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October 26, 2013
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 75274
R. van Persie 43'
W. Rooney 78'
J. Hernández 80'
P. Crouch 4'
M. Arnautović 45'
Right, that's all she wrote. I've been Tom J Doyle (@TomJDoyle), and thanks for joining us today and getting involved. Bye for now.
That win keeps United eighth and eight points behind league leaders Arsenal, though any more showings like that and they can forget retaining the Premier League title. Stoke were unfortunate, but they slip to 17th after losing concentration at the vital moment.
@thebigkick_: "I'm only a 9th grade soccer player and I know that it isn't all about the strikers, and confidence takes you far, that is United." Wise words from a young head, there.
Peter Crouch opened the scoring after four minutes before Robin van Persie levelled on 43 minutes, but Marko Arnautovic put the visitors ahead a minute later. The Red Devils toiled away with no joy until Rooney headed them level on 78 minutes, before Hernendez won in two minutes later, much to Moyes' relief.
That's it! Manchester United beat Stoke City 3-2 after a quickfire double from Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez in the final 15 minutes, though in truth the Potters deserved at least a point, and probably all three.
90' + 5'
Yellow Card Antonio Valencia
90' + 3'
Seconds to go - can Stoke find a late, late equaliser...
90' + 2'
@katangatimothy: "all out attack. a typical united side. the late goals they are known for." They won't be able to rely on that all season though...
90' + 1'
Stoke are trying to find a way through but can't break down United's defence in the dying stages - it's so frustrating for the Potters as they've been the better side for the majority of the game.
Stoppage time now and United look to be escaping with three points - David Moyes will take that, but the fans will surely not stand for many more performances like the first 75 minutes.
Walters thinks he's playing in 1973 and tries to barge the ball out of De Gea's hands after Rooney nonchalantly heads back to the keeper. Shawcross finishes the rebound but the whistle had already gone.
Crouch kicks the ball away in frustration and is already on a booking. but Lee Mason doesn't take things further and the striker stays on the pitch.
Five minutes to go here and United who are pushing for a fourth - though they've got three strikers, a winger, two attacking midfielders and Patrice Evra on, so they can't exactly go defensive can they...
Yellow Card Robert Huth
@arun__raman: "and that's more like united we know." The comeback is typical United, but the performance has been anything but - if they get three points today, Hughes won't quite believe it.
Huth goes into the bookm now for bodychecking Hernandez as he attempts to run through down the line - that's the sixth booking for Stoke today.
After so many poor crosses and underhit passes, two great deliveries give United a scarcely-deserved lead - but Stoke only have themselves to blame as they went to sleep and let United have two unmarked headers in two minutes. Mark Hughes is fuming on the touchline.
Assist Patrice Evra
Goal Javier Hernández
HERNANDEZ PUTS UNITED AHEAD!!! What a massive couple of minutes that could be for the hosts, and for David Moyes. Evra does brilliantly down the left flank and finds space before hanging up a fine cross in the centre, which the Mexican meets unmarked to head home from six yards.
Assist Robin van Persie
Goal Wayne Rooney
ROONEY LEVELS IT!!! It's 2-2 as the striker loses Huth and meets Van Persie's fine corner with a firm glancing header over Begovic at the near post to set up a grandstand finish. Game on!
Antonio Valencia is on to offer more width down the right, and is already looking sharp as United win a free kick near the corner flag. Rooney's cross meets the frst man but it's a corner...
United push for an equaliser with the ball eventually falling for Hernandez at the back post, but the striker fluffs his shot well wide from eight yards. So, so poor from such a talented player.
Van Persie looks for Evra on the left wing but his pass is poor and easily cut out - Rooney may be in great form under Moyes, but the Dutch striker hasn't had a good season so far, despite his goal today.
Rooney tees up Januzaj for a shot from 20 yards, but Shawcross gets out to close down the effort - the centre-back has had a top game today.
We've got just under 20 minutes left at Old Trafford and Stoke are closing in on a memorable victory. Have United got anything left to get back into this one?
Hughes makes the smart change and brings off Palacios before he gets sent off, replacing him with Glenn Whelan.
Yellow Card Javier Hernández
Time for the Little Pea to prove his worth, as Javier Hernandez comes on - and is booked within 10 seconds for going in late as Huth clears the ball! The Stoke fans were baying for blood, and the striker could perhaps have seen red on another day.
Yellow Card Marc Wilson
Wilson isn't as lucky as Palacios as he scythes down Jones, earning a deserved booking.
Palacios has to be careful - he's just been booked and catches Januzaj again here, but Mason keeps his cards in his pocket.
Yellow Card Wilson Palacios
A first sign of nerves from Stoke now as Robert Huth shanks a Kagawa cross over his own bar when under no pressure at all... but United watse the corner yet again.
De Gea has to race 40 yards out here to prevent Stoke finding a way in after a through ball - a tad desperate there.
Yellow Card Stephen Ireland
Ireland goes in hard but fair on Januzaj here, but Mason doesn't like it and he's cautioned.
Goals for the away side at Old Trafford may not be a rare occurrence any more, but Arnautovic is the first away player to score a free-kick at Old Trafford since Charlie Adam (Blackpool) back in May 2011, says Opta Sports.
United are seeing plenty of the ball but Stoke are very disciplined without it, frustrating the hosts and strangling the life out of the game - Hughes will be delighted with his side so far.
Moyes decides enough is enough and replaces Nani with Januzaj - there's a massive reaction for the youngster, and some boos for the Portuguese. Not pleasant for the winger, but his final ball has been atrocious today.
The England striker leaves it for Van persie, who can only find the wall - United collect the rebound, but Cleverley can only find Begovic with a poor cross.
Cleverley shows good turn of pace and Wilson Palacios jumps in with two feet to give away the free kick - the midfielder is furious at no caution, but Rooney lines it up...
Liverpool meanwhile lead West Brom 2-0, which would leave them nine points ahead of United after nine games. Arsenal would be 11 ahead of the champions, so goals are very much needed.
Smalling looks for options from a throw and dallies before throwing to nani, who loses the ball and United give away a free kick. It's been that kind of day for the Red Devils.
Evra drives in a low cross which Rooney collects at the near post, and wins a corner from a strong deflected shot. More pressure from the hosts.
A first change for Stoke as Marc Wilson comes on to replace the injured Arnautovic - that's a blow for the visitors, as the Austrian has been excellent today.
United and Stoke trade crossing opportunities, but neither side can find a good delivery. It has to be said one of Moyes' main problems seems to be in setting his side up to play a wide crossing game with no naturally gifted crossers of the ball - it's obvious why he was after Leighton Baines.
Absolutely no need for Mark Hughes to change things at the interval - the only worry he will have is how to get his side to replicate that first 45 minutes. Motivation and concentration is key.
Lee Mason blows his whistle and we're underway again - no subs at half-time, so Moyes must be expecting a serious improvement from his starting XI.
Is there hope for United in this half? @thebigkick_ says yes: "if United can regain confidence and keep control in their midfield more decently, and defence show strength, they can take anyone."
It's curious that Chris Smalling is presumably preferred to Rafael today for his height and strength, yet Marouane Fellaini languishes on the bench, as arun__raman suggests: "This is the game Moyes should have played Fellaini at least for his physical presence."
What do you think Moyes needs to do to get back into this one? @lilchaver: "moyes needs to change that 4-4-2 formation....the players look isolated from each other, it can't work for us."
Stoke's goal was only the 9th United have conceded at home before the fifth minute in the Premier League era; five have come since August 2012, according to Opta Sports. It seems an early start is the best bet for visitors then.
Are United genuinely in crisis now? @Jahmess4real_ thinks so: "i see stoke city crushing man utd bitterly. they have lost hope of retaining or winning d league. #unitedCRISIS"
That's the break and Stoke lead Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford. Roin van Persie levelled things up after Peter Crouch's opener, but Marko Arnautovic's vicious free kick leaves the Potters 45 minutes away from a major win. It's decision time for David Moyes...
45' + 3'
Yellow Card Ryan Shawcross
45' + 1'
It's all getting a bit heated at Old Trafford as Ryan Shawcross and Van Persie square up after a few altercations in the box, and the referee has to calm things down.
Goal Marko Arnautovic
ARNAUTOVIC SCORES!!! What a crazy couple of minutes as Stoke retake the lead, with the summer signing whipping in a wonderful free kick from the left of the area which hits the bar, De Gea, and then nestles in the net. So much for all-square at half-time...
Yellow Card Peter Crouch
Goal Robin van Persie
VAN PERSIE EQUALISES!!! From the counter Nani crosses from the right and finds Rooney at the back post, whose header is brilliantly stopped by Begovic. The Dutch striker is on hand though to volley in past the despairing keeper from 10 yards for his ninth in seven games against the Potters.
Cameron plays a delightful ball over the top to Walters, who finds Crouch in the area with a lofted cross. The England forward can't control it though, and United break...
Five minutes till half time and full credit must go to Hughes - his side look well-structured, eager for the ball, and fully deserve their lead. Worryingly for United, Stoke may be disappointed they're only sa goal to the good.
Arnautovic fancies his chances from 20 yards, but bends the effort well over De Gea's bar. The Spanish keeper is furious with his players - and so he should be.
Jones tries to do it all himself here as he surges forward and plays a one-two with Kagawa, but can't quite retain possession inside the Stoke penalty area.
Corner to Stoke as the visitors break down the right, with Jones forced into a desperate block to prevent Arnautovic finding Crouch in the middle. The youngster shouts at his team-mates as the Potters are getting far too much time and space.
How can Moyes change things up? @viqbize says Adnan is the answer: "Januzaj is needed, he should be introduced in d 2nd half. He's very skillful."
Rio Ferdinand watches on from the stands, and can't be too happy with how United's defence are playing today. There's no shape, no leadership, and mistake after mistake costing possession.
Patrice Evra wins another corner as his cross is deflected out - the hosts' balls into the box haven't been good enough today, while Stoke's deliveries have been pin-point.
Begovic saves from Rooney! The striker collects the ball 30 yards out and tries to bend a curling effort over the keeper, but the Potters stopper is equal to it and tips it over the bar.
Arnautovic meets a cross on the volley from 20 yards, but De Gea collects it relatively easily. Stoke seem much more balanced than the hosts at the moment.
There's groans from around the ground as United struggle to get back into this one. Cries of 'United' United' go up, but Moyes' men have done little to give the fans much hope.
Close for Nani! The winger strikes a trademark effort from distance which fizzes just wide of the right-hand post.
Walters goes close again! De Gea is having a great game despite the early goal, and pulls off a fine stop to deny the striker on the volley from 12 yards after being teed up by Crouch. The United centre-backs just cannot handle the big forward in the air.
Kagawa slides a ball across the six-yard line, but can't find Rooney or Van Persie - it wouldn't have counted as the Japanese playmaker is given offside.
Cleverley goes down in the area and United players half-heartedly appeal for a foul, but there was nothing in it - the England midfielder has been sloppy in the early stages, and needs to pick up his game.
It's Rooney's turn to shoot now, with the England striker punting a low effort wide of Begovic's left-hand post from 30 yards. Not a bad effort, but not good enough.
Walters shoots from 25 yards here, but hits his effort high over the bar. Still, it's another chance for the Potters, who have sown no fear today.
Ominous times for United, says @VictorEkwuribe: "whether or not we win this game, I see the title chase over." Are the champions able to defend their Premier League title?
United retain possession in the centre and break, with Wayne Rooney feeding Tom Cleverley who wins a corner. Jonny Evans takes an air-shot at Rooney's set-piece though and the Potters survive.
So close for Crouch! It should be 2-0 to Stoke as Arnautovic gets down the left easily again and crosses to the back post - Jon Walters gets up well to nod back for Crouch, who side-foots a volley just over the bar from six yards. My word.
If United are to get back into this one, they'll need Van Persie to be back to his reliable self - he's scored eight in seven league games against the Potters, so has form for it.
@tony_okey called it right with regards to Stoke's confidence early on: "i guessed it right, stoke take the lead. More confidence now, bigger threat to the hosts"
There's plenty of urgency about the hosts, with Nani putting in a low cross now which Asmir Begovic collects easily. The Portuguese winger has been poor with his end product today, but he;s seen a lot of the ball.
Nani blazes an effort over the bar from 20 yards - that's the second time he's found himself in a shooting position. United have started brightly, but find themselves a goal behind.
@rcallaghan17: "win for United already... 11 points behind arsenal, if they don't win today, title is over for them." Chasing down that lead has just gotten more difficult for the hosts...
Goal Peter Crouch
CROUCH SCORES!!! The Potters lead after Arnautovic gets down the left and crosses well for the striker - his initial effort is brilliantly stopped by De Gea, but Phil Jones clears the ball against Crouch from a yard out and United are losing at home again!
Van Persie turns Shawcross easily on the right of the box and fizzes in a low cross, but Cameron is well placed to hoof away the ball to stop Rooney from scoring.
We're off! @femmy_63072 asks whether Nani is playing on the left or right flank, and it appears that the Portuguese is starting on the right, with Kagawa down the left.
The sides are out and we're about ready to go...
If Stoke go for it today, there's every chance they'll get opportunities in the forward areas, as United have made the most defensive clearances in the league this season with 313. Old Trafford isn't quite the fortress it once was, it seems.
If you want to get involved today, tweet @TomJDoyle and the best responses will be featured as we go along.
Meanwhile Mark Hughes starts Peter Crouch up front, while Steven Ireland has been entrusted to be the creative fulcrum of the side. With West Brom winning and Southampton taking a point in United's last two home games, the Potters may well fancy their chances today.
The big news for the hosts is that Robin van Persie is back in the starting line-up after toe injuries, while Shinji Kagawa is also rewarded with a fine performance against Real Sociedad with a rare start.
Stoke subs: Sorensen, Whelan, Jones, Wilson, Adam, Assaidi, Wilkinson.
Stoke XI: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Walters, Palacios, Ireland, Nzonzi, Arnautovic; Crouch.
Man Utd subs: Lindegaard, Rafael, Fellaini, Januzaj, Young, Valencia, Hernandez.
Man Utd XI: De Gea; Smalling, Jones, Evans, Evra; Nani, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa; Rooney, van Persie.
Good afternoon and welcome to the LIVE Text Commentary of Manchester United v Stoke City. I'm Tom J Doyle (@TomJDoyle), and it's not been an easy start for David Moyes at Old Trafford; with Arsenal beating Crystal Palace moments ago, the Red Devils are now 11 points behind the Gunners with a game in hand. No pressure on the hosts then...
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