant’s cross is deflected by Ferdinand who’d come out. The ball is cleared, and there’s been a clash of heads, as one of the Stoke players absolutely smashes into the back of Carrick.
65 min: Smalling should have had a foul on the right in the corner when Walters pulled his shirt a few times, but the assistant referee called it the other way, which is a very odd, and incorrect, decision. Stoke attack now, but United are defending deep.
64 min: Some technical problems. While I was away Ben Amos made a decent save from a Cameron Jerome header.
60 min: Chris Smalling with an agricultural one, and now Stoke City have a corner.
57 min: Amos calmly punches a cross clear. What is it with ginger keepers right now, there’s him at that guy Bogdan who looks competent at Bolton. Cameron Jerome replaces the ineffective Peter Crouch. He’s unlikely to be worse, that’s for sure.
55 min: Apparently Pulis is in a general funk. Here’s Daniel Harris, ‘ Pulis started a row with ferg on way off at ht – mate said it looked like he shoved him. Was over scholes tackle which shows impressive brass neck – one that ferg could still snap in two.’
53 min: GOAL! Manchester United 2-0 Stoke City (Berbatov). Berbatov drills a shot to Sorensen’s left, low into the corner. The ‘keeper can’t get there despite guessing correctly – it was a fine penalty.
52 min: Penalty! That should be, and is, another penalty. Valencia is put through with a lovely chipped ball forward. Jon Walters, ridiclously, clambers all over him and pulls him back. Pulis is annoyed with the ref. Ridiculous.
50 min: Smalling with a deft pass to Berbatov, but his shot is blocked, after an oddly bad first touch. A Berbatov bad touch and Sex Oaf scores on the same night. Be careful out there.
48 min: Stoke’s first attack ends in a limp Wilkinson poked pass through to the goalkeeper. Emails please!
47 min: It’s still nil-nil at Everton, by the way. My friends are at the pub, and I’m here doing this.
45 min: We’re back again, it’s a great time to be alive, just look at Dimitar Berbatov’s hair cut.
Half time. You can find the goals from tonight here.
45 min + 1: Why has someone handcuffed themself to a post at Everton? Is this an FFP protest?
45 min: Rafael has managed to get through the first half on the bench without injury. Well done, Rafael!
43 min: I think it should have been another penalty for Unted. Valencia’s cross seemed to be handballed, but referees can’t give away two penalties like in quick succession, because they just can’t. Scholes then puts in a dreadful challenge from behind on Jones as he broke forward, and is deservedly booked. Jones is down in pain.
42 min: Another Stoke free kick is floated into Jones, who can only direct his header at Amos, who has had an easy game so far.
40 min: Stoke have plenty of possession, in keeping with United’s tactic of playing well until they score until they go one up. Scholes hacks Pennant on the right, and the free kick is so woeful it doesn’t make the box.
38 min: Goal! Manchester United 1-0 Stoke City (Hernandez). A fine penalty, Hernandez sends Sorensen to his left, and the Mexican slides a soft pass into the opposite corner.
PENALTY! A fine move from United. Scholes and Berbatov pass quickly in front of the goal, and Park is put in with a lovely pass only for Pennant to trip him before he can shoot, and is booked for his trouble.
36 min: Valencia with some great footwork to control a Scholes pass watches as Smalling does the opposite, absent-mindedly backheeling his pass forward out.
33 min: So, so close. Park and Berbatov exchange a pass, and Carrick is slipped in down the left. From a tight angle he beats the keeper, but it drifts inches wide. He should have scored, but he’s a limited player, so what do you expect?
31 min: Stoke have come back into the game a little, with a long range shot sliced wide by Kenwyne Jones, and then Crouch falls over.
29 min:Very close for United, as Valencia – put in by a great Berbatov pass down the right – drills a high cross that Sorensene has to palm away.
28 min: Half-decent work from Evra, who is in space on the left. He tries to curl a ball into the six yard box where defenders and attackers had massed, but it’s a weak cross into the side netting in the end.
27 min: Evra tumbles under a slight challenge, but it’s definitely no foul. He’s been much improved recently, but made a mistake at the weekend to concede the winner at Anfield.
26 min: Carrick flicks a ball in to Berbatov, who controls it with his guts, but not so well that it can’t be kicked away for a corner. Stoke think it was a handball, but the replay I saw wasn’t conclusive. Nothing from the corner, obviously.
24 min: @Straynomad (kill me) says, ‘Berbatov is too good for Hernandez.’ I’m not sure. Berbatov is in some senses too good for everyone, but it’s just a case of Hernandez looking for form.
23 min: Carrick’s cross is whipped in well, but as you’d expect, headed away simply enough. The height advangtage will require United to be much more accurate with their crosses. They’re having most of the possession but creating few clear chances. Bring Sneijder on.
20 min: Michael Carrick picks up a scooped Scholes pass forward that had been headed away. It’s well struck, but deflected over. From the corner, the ball comes back to Paul Scholes who hits a volley sweetly just from the edge of the area, deflected right for a goal kick. That was very, very close. The next corner comes to nought.
17 min: United enjoy a decent spell of possession, the ball is worked to Valencia, who turns Huth and drills a hard shot into the box, that comes off a Stoke defender for a throw in.
15 min: Stoke attack down the left again through Wikson, but his cross is poor and cleared by Evans and Ferdinand together. This isn’t a great game, really. Pennant then puts in a very good cross into the six yard box but Amos claims well.
12 min: Wilson’s cross towards Crouch is called a foul. It was possibly an iffy decision. If he wasn’t so incredibly weak he might not need to be so awkward in the challenge.
9 min: Manchester United’s corner, won from a neat Berbatov flick to almost put Hernandez in, is cleared at the second attempt. Berbatov looks delightful today.
6 min: Kenwyne Jones collects a Crouch knockdown and leathers it wide from distance. Not much of note here.
4 min: Jon Walters drives forward from the halfway line, past a few defenders and lets rip with a forty yarder. It’s not that far way, but it’s not hit well enough to concern Amos.
2 min: Scholes and Hernandez play the ball left, and Ji-Sung Park’s cross is overhit, out for a goal kick.
1 min: We’ve kicked off, it’s lovely stuff so far. I joke.
Here’s Callum on the trouser debate: ‘Trousers are odd things because they’re the hardest to buy even though they’re the one area you’ll generally want to keep it simple and not take any risks. It’s really hard. Being a man is really hard. You can publish this if you want.’ I totally agree. I can publish this if I want. Oh, look! I just did.
Eight minutes before the relentless fun hits us. Make a cup of tea and do a line. It’s on, baby.
I think my favourite Whitney Houston song is, ‘The Greatest Love of All.’
Trouser news. I want to buy some trousers but haven’t found any decent ones. Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat’s my life!
Team news, utter jazz:
Manchester United: Amos, Evans, Evra, Ferdinand, Smalling, Valencia, Carrick, Park, Scholes, BERBATOV, Hernandez.
Subs: Kuszczak, Giggs, Welbeck, Fabio, Rafael, Pogba, W. Keane.
Stoke City: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Pennant, Palacios, Whitehead, Walters, Jones, Crouch.
Subs: Begovic, Whelan, Fuller, Delap, Etherington, Jerome, Woodgate.
Who really cares?
Kalle ‘Sex’ Weis-Fogh chips in on little Mike. ‘I once had my copy of “The Spirit Of Cricket” by acclaimed author Bobby Smith signed by wee Mickey Owen himself: “Kalle, thanks for all the support down the years, I hope I changed your life. Lots of love, Michael Owen.” He did, I mean, he has. Changed my life.’
Preamble. Right, let’s get startled, yeah? Manchester United have 500 injuries but I’m sure by the end of the night it will be at least 503. Stoke City are up against Ben Amos, probably, tonight, as both David De Gea and Anders Lindegaard are out with various injuries. Wayne Rooney also looks likely to miss tonight with an ankle injury. So, in essence, we have the incredibly effective long ball filth of Stoke City versus the incredibly ineffective dour nonsense served up by Manchester United, possibly with Michael Owen. Michael Owen! Michael Owen for Manchester United! In other news, unrelated, no strikers have been bought by either side this transfer window. Ladies and gentleman, Michael Owen and Peter Crouch. I love life.