Match Analysis: Manchester United 4-2 Stoke City

Wayne Rooney celebrates
© PA Photos
Sports Mole takes a closer look at Manchester United's 4-2 victory over Stoke City at Old Trafford this afternoon.

Manchester United remain second in the Premier League thanks to a 4-2 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford this afternoon.

Wayne Rooney notched his 200th club goal with a brace, despite giving Stoke the lead when he inadvertently headed into his own net from a corner.

Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck also got their names on the scoresheet.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look to see how United overcame a battling Stoke side.

Match statistics

Manchester United
Shots: 16
On Target: 7
Possession: 64%
Corners: 3
Fouls: 9

Stoke City
Shots: 9
On Target: 3
Possession: 36%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 10

Was the result fair?

Yes. Stoke started brightly and could have been two up after 20 minutes, but United began to get on top as the first half wore on. The early goal in the second half seemed to have killed the game, but Michael Kightly's goal restored some hope for the visitors. However, they never looked like scoring another goal and the Red Devils saw out the victory comfortably. Sir Alex Ferguson may not be entirely happy with how his side played, though.

Manchester United's performance

7/10. They started sluggishly and were made to pay by conceding first. It could have been far worse had David De Gea not denied Jonathan Walters not long after. There are definite question marks over United's defence. They were prone to over-elaborate play and were panic-stricken by the hard-working Stoke front line nipping at their heels. United began to control the midfield when Wayne Rooney dropped deeper and Robin van Persie took a position wide on the left. Danny Welbeck was effectively left as the target man. It worked to their advantage as they overturned the one-goal deficit to lead by the half-time whistle. United looked comfortable following Welbeck's early second-half goal, but Kightly managed to pierce the backline yet again to score Stoke second. Going forward, they are great to watch but a defensive catastrophe is always looks on the cards.

Stoke City's performance

6/10. Stoke were in the game in the first half and looked like a real threat going forward, especially in the first 20 minutes. Tony Pulis set his team up with 10 men behind the ball and Peter Crouch up front alone. Jonathan Walters and Michael Kightly worked hard to support him but were gradually frustrated by United's dominance of possession. As already stated, they lost the midfield battle when Rooney dropped deeper and Crouch was forced to feed off scraps. He's not the most mobile and when there's nobody to get on the end of his flick-ons then that particular tactic is rendered useless. Stoke worked hard enough but perhaps one complaint would be that there was absolutely no 'Plan B'.

Referee's Performance

If nit-picking, then Anthony Taylor should perhaps have sent Paul Scholes off for a second-bookable offence in the first half. You get the impression that if it was a 'bigger' game - or maybe away from Old Trafford - then he might have walked.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Wayne Rooney: He was brilliant today, the own goal aside. He bagged his first two goals of the season, racking up his 200th club goal in the process. Quite fitting, as it's 10 years ago this week since he burst onto the scene with the winner for Everton against Arsenal as a (somewhat) fresh-faced 16-year-old.

Biggest gaffe

This one also goes to Rooney for his own goal. He made up for it with the equaliser, which was almost a carbon copy!

What's next?

Manchester United: The Red Devils travel to Stamford Bridge next Sunday to take on Chelsea. They trail the Blues by four points at the top of the Premier League, so there's a lot on the line.

Stoke: The Potters welcome Sunderland to the Britannia Stadium next Saturday.

Wayne Rooney celebrates
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