Stoke City 2-1 Manchester United: Adam brace sinks United

Stoke City's Charlie Adam scored against Manchester United in the Premier League at the Britannia
Charlie Adam hit a screamer to give Stoke City the win over Manchester United

Manchester United lost to Stoke City for the first time in the league since boxing day 1984, a fixture so long ago, Mark Hughes started up top alongside Frank Stapleton. The defeat heaps more misery on David Moyes, who was defiant after the game exclaiming that United were ‘unlucky’ to lose the match. The visitors lost Jonny Evans early on and Phil Jones just before half time, which meant that Michael Carrick had to shift to centre half alongside Chris Smalling. Wayne Rooney was forced to drop deep in midfield and was unlucky to not find the back of the net from a late freekick following a glorious save from Begovic.

Here we discuss the talking points from the game and welcome comments from both sets of fans.

Defensive woes
The injuries to Jonny Evans and Phil Jones seriously hampered United’s chances in blustery conditions at the Britannia on Saturday. United were already without captain Nemanja Vidic, who was suspended from the 3-1 defeat against Chelsea, and the injured Rio Ferdinand, who has been well below par this season. Michael Carrick, as he often did under Sir Alex Ferguson, became a makeshift centre half, with Rafael coming on at right back and Wayne Rooney dropping deep into midfield.

Although United were obviously seriously hindered by these injuries and players playing out of position, the second half defensive performance was a shambles. Time after time, Stoke City players were given space out wide to put in a cross and United’s backline resembles a Sunday side in their reluctance to clear the ball. Patrice Evra allowed Peter Odemwingie time to chest the ball down from a cross and really should have scored having received no pressure what so ever from United’s French left back.

Smalling and Carrick allowed the ball to bounce from long balls and really struggled when trying to win headers. Smalling, who is usually very composed on the ball, showed signs of panic when attempting to clear his lines and nearly gifted Stoke a chance mid-way through the second half. Phil Jones will miss the clash with Fulham due to his head injury, but should be fit to face Arsenal in over a week’s time. Jonny Evans picked up a calf strain and there isn’t any news available on whether he’ll be out for some time.

David Moyes thinks United were ‘unlucky’

“I don’t know what we have to do to win. I thought we were extremely unlucky. We played well but for their first goal it was an incredible deflection and the second was a worldy.”
David Moyes after 2-1 defeat to Stoke City

David Moyes comments will no doubt have sparked ridiculed debate up and down the country in pubs and boozers as United notched up their eighth league loss of the season. Were United unlucky not to have won yesterday due to injuries, the weather or chances created? Take a look at Chelsea against West Ham in the week. The home side had 39 shots on goal to the visitors single strike – to me, that is unlucky to not come away with three points after such an obvious dominant performance.

The loss of two centre halves in the first half was unlucky, especially in he absence of Vidic and Ferdinand, but to exclaim that “I don’t know what we have to do to win” sounds as if United were peppering Begovic’s goal like it were Spain against minnows San Marino, holding on for dear life. There are elements to what happened yesterday, including a massive deflection for the first goal, that could be deemed unlucky – however, United simply weren’t good enough to win the match.

He may look older than your Dad, but Charlie Adam’s second strike, as Moyes has stated, was exceptional. He gave David De Gea no chance in the United goal and other than Wayne Rooney’s late effort, which was superseded by Tom Cleveley’s ballooned effort over the bar. Some may argue that Moyes could have brought on Flether instead of Welbeck to allow Rooney to operate further forward, a decision that in hindsight, due to Welbeck looking off the pace, could well have found an equaliser had Rooney been on the end of Mata’s pass.

Transfer window firmly shut
Don’t worry, its over for six more months. The transfer window has finally shut and as much as Jim White did a superb job trying to convince you to stay up with all the enthusiasm of your mate mad Frank who aims to keep an extremely shit night going where no one has pulled, you’re all miserable sitting at the bar and you’re about 7 years older than any person in a pretentious night spot that is far too fancy for your liking.

Manchester United were the big spenders in the window acquiring the services of the elegant playmaker Juan Mata from Chelsea. Mata is a step forward in the right direction, but United need to start sprinting in order to catch up with rest. Dreams of a twenty first title are firmly on hold now, until at least another season, despite the comments of Sir Alex Ferguson recently – but United can’t afford to miss out on a Champions League spot. Mata is ineligible for the Champions League, which no doubt looks the most unlikely route for United to participate in the tournament next season, so further additions surely should have been made to ensure United are there or thereabouts come May.

Nemanja Vidic has been linked with a move to Napoli in the summer and hasn’t been the dominate force he was once after his serious knee injury against Basel in 2011. Rio Ferdinand was exceptional last term, but has only featured in eight Premier League appearances this season – a far cry from last year when he was recalled to the England squad. Links with Ezequiel Garay have failed again to materialise in a transfer, whilst Fábio Coentrão and Luke Shaw remain at their clubs despite reported interest in acquiring a successor to Patrice Evra.

United’s achilles heel over the past ten years has been trying to find a player good enough to even come close to Paul Scholes. Paul Pogba departed for Juventus, Brazilian midfielder Anderson, who recently left to join Fiorentina, was never up to the task and the need to play 40 Ryan Giggs in the middle of the park speaks volumes regarding the sides’ need for a central midfielder. The elegant Toni Kroos was linked, the industrious Ilkay Gundogan was too, both last summer and in January, whilst Daniele De Rossi was spared suicide (OK, I know he was misquoted!). Juan Mata is an exceptional player, but further additions were needed.

One current United player that appears to have benefited from the window is Wilfried Zaha, who changed the game at Cardiff yesterday with his introduction. Why on earth hasn’t Zaha played in more games for United? On evidence of yesterday, his quality to take on players and carry the ball up the pitch would have been a valuable asset to United, considering Nani is out for month and Young/Valencia under performing.

There will be signings in the summer, surely, however – United may be playing in the Europa League if fortunes do not change on the pitch soon.

Match Conclusion
Before the game you would be forgiven to assume that this was going to be the second game in a run of United wins, following the news that Rooney and Van Persie would be joining Juan Mata in the starting line up. Sadly, for United fans anyway, this was not to be the case as Stoke City ran out 2-1 winners in a blustery game. United were poor defensively and were unable to clear their lines in the second half as Stoke piled on the pressure and utilising the weather conditions.

Charlie Adam’s second goal was a phenomenal strike. His left footed drive flew past De Gea, who was diving to his left, into the top corner only a few minutes after Manchester United had responded with a Robin van Persie strike. A long punt forward from Michael Carrick sparked panic in the Stoke third and the ball dropped to Juan Mata, who played a superb pass to the Dutchman to equalise. Scenes of van Persie running toward an elated Sir Alex Ferguson were not to be replicated, nor was the outcome of that match some ten months ago. Michael Carrick and United were unlucky with the heavily deflected freekick from Adam in the first half, but should have snatched a point following Cleveley’s woeful effort at the end of the match.

Manchester United host bottom club Fulham next Sunday, with Nemanja Vidic returning from suspension. Stating the obvious, United need a win to put pressure on Liverpool, who could go nine points clear with a win over WBA today – but with a trip to Arsenal looming a few days after Fulham, David Moyes needs a good performance from his men who appear off the pace at the moment.

8 Comments on Stoke City 2-1 Manchester United: Adam brace sinks United

  1. I think United were most unlucky in that they got a new manager who ignored the midfield just like the old.. Meanwhile Europes top clubs spend most of their money on the midfield….

  2. I Think this season’s main objective should now be to go as far as possible in the Champions League and Finish in the Top 4.
    Moyes should tty experimenting with a 4-4-2 wide diamond formation.. He has got two options
    1.) Carrick
    Valencia Mata Januzaj

    Van Perise Rooney


    Valencia Kagawa Young

    Hernandez Welbeck

    The only reason why I choose Mata with Roo and Robin is that since both these strikers have lost some pace, Mata can make passes over the Defences and it is something both Roo and robin are comfortable with..
    Havent seen Shinji play any kind of pass over the defences but he prefers to keep the passing quick and on the ground, so here Chicharito and welbz whi have got the pace which fits his style of play.
    P:S Please dont laugh at this comment, As I have just put forth my Thoughts.. feedback always welcome..

  3. The situation with our midfield just leaves me cold. I am completely bemused as to why it has been ignored for so fucking long?? Every position in a team is important but I would say that the most important is central midfield. We are poor in many areas and for me we are carrying deadwood that simply would get nowhere near any of the top clubs in Europe. If we argue that we’re the biggest club in the world can anyone out there explain to me then, why the fuck do we? Alex Ferguson won so much over the years it is seen as sacrilege to question him but let’s be honest he left Moyes with a right pile of mediocre shite. I’m a Manc and a lifelong red but I’m sick and tired of other reds claiming the likes of Fletcher, Evans, Smalling & even Carrick are top players. Bullshit. Look at the quality citeh and Chelsea have in abundance and tell which one of those 4 would get on the bench for them let alone regular first team places? We won doubles and trebles over the years because WE had world class players all over the pitch. For me it is shame on Alex Ferguson for allowing the squad to weaken to such a pathetic level. For me he became fooled by his own reputation. We have 3 world class players in our entire squad and that is nowhere near what you need to challenge. It’s time to bin the excuses of no “value in the market” and “they have to improve on what we’ve already got” etc, as what we’ve already got just ain’t anywhere near good enough. The Glazers need to release a lot of money or we are going down the same road Liverpool did for 20 years…

  4. Fuckin coach cat face and monkey eye you need banana go bush fine it leave united go go and fine small club will not longer a small well are big team go go pig leave

  5. I think moyes head need to be checked. He is seriously sick. How can moyes bring in striker when he is have defence problem. U are d greatest fool I ve ever seen. I wil choose a goat than choosing u as a coach. Leave our club for us mo-mo ,odeh.

  6. United weren’t unlucky to win. They were unlucky to loose. Loosing 2 CBs so early in the game is bad as it is. Replacing one with a forward while sending you’re better forward to midfield, also knowing you’ll substitute your best forward before the match ends – when one of our best midfielder *sighs* is on the bench – is pure nonsense. Moyes underestimated Stoke and I think that one change cost us the game. Still, you’d expect the players to go for it, especially with all that added time late on. We used to be able to score two goals with 3 mins added time. Instead we made the least of 7 mins with I don’t know how many poor corners..

    We surely deserved the draw and were at least unlucky Rooneys free kick was saved (how Cleverly didn’t even shoot on target on the rebound was pathetic).

    This performance wasn’t “unlucky” not to win it.

    The worst part of it all is Liverpool and spurs both dropped points..which if we won we would’ve been 4 points dr 4th..

  7. The obvious truth is that our squad, coaching staff and board executives are completely of the pace. Our squad can’t dream of competing with the likes of Bayern, Barca, PSG, Madrid and dare I say it…Manchester City. These are the teams that we should be gunning for day in day out! At the moment, besides Rooney, RVP ,Mata and to an extent De Gea, the rest are right-offs. Stoke, Sunderland, Westbrom and the likes should be forfeiting their games when the see the Red Devils closing in! Trust me, we are truly in crisis mode, have no doubt. The global brand that is Manchester United is getting dragged through the mud one match-day at a time.

    I know what I’m going to suggest is drastic, but we’ve got to be real. Right now we’ve got to accept that 4th place is beyond us. We’ve got to target 10th position to avoid the inconvenience that is the UEFA CUP. Playing on Thursdays then the weekend will do us more harm than good.

    We’ve got to clear out ALL the dead wood. Time to do away with any player that wouldn’t make it onto the Bayern/Madrid/Barca/PSG season squad of 32. Moyes should resign and take Phil, Mr.Ball and the rest with him. We’ve got to sort out the executive backroom as well. Ed Woodward is a banker! Didn’t the recession teach us anything!

    I suggest we bring in Frank Rijkaard and place Giggs by his side. Mr. Frank did over see the re-emergence of Barcelona in the early 2000’s. He’d be suited for this job even though he’s been out of the spot-light for a while. We’ve then got to take out the cheque book and re-mold the entire squad (most of it anyway).

    With this in place we should then embark on a project that should target the league title and a Cup (preferably FA Cup) in year one of our re-emergence. The season after that we should launch an all out assault on Champs league and defend our league title from the season before. I think that this is achievable, but only if we wake up and start taking action now. On that note, Moyes should either work a miracle for 4th place (I wouldn’t bet on it) or mercifully deliver us to 10th place.

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