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UNITEDRANT

Reds aiming for six pack at Stoke

Ed September 24, 2011 Tags: , Matches 110 comments

The Britannia Stadium, they say, is a cauldron of hostility and Tony Pullis’ Stoke City team the most aggressively direct of any in the Premier League. And while Stoke’s supporters continue to live with the bizarre notion that there is a local rivalry with United to maintain, Pullis’ team is a far better footballing outfit than the pervading popular opinion.

Manchester United head to the Britannia Saturday afternoon seeking a sixth straight Premier League win, in what is the Reds’ best start to a season since 1985. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men face a stern test of that record but, boasting a flawless record against the Potters in recent times, travel South in confident mood.

Ron Atkinson’s ’85 team won 10 straight in the old First Division before old failings were exposed and United finished a disappointing fourth. Atkinson would have only a year left in the job by the his side dropped its first points. With games against Liverpool at Anfield and the derby with Manchester City to come the odds are firmly in favour of Atkinson retaining one of the few records Ferguson has not broken in the 25 years since the Scot took over at Old Trafford.

In any case, chasing records is a notion to which Ferguson gives short shrift, preferring to concentrate on the here-and-now and another examination of his team’s title credentials.

“There is no point analysing our start in terms of previous years,” said Ferguson on Friday.

“I am just enjoying the moment and hope it lasts longer than normal. You know somewhere along the line we will lose a game or drop a point. That is a fact. That is the league we are in. Does it matter if you win the league? No it doesn’t. You deal with the situations as they come along. If we have a defeat, the next week you try to win.”

Ferguson will be without a trio of injured stars – Nemanja Vidic, Rafael da Silva, and potentially Chris Smalling, who has a minor calf problem. Captain Vidic’s return could again be delayed, with the giant Serbian suffering with an ongoing shoulder problem that has failed to clear. But United should welcome back defender Rio Ferdinand for the fixture. The former England captain has missed games against Benfica and Chelsea with a hamstring strain, but is likely to start at the Britannia.

“He has not done any training and just been having treatment,” Ferguson said of the 32-year-old defender.

“Calves can be troublesome that way. When Bryan Robson did his, it kept him out for three months. Rio’s [injury] record is fact. We wish it was better but we use him to our advantage when we have him available because you cannot dismiss the experience he brings. He missed a couple [of matches] after Bolton and one after West Brom, but I don’t mind that because with the squad we have got we utilise him the way we want to.

“We’re delighted with [Chris] Smalling, [Jonny] Evans and [Phil] Jones because the three of them have been magnificent and no doubt they’re the long-term future, but there are occasions when you bring in the bit of experience that Rio offers and it does make a difference. You saw at Bolton, he absolutely walked through the game.”

Stoke City versus Manchester United, Premier League, Britannia Stadium, 5.30pm, 24 September 2011.Elsewhere, Ferguson is likely to persist with the attacking quartet that began against Chelsea, with Javier Hernández having recovered from the bruised shin suffered after Ashley Cole’s brutal assault last week. While Wayne Rooney is rightly taking the plaudits, with 10 goals in all competitions this season, Ashley Young and Nani have nine assists between them in the league alone.

The game is also likely to be a major test for goalkeeper David de Gea, the Spaniard who has visibly grown in confidence as the season progressed, from the early mistakes against City and West Bromwich Albion, to the excellent display in last week’s match with Chelsea that prompted the Manchester Evening News to award the 20-year-old it’s man-of-the-match gong.

Indeed, de Gea has been put through a rigorous training regimen at Carrington this week in preparation for Rory Delap’s long-throw missile that proffers Stoke both chances and territorial advantage.

“It’s an eye-opener for any goalkeeper,” added Ferguson.

“I remember discussing with Edwin what his position would be in terms of the long throw-ins and where he was most comfortable dealing with the situation. We got it right then and we are doing the same with David. All the work this week has been on his position and where he should be.”

Despite United’s strong record against Stoke in recent seasons – a 100 per cent win rate since the Potters’ promotion in 2008 – Ferguson warns against any complacency, with Liverpool losing in the city last week and Chelsea held to a draw. Yet the Scot refuses to join in the chorus of critics about Stoke’s style of play.

“It’s never been a problem for us,” adds the United boss.

“Everyone plays to their strengths. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You see the progress the team is making. They have signed two or three players, they are playing European football and having a right go. They have a great attitude and their support is brilliant.”

Meanwhile, Pullis will be without striker Kenwyne Jones who is out after picking up a hamstring injury in the Potters midweek Carling Cup tie. But Matthew Upson could retain his place after a strong performance against Tottenham Hotspur this week.

Atkinson’s first dropped points 26 years ago came in a 1-1 draw at Luton Town. The Hatters now play in the Blue Square Premier. The smart money says Stoke is unlikely to repeat the feat this weekend.

Match Facts
Stoke City versus Manchester United, Premier League, Britannia Stadium, 5.30pm, 24 September 2011.

Likely Line-ups
United (4-4-1-1): de Gea; Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Nani, Carrick, Anderson, Young; Rooney; Hernandez. Subs from: Lindegaard, Fabio, Evans, Giggs, Evans, Fletcher, Pogba, Park, Diouf, Owen, Berbatov, Welbeck.

Stoke (4-4-2): Begovic; Huth, Woodgate, Upson, Shawcross; Pennant, Delap, Palacios, Etherington; Jones, Crouch. Subs from: Sorensen, Whitehead, Wilkinson, Whelan, Walters, Wilson, Shotton, Wilson, Diao, Jerome

Form
Stoke: WLDLD
United: WWDWW

EA performance stats

  • The Manchester United team covered a total of 76.59 miles during the 3-1 win at Old Trafford against Chelsea, with Nani covering 7.99 miles, Darren Fletcher 7.65 miles and Wayne Rooney 7.55 miles
  • Wayne Rooney scored his ninth Premier League goal in last Sunday’s win. The striker has now, on average, scored a goal every 53 minutes 40 seconds of Premier League action this season. He is also the Premier League player to have had the most total shots (24) this season.
  • Rooney remains the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s top ranked player. United boasts four more players in the top 10: Ashley Young (2nd), Nani (6th), Anderson (7th) and de Gea (10th)

Officials
Referee: Peter Walton (Long Buckby)
Assistants: M Mullarkey, D C Richards
Fourth Official: C Foy

110 comments

reddread - September 24, 2011 Reply

Anderson 7th, eh? Didn’t put that in your article about him, did you, Ed?

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

all the other top teams have easy games and we’re playing last…

Alfonso Bedoya - September 24, 2011 Reply

There are no easy games.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

chelsea v swansea
city v everton

home bankers no

RobDiablo - September 24, 2011 Reply

Ed – It appears that you have included the injured Kenwyne Jones in Stoke’s starting XI.

Peter Walton is an unknown to me. I hate it when no-name referees oversee United’s matches agains “physical” sides.

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
all the other top teams have easy games and we’re playing last…

Next weekend looks like a good ‘un though, like last weekend

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

1642: BREAKING TEAM NEWS
Wayne Rooney misses Manchester United’s trip to Stoke with a hamstring strain so in comes Dimitar Berbatov. Rio Ferdinand also starts.

Fuck

ltel - September 24, 2011 Reply

big blow that… should still have enough.

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

Team: De Gea, Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Nani, Anderson, Fletcher, Young, Berbatov, Hernandez.

Subs. Lindegaard, Owen, Giggs, Park, Welbeck, Fabio, Valencia

Fletch and Ando… Can’t be as gung ho as they were against Chelsea. If one goes, the other must stay otherwise we’ll get done

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

all the others won, now we’re playing without wayne, all set up for a loss

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

didn’t know rooney had a hamstring problem – club kept that pretty quiet
anyway, this is a chance for berba to show us the form of last season – he will gel with sweet pea i’m sure

madredmonkey - September 24, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
all the others won, now we’re playing without wayne, all set up for a loss

your a cheery soul.

madredmonkey - September 24, 2011 Reply

come on united, win.

ltel - September 24, 2011 Reply

links?

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

its not even on radio 5 ffs
fucking talk shite radio with gormless fuckwit collymore
oh bugger that

bman - September 24, 2011 Reply

Berba will contribute nothing to the midfield battle, so Fletch and Ando have to step up if we’re to get the 3 points.

bman - September 24, 2011 Reply

This is a tough match – Stoke are a good side now, and apparently they’ve only lost at home once in 2011.

Spudiator - September 24, 2011 Reply

Just seen on BBC, Johnny Evans has injured himself in the warm-up, so Valencia’s playing instead. Where the hell’s Chris Smalling?

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

it’s all happening now…
Jonny Evans has sustained an injury in the warm-up so is replaced in the starting XI by Antonio Valencia, who will play at right back, with Phil Jones reverting to centre-back
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

bman - September 24, 2011 Reply

ltel said:
links?

http://www.footballstreaming.info/streams/todays-links/

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

Spudiator said:
Just seen on BBC, Johnny Evans has injured himself in the warm-up, so Valencia’s playing instead. Where the hell’s Chris Smalling?

he has a hamstring strain

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

these are the games united will need to win ugly
come on the reds

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

han said:
it’s all happening now…
Jonny Evans has sustained an injury in the warm-up so is replaced in the starting XI by Antonio Valencia, who will play at right back, with Phil Jones reverting to centre-back
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Rio must do 90 minutes then

ltel - September 24, 2011 Reply

ffs should have scored

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

why do we get so many warm up injuries hargreaves is spot on ffs

bman - September 24, 2011 Reply

How the fuck is that not a penalty? That is an extraordinary decision by the ref. Now Hernandez looks like he’s not coming back on at all.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

another injury ffs

ltel - September 24, 2011 Reply

bastard kicking the sweets outa us…

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

referee is a toothles pussy

bman - September 24, 2011 Reply

Time for Owen and Berba to prove their worth.

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

Jones on Crouch for set pieces

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

Stoke singing “Swing Low…” cos of the egg chasing

United respond with “World champions twice – once more than England, world champions twice”

Calm down, Knob

ltel - September 24, 2011 Reply

i dunno if valencia at rightback is crazy or genius

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

I was just gonna say nanis gonna have to win it for us

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

madredmonkey - September 24, 2011 Reply

1-0 yes

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

X FACTOR CUNT

Get in

ltel - September 24, 2011 Reply

genius by nani again.. smashing goal

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

no more shite about de gea if he keeps a clean sheet here

ltel - September 24, 2011 Reply

victims of serial killers make better decsions than de gea.. still rate him though

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

Sexual from Jones then

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

its good when some shite striker reckons he can skins jones and failed then a minute later jones skins him

captainhormone - September 24, 2011 Reply

hmm

Just1n - September 24, 2011 Reply

fuck off

Just1n - September 24, 2011 Reply

Jones lost his marker ffs

bman - September 24, 2011 Reply

fuck, i had a bad feeling there.

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

come on reds

bman - September 24, 2011 Reply

Right berba you overpriced fucker, time to show us something.

madredmonkey - September 24, 2011 Reply

come on united.

Just1n - September 24, 2011 Reply

fuck that was close. Well done De Gea

ltel - September 24, 2011 Reply

knobby quiet??

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

Did Jones fuck up? I missed the goal – stream is being a cunt

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

we’re relying on another goal from nothing from nani to win it, shite midfield won’t create shite forwards won’t do anything

bman - September 24, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
we’re relying on another goal from nothing from nani to win it, shite midfield won’t create shite forwards won’t do anything

That’s pretty much the situation. Time to bring Giggs on.

bman - September 24, 2011 Reply

De Gea’s kept us in this.

Ichiro - September 24, 2011 Reply

not happy. Fletcher and Anderson not impressive.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

is taggart gonna sub off the sub

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

ref bottles a pen ffs

Ichiro - September 24, 2011 Reply

didnt touch the ball, why was it offside?

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

berbatov was brilliant while he was on

Ichiro - September 24, 2011 Reply

ah got a touch of the deflection.

madredmonkey - September 24, 2011 Reply

come on united, we can win this.

bman - September 24, 2011 Reply

This is very frustrating.

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

Fergie is looking at a lengthy ban for what he’s gonna say about this ref

madmax - September 24, 2011 Reply

We are not at all keeping possession

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

jesus giggsy

madmax - September 24, 2011 Reply

Giggs FFS Should have scored

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

There’s the chance and Giggs misses it

Ah well

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

just give nani the ball ffs

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

midfield woeful
strikers pointless
young levelled out back to being average

nani degea great

Ichiro - September 24, 2011 Reply

given the number of injuries cant be too upset i suppose

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

well we could have lost that but for some decent keeping from de gea
the mojo was definitely missing though and the injury to evans pre match and sweet pea in the 1st 5 mins didn’t help
a point at stoke isn’t all doom and gloom

sidney - September 24, 2011 Reply

Could and should have maybe won that, but I’ll take a point
Last season we would have had our arses handed to us without Hernandez and Rooney, so I’ll take a draw. Still unbeaten away from home… A huge improvement on last season
I can’t see Chelsea or City getting a win here either, so we move on

vlad - September 24, 2011 Reply

Very often during this game we looked as if we played Barcelona.
Passive!
Any news on Cleverley yet?

Just1n - September 24, 2011 Reply

Was Berbatov playing?

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

Just1n said:
Was Berbatov playing?

aye he was
and he was shite

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

referee was fucking pussy too
cuntface fucker

Alfonso Bedoya - September 24, 2011 Reply

Am I ever glad we didn’t sign a quality midfielder…

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

I’d prefer to describe berbatovs performance as ‘the usual’

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
I’d prefer to describe berbatovs performance as ‘the usual’

no he was fucking cocksucking waste of space arse fiddling bulgarian whore

madredmonkey - September 24, 2011 Reply

A draw not a bad result at this time of the season, many sides will lose points at stoke this.

sheesh - September 24, 2011 Reply

I was getting pissed off with ESPN constantly showing close-ups of the inbred, neanderthal, shaved head, unshaved cunt Stoke fans. Put me right off my dinner. I hate Stoke City and their fans as much as I hate Leeds.
All in all, a draw was probably a fair result. De Gea saved our arses on a few occasions. Then again, Giggs should have buried that last minute chance instead of sidefooting the ball like a fanny.
We desperately needed Rooney. Berbatov was a disgrace today. You wouldn’t think he was fighting for a regular place in the starting line-up.
Anderson has to be in the last chance saloon this season. That was another shite performance from him and summed up why so many fans are frustrated with him.

RobDiablo - September 24, 2011 Reply

I only got to see the first 30 minutes of this match, so I’m wondering what pair of top class midfielders shut down Anderson and Fletcher today?
EDIT: Okay, that was a bit mean-spirited. Does anyone else think that Sir Alex would have done better to bring on Carrick in a midfield three, rather than Owen? Although Owen did pull a defender out of the way for Nani’s goal.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 24, 2011 Reply

clearly its welbeck or hernandez with wayne up front from now on, and if neither of them are fit wayne on him own, and if he’s not fit we’re fucked, the other two are just pointless unless we’re playing lower league shite or rolling over spineless prem riff raff at ot

han - September 24, 2011 Reply

de gea finding his feet and range today was a major positive tbf

danniitronix - September 24, 2011 Reply

Hernandez wld have done fuck all. It is Rooney – it’s so obvious yet many cannot see it. Given the utter SHIT that Anderson serves us, Rooney drops into midfield; Fletcher has to cover two positions – without Rooney you have no midfield support. Ironically, with no Rooney you have an even shitter midifield.

How any of you can defend Anderson for the 3+ years of wank he has served up is beyond me. The biggest drag factor on our squad and he will get DESTROYED by any formation Citeh serve up.

Taggart is being a stubborn cunt – get Ando out; if any of you want to see a young Brazilian with greasy fast midfield skill, application and puts a shift in, see Ramirez – wonderfully fit, gallops like young buck. Try Alex Song – power, position and application.

Promote one of the reserves rather than persevering with this zero.

No midfield means, pressure on defence which means goals against. Same in relation to connecting the team with the attack

dozer - September 24, 2011 Reply

We should just rotate Giggs, Carrick and Fletcher for 2 positions until Cleverley’s back.
Anderson is ok to be a squad player to cover for injuries, he shouldn’t start every game.

Why Fergie chose to bring Young off instead of Ando for Giggs is beyond me.

Alfonso Bedoya - September 25, 2011 Reply

han said:
de gea finding his feet and range today was a major positive tbf

De Gea was very good… but he has to come and claim the ball, that Crouch scored.

Bill - September 25, 2011 Reply

Ramires is very very average! Just because you score two against Swansea at home doesn’t make you good!

Pikey McScum - September 25, 2011 Reply

Only saw the highlights, but a draw looked a fucking good result in the end!

Giggs’ miss is forgiven (how the fuck can it not be?) but I’m still daydreaming that, rather than taking the shot on, he takes a delicate touch of the ball which rolls it on to Owen for a tap-in…

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 25, 2011 Reply

every league game owens played for us he’s fluffed atleast one sitter by giving it the old airshot, was best giggs took it on

RobDiablo - September 25, 2011 Reply

Actually, the best course of action for Giggs to have taken would have been to fake the shot and attempt to round the keeper. At the speed Begovic and the defender were vectoring in on Giggs, they’d be sure to clatter him and then, perhaps, the gutless/blind, no-name referee would have given a penalty.

I hated listening to all the pundits saying that it was a good result, a fair result for Stoke, but once I got past the fact that United should have had a penalty and Stoke reduced to ten men early on, I did have to admit that Stoke wanted it more. They were first to the majority of the loose balls and created more good chances to score than did United.

Alfonso Bedoya - September 25, 2011 Reply

No matter what our starting 11 is… we’re just not a title winning team… without Rooney… and that alone should have been reason enough to sign Sneijder… or another player of similar class and stature.

captainhormone - September 25, 2011 Reply

Alfonso Bedoya said:
No matter what our starting 11 is… we’re just not a title winning team… without Rooney… and that alone should have been reason enough to sign Sneijder… or another player of similar class and stature.

THIS^^

I’ve been giving it billy big bollocks all week how we’d beat Stoke, and i was fucking confident…however, as soon as i saw that team without |Rooney I thought draw at best

That same feeling i got loads of times last year

And Berbatov…ffs…..true to form

Bill - September 25, 2011 Reply

I’d like to see this team in action:

Lindegaard
Valencia Ferdinand Vidic Evra
Nani Jones Cleverley Young
Rooney
Hernandez

Pace, pace and more pace!

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 25, 2011 Reply

tbf apart from the keeper I’d have no problem putting that side out

ichiro - September 25, 2011 Reply

Anderson was poor but he has put in good performances recently whereas Fletcher has done nothing at all for ages. He doesnt run as much as he used to and other than that hes a very average player.

Anderson is too predictable most of the time, thats why his passes get cut out.

RobDiablo - September 25, 2011 Reply

Bill said:
I’d like to see this team in action:
Lindegaard
Valencia Ferdinand Vidic Evra
Nani Jones Cleverley Young
Rooney
Hernandez
Pace, pace and more pace!

Not to mention some grit in midfield that was sadly lacking in yesterday’s match. Interesting that, aside from Nani, Jones was the only one able to run through midfield and into the opponent’s box. I have no problem with Lindegaard in goal, but De Gea does distribute the ball better. I also noticed that he got down nicely to push a shot around the corner; it was the kind of save I had doubted he could make a week or so ago.
I’d be tempted to substitute Smalling for Valencia, though. I don’t think he’d slow things down much, and he is a natural defender.

han - September 25, 2011 Reply

fucking bulgarian whore

Calvino - September 25, 2011 Reply

I really think our manager is starting to dick Valencia around. he plays as RB in an emergency role in the CL against Chelsea last season and he seems a shoe-in for that position any time Smalling is out. WTF? Without Rooney there was no need to go 4-4-2 really. We could easily have played Fabio at RB and then had Valencia ahead of him with Young or Nani behind Chicharito in a 4-2-1-3 formation. Valencia’s pace down the right would have pushed them further back.

As for the ref may he be run over by a two ton truck soon. How on earth did Woodgate not get sent-off for such a blatant push. And then we lose Chicharito to it all.

Owen and Berbatov? Was the manager taking the piss or what? Two sides of a bad coin those two!!! I thought Welbeck was fit.

shauno - September 26, 2011 Reply

I think SAF is looking to play Valencia more and more at RB. Often did the same with Lee Sharp. Good wingers often make good fullbacks. Don’t see too much of a problem with it given Nani’s form. I’d like to see Jones given a go in midfield can’t be any worse than
Anderson.

brianofnazareth - September 25, 2011 Reply

Calvino said:
I thought Welbeck was fit.

bill - September 25, 2011 Reply

De gea is making some goood stops but a united keeper needs to be solid and not make mistakes. De gea seems to have a silly mistake in him a game. Lindegaard doesn’t.

Ed - September 26, 2011 Reply

Bill – I don’t think that’ll be the case long term. He didn’t make any silly mistakes against Stoke given the battering he received and pulled off two top draw saves, which, arguably, Lindegaard might not have.

RobDiablo - September 26, 2011 Reply

Commenter said:
De gea is making some goood stops but a united keeper needs to be solid and not make mistakes. De gea seems to have a silly mistake in him a game. Lindegaard doesn’t.

I like Lindegaard and have mentioned being surprised that Sir Alex did not start the season with him between the sticks. I take your point about what we should expect from a United keeper and, although I think “silly” is a bit harsh, I will say that he still has moments in each match where he looks tentative and I find myself holding my breath and wanting to cover my eyes until the danger has passed. I think it’s one thing to be told about the speed and physicality of the English game and another to experience it first hand. De Gea continues to improve, though, and I’ve no doubt he will come good.

Bill - September 26, 2011 Reply

Yep that’s pretty close to my analysis of him. The English game is different from any other style of football he has played previously (Spanish/European/U21) in terms of the pace and physical nature. He definitely has moments of brilliance in him. Luckily he plays for United so some of those mistakes are going to cost the team like they would for other sides.

Waxfoot - September 26, 2011 Reply

Amazing how fickle everybody is – turning on Anderson, Jones and even Young (!) after one unimpressive game. Poor support.

Bill - September 26, 2011 Reply

We will see, if De Gea goes down we have a good back up ready. I wonder what the PIG is doing these days? Keeper situation not unsimilar to our striking one!

reddread - September 26, 2011 Reply

Just watched the highlights after a weekend away. How the fuck was it not a penno? Fair play to Stoke the way they went at us, especially second half, but had we been given the penalty we should have, Woodgate would probably have walked and the result would probably have been different. De Gea impressed, Jones made his first real mistake when he lost The Freak for his goal. Mixed bag, really. One thing for sure, we need Rooney to play every fucking game…

Ben Hulston - September 26, 2011 Reply

I thought the referee generally had a very very poor game. But we can’t rely on the referee every game, that’s for sure.
Overall, I thought the first half we looked good and we played in patches. Young looked a little off the pace, but you can’t expect peak play from all our players, all the time, and I think Young will play better when he recieves better service from someone like Rooney.
Stoke were typically… ermm…. Robust? Their approach was just the typical hurl and burl, and not a lot else. De Gea made some top saves. Phil Jones is human. I was disappointed with Berbatov and Owen, who surely have more to offer than the poor showing they gave.
Not sure what else, or why people are freaking out unnecessarily. I think Ando needs Cleverley back, because I think they combine better on the ball together. The movement in the middle looked a little off being honest. Fletch is still off the pace, though.
Give it 3 – 4 more bad results before I’ll panic. I think this team has a lot of potential and will continue to show it across the season.

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