26/09/2009 16:43, Report by Gemma Thompson
Stoke 0 United 2
A dominant display from the Reds coupled with goals from Dimitar Berbatov and John O’Shea secured an impressive 2-0 victory over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, but the star of the show once again was Ryan Giggs.
Having run rings round Manchester City’s defence last time out setting up three of United’s four goals in the dramatic derby win, the club’s record appearance-maker came off the bench to inspire the Reds to a seventh straight victory in all competitions with two more vital assists.
Stoke offered little in attack and simply couldn’t cope with United’s Welsh wonder who, five minutes after entering the fray, crossed for Berbatov to tap home, before curling a free-kick onto the head of O’Shea who flicked in United’s second.
Sir Alex Ferguson made ten changes to the side that started against Wolves in midweek with Nani the only survivor from the Carling Cup third round victory, and the Portuguese winger was heavily involved in United’s early attacks. Just three minutes in, his deflected cross fell to Wayne Rooney whose instinctive overhead kick flew over the bar.
The United pair combined well four minutes later from a short corner with Nani sending a low curling effort just wide of Thomas Sorensen’s left-hand post.
Former Reds’ defender Ryan Shawcross breathed a sigh of relief 60 seconds later when he lost out in a 50/50 challenge with Antonio Valencia allowing the Ecuadorian a free run on goal. Despite having Rooney alongside him, the winger opted to shoot himself with the opportunity to open his United account too good to pass up. Unfortunately he clipped the ball wide of the far post.
The visitors were dominating possession with Paul Scholes pulling the strings in midfield, Rooney as busy and as bright as ever and Valencia and Nani seeing plenty of