MANCHESTER UNITED 2 STOKE CITY FC 0
The last time we came away from Old Trafford with a point was way back in 1980.To be honest we never really looked likely to get anything from this match,for a variety of reasons.
Overall our performance lacked drive,we frankly looked jaded.This was typified by the usually excellent Jon Walters,the sparkle was missing,he looked laboured,and left the fray early,perhaps being saved for the Sunderland game.Crouch,Jones,and Jerome moved back and to across the pitch,but to little effect in an attacking sense. Pennant was the only player who seemed to pose United a problem or two.
United themselves were nothing special on the night.They did not have much joy picking their way through our defence,until,on 37 minutes, assistance arrived in the form of Ref Jones.Park was played into our area,where he fell under challenge from Pennant.It looked as though our man got something on the ball,but the ref judged it to be a foul.Hernandez made no mistake from the spotkick,sending Sorensen the wrong way.Given our minimal attacking threat,this was effectively game over.Talking among themselves,the Man U fans around me had doubts that it was in fact a penalty at all.
Valencia for me was by far the best player on the pitch,giving whichever Stoke players he faced down the right a torrid time.On 53 minutes he was simply too quick and too clever for Walters,who was judged,maybe harshly,to have impeded him in the area.Minimal contact,but more than enough for Mr.Jones!Berbatov was lucky to convert the penalty,Sorro this time guessing the right way,and only narrowly failing to make the save.
We never looked as though we could come back.Their keeper had only one save to make in the entire match.To be fair to Tony Pulis, we did not seek to park the bus across the goalmouth this time round.
It needs to be said,too, that we were not penalised on two more obvious occasions when penalty awards would have been entirely justified.On the second of those Mr. Jones' body language suggested that he felt that he had done enough for one night.