MATCH ARTICLES

18/12/2013 22:32, Report by Ben Hibbs
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The Match: Stoke stormer

Here's our in-depth review of United's 2-0 Capital One Cup win over Stoke...

The Match The Britannia Stadium can be inhospitable at the best of times, with a vociferous home support and an often physically-demanding contest in store, so Stoke's summoning of a first-half hailstorm, so disruptive it forced referee Mark Clattenburg to halt the match for around eight minutes, all seemed part of the Potteries' 'welcome'. It was an occasion for rarities of sorts, Ashley Young bagging his first United goal since May 2012, and Reds left-back Patrice Evra completing the scoring, with his right foot no less.

The goals Young was fouled by Wilson Palacios on the halfway line and Tom Cleverley's quick thinking gave the United winger possession in space. Young's probing pass found Javier Hernandez, who held up the ball on the edge of the box. Young didn't even wait for an invitation to strike it as he rocketed a shot past Thomas Sorensen. He was then involved in the second goal, attacking down the left and sliding the ball inside to Evra, who said afterwards that he "only uses his right foot to get onto the bus". But using his weaker foot he steered his shot into the far corner of the net with aplomb.

Star men Danny Welbeck appeared confident after his two goals at Aston Villa and for the first hour looked like the man to make something happen in attack. But Young must take credit for breaking the deadlock with a strike of sheer class, and he played his part in teeing up Evra, who also impressed in defence alongside Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling, fending off Stoke's aerial and physical presence.

Sub-plots Wayne Rooney missed the match with a groin injury and while David Moyes hopes the no.10 is fit for the Christmas period, with Robin van Persie also on the sidelines, it's a concern for the Reds boss. At the other end of the field, Moyes fielded his 16th different back four in 26 games this