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October 20, 2012
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: A. Taylor
• Attendance: 75585
W. Rooney 27', 65'
R. van Persie 44'
D. Welbeck 46'
W. Rooney 11' (own goal)
M. Kightly 58'
United didn't have it all their own way but they've picked up a good win today. It was the front three of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck that made the difference with some mesmerising play at times. Thanks for keeping with Goal.com this afternoon. Keep your eyes on the site for all the reaction to this afternoon's games. Follow me on Twitter @matthewgscott for more general football chit-chat. But, for now, goodbye!
90' + 3'
But United have done their job here, there's the full-time whistle!
90' + 2'
Bad news United fans, City have won at the Hawthorns by the looks of it. A last-gasp goal from Dzeko gives them a 2-1 lead.
Three Minutes of added time will be played as United knock the ball around defence. Doubt there will be much to see.
Evans doing well as Adam sends a searching ball up to Crouch but the Northern Irishman nudges the striker out the way and the ball runs to De Gea.
Sloppy passes the order of the day at the moment. First Van Persie wastes a good opening for United whn his ball is played behind Nani before Etherington looks for Crouch but Evans storms in to clear away.
Crouch chests the corner down but his touch is too heavy and is cleared by Evra.
Wilson frees Etherington down the left wing, but the former Tottenham man's cross is blocked behind by Rafael. Stoke make a third change, Wilson Palacios replacing Whitehead.
It's the Potters who are dominating possession now. United are happy to sit deep and hang on to their two-goal lead.
Not so good news for United fans, Edin Dzeko has managed to equalise for Man City at West Brom.
Adam's delivery is headed behind by Ferdinand. The Scot sends in another ball and Owen sneaks in at the near post, but Van Persie manages to block his flicked effort over. A goal kick is given, though.
Crouch buys a free kick, going up early against Ferdinand before crumpling in a heap on the deck. Good opening for Stoke here...
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
United make their third and final change. Danny Welbeck comes off after putting in a fine shift, with Chicharito the man brought on in his place. Stoke are looking for goals still, but Marc Wilson hits a wild effort from range that sails well wide of Ge Gea's goal.
Nani getting in on the action, getting on the end of Evra's deflected pass and forcing Begovic into a save, but it all counts for nothing as the linesman raises his flag for a questionable offside.
The changes are made. Owen applauded onto the pitch by United fans as he replaces Kightly and Valencia is the man to make way for Nani.
The tempo has dropped in the game after United's fourth, more changes are coming too with Michael Owen, returning to Old Trafford, and Nani stripped and ready to be introduced.
Van Persie cuts this way and that with the ball on the edge of the area. He finally works some space before chipping a right-footed shot over. Anderson is brought on for Scholes and Matt Etherington finally gets on the pitch, replacing Walters.
Some great news for United fans filtering through. Manchester City, who are down to 10 men, have gone behind at West Brom to a Shane Long goal.
United sub about to be made. Anderson is ready to come on. I would have thought Paul Scholes will be the man to be replaced.
I told a lie earlier when I said Rooney's first was the 200th of his career, that one was his 199th, but it matters not now as his double century is now up!
GOAL!! That could settle it. Van Persie takes the set-piece and it bobbles around the box before falling to Rooney who tucks home from a few yards out.
Huth fouls Van Persie on the left-hand corner of the area and Rooney swings the ball in, but Huth clears for a corner.
United have gone back to a patient approach as they look to quell any comeback from the hosts, passing the ball calmly around midfield and waiting for an opening.
Unsurprisingly Etherington won't be replacing Kightly anymore.
GOALL!! Stoke are back in it! Whitehead tackles Evra in midfield before feeding Kightly, who was about to be replaced by Etherington. The winger runs and runs and runs towards goal, getting lucky with a deflection off Evans before hitting a left-footed shot low past De Gea that goes in after hitting both posts.
Change coming up for Stoke. Tony Pulis is planning to introduce Matt Etherington as his side look for a foot-hold back in this game.
United could have had four goals already in this half! They go close again as Rafael is released by Valencia down the right channel, before cutting the ball across the six-yard box but Welbeck fails to make contact, sliding in.
A lot of you on Twitter are calling for Shinji Kagawa to be introduced. The Japan international isn't on the bench however, after an arduous international break with plenty of travelling involved.
Rio Ferdinand fancies a bit of the action and breaks forward, playing a one-two with Rooney before feeding Valencia on the right. The defender wants the ball back in the area but the No.7 cuts inside and hits a left-footed shot that is charged down and runs comfortably to Begovic.
Van Persie at his creative best again, playing a ball through the middle that carves the Stoke defence open and finds Welbeck bursting on goal. Geoff Cameron recovers well however, and gets a challenge in on the England man as he gets into the penalty area.
HOW have United not scored?! The corner is played short and a ball in just drifts over everyone but Rooney picks the ball up on the left and plays it in to Evans who heads straight at Begovic from three yards out!
United could not have wished for a better start and they go close again. Rooney steps over the ball and it runs to Van Persie who is in on goal but Whitehead does well to intercept and clear for a corner.
GOALL!!! Superb start to the second period for United! Rooney picks the ball up in space on the right and bends a ball into the area that Welbeck gets on the end of, turning the ball home with a diving header!
And Stoke get us underway,
Well there we go, the teams are back out and Paul Scholes IS on. Second half about to kick off.
We can only wait and see if Paul Scholes does emerge for the second period, but it would certainly be a surprise.
I think @Meracruzo has put it best: "Obviously, Scholes is on a smooth walk into the referee's book again if he isn't substituted."
@Sartaj7utd wants Sir Alex to ring the changes: "Nani should come on for Valencia and Giggs for Scholes."
@danwiz06 is also calling for changes in the home side's engine room: "SAF should really make a change in the midfield."
@Nattie_Bee has some advice for Sir Alex: "Definitely Paul Scholes should come off. From here it's easy for United - Ryan Giggs or Tom Cleverley would do."
So the Red Devils managed to turn that one around just before the end of the half. Can Stoke get back into this game or will the Red Devils extend their lead. Should Sir Alex Ferguson make any changes at the half? Let me know on Twitter @matthewgscott
45' + 3'
And that's half-time! A fine opening period at Old Trafford saw Wayne Rooney's own-goal give Stoke the lead before goals from Rooney and Robin van Persie turned the game around.
45' + 1'
Scholes is walking a tight-rope here. He fells Walters with another poor tackle, it will be interesting to see if the midfielder re-emerges for the second half at this rate.
GoalRobin van Persie
GOALL!!! United are two up! Rooney switches a ball out to Valencia who teases Wilson before picking out Van Persie in the six-yard box who swivels and guides the ball superbly across Begovic and into the far corner.
Hairy moment for United as Walters heads a good ball into the box that Crouch cannot quite get on the end of. United break down the left but Evra's chipped cross heads goalwards and Begovic pouches the ball easily.
Yellow CardPaul Scholes
Paul Scholes into the book after a typically mistimed tackle through the back of Whitehead. A shocking tackle, but exactly what you'd expect.
Great effort from Welbeck! Whitehead is forced to block Rooney's effort after fine work from Scholes and Van Persie but United keep the pressure on with the England international who unleashes a dipping effort from 25 yards that beats Begovic all ends up but flicks the crossbar on its way over.
A poor touch from Valencia on the edge of the area lets Marc Wilson in to make a tackle and the Irishman brings the ball away before finding Walters, but Valencia recovers and fouls Walters on half-way to stop Stoke's counter.
Rooney with another headed effort after fine play from Van Persie. The Dutchman drifts infield with the ball before cutting back and feeding Evra in a wide position. The Frenchman's cross is drifted in and Rooney cannot generate enough power to beat Begovic.
Danny Welbeck started this game on the left with Rooney deep and Van Persie up front, that's all change now with Welbeck operating from deep, Van Persie on the left and Rooney spearheading.
Van Persie hits a great cross-field ball to Rooney who brings the ball down and plays it to an onrushing Welbeck but the young striker finishes rashly again, smashing the ball over form 12 yards.
Welbeck's pace in deep positions is a threat for United today, he once again surges through the midfield before feeding Van Persie on the left. The Dutchman once again puts lovely shape onto his cross but Begovic gathers this one comfortably.
Stoke get a free kick in a decent position with Charlie Adam again looking to create something but the Scot's delivery is poor this time and drifts past Walters and out for a goal kick.
Welbeck looks towards the referee as he tumbles after bringing down Rafael's cross. Ryan Shawcross was the man who made the challenge, but the referee is having none of it.
Yellow CardMichael Kightly
Old Trafford is bouncing now. Michael Kightly picks up the first yellow card of the match, cutting across Rafael as the Brazilian looked to burst down the right wing.
AssistRobin van Persie
GOAL!!! Rooney heads in an equaliser and it's his 200th career goal! More patient build-up frees Van Persie down the left and the Dutchman curls the ball right onto Rooney's forehead who plants the ball into the corner of the net.
United are enjoying plenty of possession in midfield but cannot penetrate the Stoke defence. Scholes' lofted pass to Van Persie is cleared for a throw-in and the ball is worked to Rafael who spots Rooney at the back post, but his ball is too long.
Great save by De Gea! Stoke put a tremendous move together as Walters heads infield from the right before one-touch play from Kightly and Crouch frees Walters inside the box but the Spaniard plunges to his left to parry the Irishman's left-footed effort.
Van Persie slips as a ball is played to him but he manages to nod the ball to Welbeck from the floor. The Dutchman gets the ball back and dithers on the ball before playing a ball inside the area that nobody in red is close to and the chance vanishes.
The game is stretched now as United zoom up the other end. Welbeck brings the ball down the left flank before cutting a ball to Van Persie. The Dutchman returns the ball first time but Welbeck scuffs a left-footed effort wide from 15 yards.
Robin van Persie is cutting a frustrated figure up front. He attempts to burst in behind Huth but is offside. Stoke go up the other end and Adam curls a great cross towards Walters but Evra bravely heads the ball clear, well defended by the Frenchman.
United counter at speed through Valencia on the right but his cross is behind everyone. The ball comes to Evra who looks to smash the ball back into the danger area but it is cleared.
And it's another opening for the Potters! Walters takes the ball down the left flank and sends a deep cross towards Crouch but De Gea saves low from the towering striker's header.
The Stoke fans are making an almighty racket in the away end and their side is in real control of this one. Playing the ball around nicely in midfield.
Wasteful from United. Patrice Evra surges forward and his ball into the area is deflected by Whitehead into Welbeck's path but the England man hits a woeful ball over everyone in the area. Poor delivery.
United are on the ropes here and Stoke very nearly get another. Adam takes the ball down the left and lashes a low effort across goal that is sneaking in at the near post but De Gea does magnificently to claw the ball away.
Own GoalWayne Rooney
GOAL!! Stoke take a shock lead through a Rooney own-goal!! Scholes gives away a free-kick on the right wing unnecessarily and Adam swings it in towards Shawcross but Rooney can only bundle it into his own net.
Almost for United after some fine, patient build-up play but Scholes ball into the area is just over Rooney's head. Stoke look to launch a swift counterattack but Evans defends well against Crouch and the opportunity fizzles out.
Wayne Rooney looks to burst clear from a midfield position but as he looks to turn Robert Huth, the big German catches him with his trailing leg. Huth was maybe lucky not to go in the book there.
Stoke's first effort of the afternoon. De Gea does well to punch a corner clear, and the ball ends up at Charlie Adam's feet but he slashes the ball wide with his right foot.
Van Persie also picked up a knock in the opening, when closed down by Begovic, but he should be fine.
Another nearly moment for the home side as Scholes sends Van Persie clear, but the offside flag goes up with the Dutchman in on goal. Replays suggest he was onside.
United get straight on the attack. Valencia's cross from the right is headed away to Paul Scholes, but the experienced midfielder's volley goes well wide.
United get us underway, kicking from right to left!
@qUameHope99 is another predicting a big home win: "United 4-0 Stoke."
The teams have emerged from the tunnel. Kick-off in three minutes!
Wayne Rooney's next goal will be the 200th of his career. It is also 10 years and one day since his stunning debut for Everton against Arsenal.
@Baylac has had a say: "Man Utd 3-0 Stoke. It's going to be a Rooney and RVP terror."
Get your match predictions in to me on Twitter @matthewgscott. Is anyone expecting anything other than a home win this afternoon?
Some news from the stadium, Rio Ferdinand is warming up without a 'Kick It Out' t-shirt on. The anti-racism organisation have supplied clothes to all Premier League clubs to wear this week but several players around the country are refusing in protest to what they perceive a lack of action in recent weeks.
So it's an attacking line-up for the home side with Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney included. Do Stoke have enough at the back to cope with them?
Stoke City Subs: Sorensen, Palacios, Jones, Owen, Upson, Etherington, Wilkinson
Manchester United Subs: Lindegaard, Anderson, Giggs, Hernandez, Nani, Powell, Wootton
Stoke City XI: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Walters, Whitehead, Nzonzi, Adam, Kightly; Crouch
Manchester United XI: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Scholes, Carrick; Valencia, Rooney, Welbeck; Van Persie
The teams are in at Old Trafford, starting with the home side...
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Manchester United v Stoke City at Old Trafford. I'm Matt Scott, let me know your views and predictions on Twitter @matthewgscott. Who will be the key men today?
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