A gulf in class was apparent as Manchester United put five past Stoke at Old Trafford today. Two Cristiano Ronaldo free-kicks, a powerful Micheal Carrick strike, a Dimitar Berbatov volley and a screamer from youngster Danny Welbeck put paid to the Potters. The Welbeck strike and one of Ronaldo’s both coming late in the game to give a gloss to the scoreline for United that was perhaps harsh on Stoke. There is little doubt that the Manchester side were the deserving winners on the day though.
Notably for Stoke, Ricardo Fuller was booked for the fifth time this season, perhaps cleverly, as he will serve his suspension next Saturday when Stoke play West Brom, a match he would have missed through international commitments with Jamaica anyway.
I have no great desire to describe at length my beloved Stoke being thoroughly beaten by Manchester United, so I’ll leave my reportage on the match at that.
As disappointing as the result is, the next two games in the league for Stoke are at home to fellow new-boys West Brom and Hull, and whilst good results against the top teams, as we know from our exploits against Liverpool and Arsenal, are great bonuses, it will ultimately be our results against fellow relegation candidates that determines our final position, be it in the relegation zone or not, come May.
Finally, Stoke fans and players must remember that a year ago, our last match had been a 1-0 home loss to Sheffield united and our next would be a dour 0-0 draw at Burnley. This goes to show how great an achievement it is for Stoke to be playing against the likes of Manchester United at all, regardless of the result.
Stoke side: (4:4:2)
Griffin Abdoulaye Faye Shawcross Higginbotham
Olofinjana Diao Amdy Faye Delap
Substitutes: Cresswell for Olofinjana (31), Kitson for Fuller (68), Wilkinson for Griffin (79)
Subs not used: Simonsen, Whelan, Cort, Tonge
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