we have yet to truly see how this trio will influence the course of an entire match.
Opposition Before their goal, Stoke struggled to cope with the conditions when they did have the ball – failing to pressurise a reshuffled United back four or the keeper – but when without the ball they stopped the Reds from hitting their straps with a committed, physical approach. They opened up after Adam’s second, but after retreating in face of a late push from United, the Potters were grateful for a superb save that showed why Begovic is so highly-rated.
Move of the match Nice work from Patrice Evra on the left late on allowed Danny Welbeck a shooting opportunity, but the move broke down as the massed ranks of the Stoke defence held firm.
In the stands Occupying three quarters of the Pedigree Stand, United's travelling fans were in fine voice with 'Pride of all Europe', 'David Moyes' Red and White Army', a long-sustained 'The Manchester United Calypso' and other hits being belted out from behind the goal guarded by De Gea in the first half. The home crowd, supposedly one of the loudest in the country, reserved their highest volume for barracking match referee Neil Swarbrick whenever he penalised the Potters for a foul. A roar did greet their opening goal, however, and when the travelling Reds rallied with an even louder and bouncier Calypso, the Stoke fans brought out a brief rendition of their adopted anthem, the old Tom Jones/Alex Harvey hit ‘Delilah’. The home support ensured the seven minutes of time added on were played in a cacophony reminiscent of the old days under Tony Pulis.
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