VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS (0-2): Stoke City Vs Manchester United, English Premier League 2013
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, left, celebrates a goal with Robin van Persie (Reuters file)
NB: Video on this article has been removed in accordance to international license restrictions.
By Greg Robertson
Hello and welcome to Britannia Stadium where we have Stoke City hosting Manchester United in English Premier League action. It’s football, at its finest.
You won’t find too many backing Stoke City to walk away with three points today but football has seen stranger things – I think? United will want the points and to wrap this Premier League Title up sooner rather than later.
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LIVE COMMENTARY... Stoke 0 – 2 Man United
FULLTIME: ALL VIDEO IS UP.
90+2 MINS: The move breaks down with Phil Jones as it's trapped under his feet, then Evra trips over it too.
88 MINS: Well, we can pretty much say that United are 15 points clear again as we look forward to Manchester City meeting Chelsea in the FA Cup semifinal in just a few minutes. THREE ADDED MINUTES.
86 MINS: Jerome now sees yellow, and that may be from frustration in wanting to be on 15 minutes earlier.
83 MINS: Now he's got the goal, van Persie is back to taking corners... wind as heck, and the ball keeps getting blown about. Near post flick from Carrick not good enough and over the top. Crouch on, Jones on - straight swap.
80 MINS: Ten to go and Crouch has his trackies off... play the last 10 in the middle third.... ohhhh Adams delivers and everyone leaves it, it bounces, skids and De Gea is at full stretch to stop that going into the right hand corner of the net.
75 MINS: Michael Owen coming on for Stoke... big cheer goes up as he gets last minute instructions: "Score lots," I imagine it to be. Hernandez off too, Welbeck taking his spot.
70 MINS: Video up soon of the goal and what a celebration from RVP and Fergie as they hugged on the sideline. Man hugs... then back to reality... Shotton shoots other end and De Gea saves and holds.
65 MINS: PENALTY UNITED! Rooney breaks, slides RVP through and the Dutchman checks back, Wilkinson taking his leg out. Easy decision. Robin Van Persie stepping up... GOAL! That's 20 for RVP. The bad run has been broken from the spot.
63 MINS: Rooney taking everything today from the corners to the free kicks and after one of them is cleared it's Valencia with the first yellow card of the day with a rash one on Charlie Adam.
61 MINS: Rooney opens it up and finds Valencia but it breaks down as quickly as it looked to open up. Stoke breaks, to Jones approaching the area and with options left and right but goes on goal and misses the target by plenty.
59 MINS: Adam has a go from five outside the area and there's a touch of bend on it but nothing that De Gea hasn't handled before and handles again. Better from Stoke though this half as the desperation creeps in early.
55 MINS: Shotton heads the ball back into a dangerous area for Stoke and Walters snaps at one... it just wouldn't come down fast enough for him.
53 MINS: Hernandez, great ball, Van Persie into the side netting. Side foot with power but not quite the direction... a long time between drinks for RVP. It's showing. Crouch warming for Stoke.
51 MINS: No changes for either side and Wilkinson has had four stitches above his right eye after the boot to the head from Hernandez in the first half.
47 MINS: Evra pursued by Shotton and it's an uncompromising challenge from the Stoke player as the second spell is underway. Corner won as van Persie tries to cross. Rooney's ball headed away with no United challenge.HALFTIME: United leads 1-0. De Gea hasn't had a save to make.
45+2 MINS: THREE ADDED MINUTES. Adam with a pretty poor really as he just whacks it in and doesn't look up... though Vidic turns it into something when he rushes the clearance and out for a corner.
42 MINS: Shawcross brings down Hernandez as half a break looks on. Free kick some 35 yards out, dead bang out in front... this could be that moment of class I mentioned before...OHHHHH Begovic was extended from a good free kick, curling from Rooney as he goes direct for goal. Just wide of the left post.
41 MINS: Jones with an important prod... gee, prods, toe-pokes... yep, it's lacking a touch of class... saving it for the second spell, no doubt. Crowd's loving it though at the Britannia. They really are trying to rally the team./ As far as football action... not much to describe but that's not knocking the endeavour.
39 MINS: Shoot, sorry lads and lasses... I almost forgot I was watching the game and giving some banter on it... day dreaming away as this one sort of drifts hazily into the half. Still a few minutes left but it's not end-to-end, thrill-a-minute stuff at the minute.
35 MINS: Some push and shove as Rooney swings in a deep free kick and Hernandez raises a boot in the area. It'd blown up straight away and a bit of claret is now flowing from Wilkinson's head. Anyone out there know what brand of gum Fergie chews? He looks a bit bored at the moment. Patch up job on Wilkinson continues. He's had to change his kit too.
31 MINS: Valencia to the byline and three to aim at in the middle, finds none of them but that's only due to an important toe-in that meant van Persie couldn't get a strike. Hmmm on toe poke scores, and other toe-poke probably saves a goal. Van Persie then almost (doesn't) manufactures room for an effort as play sweeps up and down the pitch.
26MINS: Van Persie spots Begovic off his line... and... oh dear. Never mind. (Hint - think of Britannia Stadium then think of the goals then think of 20 yards wide of them. That's where the ball is right now from RVP's boot.)
24 MINS: Rooney ready to deliver a corner from the right, as Hernandez has a chat with the ref... it's gone near and Carrick heads out. Pretty poor return really that, should have done better and perhaps flicked to the back post. Rough, knocking the goal scorer like that I know, but it should have gone back post.
19 MINS: This is better from Stoke as they pull up the socks and get stuck in... Vidic climbs all over Charlie Adam and it's a Stoke free kick some 32 yards out, just right of centre. The big guns move forward for Stoke... great header by Huth... lovely jump, he twists his head and the German heads just wide. Not bad as he had to work it from behind him.
15 MINS: United just with a host of space tow work in and they are working it to their advantage. Stoke hasn't seen much of the ball. But in saying that, United hasn't exactly created a mass of chances... just the goal and the Rooney strike from good distance.
12 MINS: United working the ball, here's Rooney - SMACK - right at the back of the net only for a Begovic parry away. Good save. An honest save. Great strike and play from Rooney and United.
10 MINS: United hardly breaking a sweat right now... pass, pass, pass... turn, pass, pass, pass... look up, pass back, foot on, turn, square, pass, pass... hasn't left the half in this play... Jones and Evra with three passes between them from 3 yards apart.
7 MINS: Well things have got much harder for Stoke, and that's beside the goal as United start to grab this game by the scruff of the neck.
4 MINS: GOAL Manchester United! From the corner, Robin van Persie delivers it bounces, bobbles and weaves about in the box and Michael Carrick sticks out a boot and toe pokes it into the corner of the net. They call count. UNTED LEADS 1-0.
1 MINS: Stoke with the early ball and Walters does really well to manufacture a cross though De Gea claims it with arms fully extended high.
Teams are in the tunnel and set for the out. Vidic striding forward to shake hands... been some time.
We have our live pictures and it's United marching on their way to a title... surely, not from here... though the pressure is piling on Stoke as they are three points above the drop zone and with only six points to save themselves.
Well hello and welcome and let's hope we're in for some top scoring and football action here today. Your teams are in... we'll post them shortly... right, starting lineups...
Stoke: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson; Shotton, Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam, Walters; Jones
Man Utd: De Gea; Vidic, Evra, Jones, Ferdinand; Kagawa, Carrick, Valencia; Rooney, Hernandez, Van Persie
Kick off is not far away but in the meantime we’ve gone back a few weeks to see United beat Sunderland.
Stoke (from): Begovic, Sorensen, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Wilkinson, Kightly, Shotton, Nzonzi, Whitehead, Etherington, Whelan, Adam, Jones, Walters, Crouch, Owen, Jerome, Palacios, Shea.
Man United (from): De Gea, Lindegaard, Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Buttner, Nani, Valencia, Powell, Carrick, Anderson, Cleverley, Giggs, Kagawa, Van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck.
The English Premier League title is tantalizingly in reach for Manchester United, yet the jitters could begin to set in if the team fails to beat relegation-haunted Stoke today.
The anguish of its end-of-season meltdown last year, when Manchester City came from eight points down with six matches left to snatch the title from its fiercest rival, has been the driving force behind United's charge to a 20th league championship.
United saw its advantage over City cut to 12 points with a defeat in the Manchester derby and will be anxious to wrap the title up as quickly as possible this time round.
United manager Alex Ferguson says "the incentives are there for ourselves in the sense of we've only got seven games left."
There is no Ashley Young for Ferguson, out for the next two weeks with ankle injury after the Manchester City defeat. But the United manager can call upon the services of Jonny Evans who is back from a hamstring injury and fellow centre-back Nemanja Vidic is back training. No Paul Scholes today though for United.
City is inactive in the league this weekend, as it plays Chelsea in the FA Cup semifinals.