FT: Manchester United 4 Stoke 2

93
Hernandez tries to take off on attack, but to no avail as the final whistle blow.

92
United running the clock down on the left of the park, but Stoke are having none of it and rush the hosts off the ball.

91
Adam, again, tries to sneak his cross for Crouch behind Ferdinand, but De Gea comes across to pluck the ball out of the air.

90
As the match enters the final few moments of the match, the linesman signals three added minutes.

89
Rather quiet in the second period, Adam delivers a decent ball for Crouch in the box, but Evans is up to the task and beat the towering frontman to ball.

88
Nani and Van Persie try to link up on attack but Marc Wilson still has his wits about and cuts off the movement.

87
There's a quiet satisfaction around Old Trafford at the moment as the home faithful expect to close out this encounter the victors.

86
Whitehead departs with Wilson Palacios earning a late run-on.

85
Etherington with a run down the left and he tries to whip the ball into the box, only for Rafael to block the cross and hand the visitors a corner-kick.

84
Stoke in possession but at this late stage of the match is unlikely they have the energy or will-power to summon a fight-back.

83
Nani with a sharp dash down the right with Rooeny waiting for the cross at the near post, but Huth shuffles back and cuts off the substitute winger.

82
United not taking any chances and are just passing the ball around on the halfway line.

81
Ferdinand clears the initial free-kick but Stoke are camped inside United's half with a back-to-back corner-kicks.

80
Ferdinand is adjudged to have fouled Crouch and Stoke receive an attacking free-kick late on.

79
The Red Devils playing the percentages as the try to keep the ball on the halfway line while still probing for an opening in the Potters' tired defence.

78
Welbeck leaves the field to a standing ovation with Hernandez going the other way.

77
United, once again, on the attack and are looking to bring Nani's fresh legs into the game more.

76
Nani with a saved shot at the near post after Evra took the ball forward and laid it off for the replacement winger, but the Portuguese was ruled offside anyway.

75
Evra pushing up from the left, but he is shepherded into the middle of the park and his brief attacking thrust is quelled.

74
Kightly comes off for former United striker Owen, while Valencia earns a break with Nani taking to the field.

73
Stoke push forward through Kightly and then Cameron with the former expected to be withdrawn soon.

72
United on the ball but getting pushed back into their own half by a jaded, but still determined, Potters' back-line.

71
The match has surprisingly entered a bit of a lull for the moment.

70
Double substitution with Anderson coming on for Scholes and Mathew Etherington replacing Walters.

69
Van Persie with a decent shot from range that drifts over Begovic's crossbar.

68
Still no changes from both managers at this stage of the match but with United's strike-force looking dangerous Ferguson may not look to switch things up just yet.

67
The Red Devils slowing play down but are still looking to push upfield in search of more goals.

66
And United with the ascendency once again as the spring in Stoke's step looks to have left them.

65
Rooney side-foots the ball into the back of the net from close-range for his 200th Premier League goal after the Stoke defence were left at sixes-and-sevens from a Van Persie corner from the right.

64
Good delivery from Rooney into the area, but Huth runs back to head clear.

63
United build, again, from the back and earn themselves a free-kick inside the Potters half in a good attacking area.

62
Potters with more of the ball as Dean Whitehead looks for Crouch with a right-sided cross, but Scholes is back to head the ball clear.

61
Stoke looking a little more confident on the ball and area trying to look for more opportunities going forward.

60
The play's bogged down just over the Potters half of the field.

59
United come again, but their confidence would've taken a knock having conceded so easily against the run of play.

58
Kightly fires the Potters back into the match after he breaks through a shaky Untied defence and drills the ball past De Gea with a left-footed strike across goal.

57
United consolidating the stranglehold on the match in the middle of the park.

56
Kightly trying to strike something up from the middle of the park for Stoke but United's defensive line is pretty set.

55
Welbeck slides in and almost gets his second of the match after the ball was delivered into the danger area from Valencia.

54
The Red Devils with the lions's share of possession and aren't giving the visitors time to breathe as the take the game to Pulis's men.

53
A one-two between Rio Ferdinand and Rooney sees the latter play through a neat through ball for the former, but one-on-one with Shawcross the United defender fails to convert his enterprising run into a goal.

52
Stoke having to do all the work on the defence as United continue to press.

51
An exquisite pass down the middle of the park from Van Persie, but Welbeck's strong run on to the ball is closed off inside the box by the Potters cover defence.

50
The Potters already looked a touch dejected and United are looking ever-more dangerous with the ball at their feet.

49
A bad miss from Evans from close-range after another brilliant cross from Rooney put the centre-back one-on-one with Begovic and he headed it straight at the shot-stopper.

48
Having scored within minutes of the restart, United are rocking and are pressing for more with Van Persie almost capping a fine run into the Stoke box.

47
A magnificent goal from Welbeck, the young striker diving to across goal to get his head to the end of a sweetly struck cross from Rooney out on the right.

46
The second half is underway!

a shame about stoke being overtaken in the first half, but rooney's OG shows that United are not on top of their game. stoke could still snatch another goal yet! Rob Shenton

With Chelsea winning earlier, I don't think you can rate the importance of Rooney's equalizer. Beforehand, their defence looked panicky and my doubts about Scholes and Carrick's lack of stamina delved deeper, but the best sides always have the answer. Van Persie got himself another goal and looks sharp so I'm sure the devils will win this now. Gabriel Sutton

After Chelsea's win this afternoon, it's a matter keeping in touch in a must win game. I think tedious, flareless (not to mention dirty) Stoke will be turned over today. My prediction is 3 nil to United, with two late goals for second and third. And hopefully one or both of our Premiership goal virgins of this season get of the mark. That would be a bonus! Go United! Peter Reid

Their a GREAT team, come on MANCHESTER UNITED!! Adam

47
Adam steps up but smashes the ball straight into the wall and Ferguson breathes a sigh of relief as he shepherds his side off the park with a one-goal advantage.

46
Scholes, again, with a ridiculous late challenge that gifts Stoke another free-kick within range of De Gea's area.

45
The Red Devils in the lead and largely in control of the match.

44
Unmarked at the near post, Van Persie makes it look easy as he adjusts his body to steer Valencia's pass past Begovic and put United in front on the scoreboard.

43
Stoke coming forward late on with Crouch almost sliding the ball into the back of the net were it not for an alert De Gea.

42
A rare attacking chance for Stoke through Walters and Kightly, but De Gea cleans up at the back.

41
Scholes lucky to get away with a sloppy tackle when he could've easily copped a red card.

40
United with the lion's share of the possession and look the dominant side at this stage of the match.

39
Brilliant swirling shot from Welbeck out on the left beats Begovic but just skims off the crossbar. Prior to that, Scholes almost finished off an excellent attacking movement from Ferguson's men.

38
Valencia loses possession of the ball in a good attacking area of the field after a good passage of play from the hosts.

37
The Red Devils pushing forward with several neat passes been played to get them there.

36
Rooney fires off a shot from the edge of the area, but it's struck straight into the save hands of Begovic.

35
United on the move and it's only a dogged performance from Shawcross's men that's keeping them at bay.

34
The attacking trio of Welbeck, Rooney and Van Persie look ever-more dangerous in possession and Stoke have their hands full picking who to mark.

33
Welbeck skies an excellent chance over the crossbar after a long ball across to the right from Van Persie sees Rooney tee the ball up for the failed shot.

32
Adam's delivery this time from the set-piece isn't as good as his earlier effort and Untied clear the ball with ease.

31
Rafael gives away an unnecessary free-kick in a good attacking area with a rash challenge on Kightly.

30
United looking to attack the spaces in Stoke's back-four, with Scholes pulling the strings from the middle of the park.

29
The Potters having to do all the defending now as the Red Devils string the passes together with authority and come forward with real conviction.

28
Back on level terms, United look once again more assure of themselves on the ball.

27
Rooney makes amends for his earlier own goal with a delicious header after a lovely shaped cross from Van Persie out on the left.

26
Scholes on the move as he plays a floated pass for Rooney at the far post, but the ball just drifts out of the Untied striker's reach.

25
United calming things down as they try to deal with a fired-up Stoke outfit.

24
Stoke tearing United apart with Michael Kightly's step-over freeing up Walters to take a shot, but the Potters striker's effort is off-target when he really should've done better.

23
Confusion upfront between Van Persie and Welbeck has the Dutch ace putting the ball in to touch trying to find his team-mate, when Valencia outwide was free and clear.

22
Geoff Cameron floats a cross in from the right but his delivery isn't has effective as Adam's today and United clear with ease.

21
Great one-two between Welbeck and Van Persie sees the former get a brief opening on goal inside the area but he fluffed his shot wide.

20
Panic at the back for United with Adam's cross into box almost resulting in a Walters headed goal.

19
United, again, trying to build from the back but Stoke are playing a high line on defence with Crouch looking eager to pounce on any loose pass.

18
Patrice Evra drives the ball in on goal from the left but the left-back can't keep his shot down and the ball sails over the crossbar.

17
Walters with an excellent cross from the right for Crouch at the far post but the Potters hitman's header lacked the power to trouble De Gea.

16
The Red Devils trying to consolidate from the middle of the park, but the Potters just aren't letting up with the pressure off the ball.

15
Welbeck breaks down the left but his cross towards the area has way too much power on it and it flies right past his team-mates.

14
United struggling to deal with the electric pace of Stoke, who look dangerous from outwide.

13
Adam's boot a real threat at the moment as the midfielder's cross from the left this time for Jon Walters almost helps to beat De Gea at his near post.

12
Potters putting United under a bit of pressure now, the visitors seeing a bit more of the ball.

11
Stoke make United pay for giving away a set-piece in a good area, Charlie Adam whipping the ball in from the right for Rooney to knock the ball into his own net under pressure from Ryan Shawcross.

10
Potters, again, opting for a long cross for Crouch in the area but Jonny Evans has the former England hitman well marked and the ball is knocked out for a goal-kick.

9
United come again, this time through Antonio Valencia on the right of the box, the winger trying to float the ball into the area for a waiting Rooney, but the defence clears the danger.

8
Michael Carrick plays a long, angled ball forward for Welbeck to chase but his effort is too long for the England forward.

7
The Potters challenge inside United's box, going aerial with Peter Crouch the target but De Gea is up to the task and punches the ball clear.

6
United look to catch the Potters on the counter with a characteristic flowing attack involving Van Persie, Welbeck and Rooney.

5
Van Persie dropping back into midfield looking to get his feet on the ball once more.

4
Scholes floats the ball in for Van Persie who made the run into the area, but the Dutchman's cruelly ruled offside as he looks to head the ball past Asmir Begovic.

3
The Red Devils looking slow things down and build from the midfield.

2
United showing early attacking intent with a quick passing movement that culminates in a Paul Scholes long-range attempt, off-target.

1
The match is underway!

Looking forward to this match today, gonna be a difficult game for us reds but the quailty up front should be to much for a stubborn stoke side, I'd say 3-1 to us, rvp 2 and one off the bench for hernandez with owen gettin a late equaliser. Dave William Loverock

ex Potter Edd Irwin here from Durban South Africa. On seeing the team Pulis has put out I would have rather gone for a 4-4-2 option same as Utd. I would play Owen alongside Crouch and left out Whitehead. Anyway as Stoke is my team I'm going for a 1-1 draw.

What looks like an attacking line up for united, i still a 2-1 victory for the mighty potters, crouch and huth on the scoresheet, with valencia getting one for them, tight game, but i think with united's defensive vulnerability, stoke could take there chances! UTMP! Chris Starkey

would like to see stoke approach game with more attacking endeavor truly believe we can get something today if we don't sit back. Hope owen gets on as well could be interesting. Philip John Humphris

i think Stoke may be able to pick up a point today at Old Trafford. they are certainatly raising their game and had the best chances at Anfield, so i have faith in them today. Rob Shenton

I'm tipping this to be a tough test for Ferguson's team. If he picks Carrick and Scholes again in midfield Stoke will have a real physical advantage, as those players' abilities lie in passing range more than upper body strength; something a lot of Stoke players have in abundance. This game could offer United another chance to prove their mental strength if it's 0-0 with 10 minutes to go. They can usually nick a goal so I'm saying 1-0. Gabriel Sutton

Feel free to e-mail your thoughts or predictions to devin.hermanus@teamtalkmedia.com and we'll publish as many of them before - and during - the game as possible.

For the Potters, Glenn Whelan (hamstring) has failed a late fitness test but Michael Owen makes the bench and will be keen to face one of his former clubs after having missed out on Merseyside.

Rooney and Van Persie start upfront with Danny Welbeck in support in what comprises a potent attack for United. Javier Hernandez and Nani are on the bench to provide further reinforcements upfront. Ashley Young, unfortunately, fails to make the squad despite having returned to training this week for the Red Devils after a two-month absence due to a knee injury. David de Gea gets the nod between the sticks ahead of Anders Lindergaard.

Stoke are rated at 9/1 to beat Man United today according to our friends at Sky Bet, while it is 9/2 for the match to end in a draw. Wayne Rooney is 11/4 to score first, while Robin van Persie is 9/4, The strike duo are also 12/1 and 10/1 respectively to secure hat-tricks.

Meanwhile, the 12th-placed Potters make the trip to Manchester on the back a controversial goalless draw at Liverpool last time out. Following the Anfield stalemate, Stoke boss Tony Pulis lashed out at Luis Suarez for simulation, while defender Robert Huth seemingly got away with stamping on the Reds striker.

The second-placed Red Devils trail Premier League leaders Chelsea by four points heading into today's clash having won 3-0 at Newcastle prior to the international break. But their 3-2 defeat to visiting Tottenham three weeks ago may still be plaguing them, with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson eager for his side to get back to winning ways on home soil.

Good afternoon, I'm Devin Hermanus and I'll be taking you through all the action as Manchester United host Stoke City at Old Trafford. Kick-off is scheduled for 1500 BST.

Premier League Fixtures

Sunday, 21 December 2014
13:30
Newcastle v S'land  
16:00
Liverpool v Arsenal  
Monday, 22 December 2014
20:00
Stoke v Chelsea
Friday, 26 December 2014
12:45
Chelsea v West Ham  
15:00
Burnley v Liverpool  
C Palace v So'ton  
Everton v Stoke  
Leicester v Tottenham  
Man Utd v Newcastle  
S'land v Hull City  
Swansea v A Villa  
W Brom v Man City  

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