A classy performance from top of the table Manchester United edged them even closer to a 13th Premier League title over a poor Stoke side, bereft of the confidence and solidarity that we have seen from them in recent years. The victory puts United 15 points ahead, with 6 games remaining.
Sir Alex Ferguson would have wanted his team to make an impact on the game and stop Stoke from playing their own style, and they certainly did this on the 4th minute, after a corner was taken and followed by some extremely sloppy defending by Stoke. The Potters rearguard tried desperately to clear the ball to no avail, as Michael Carrick happily stepped in the slot home his first league goal of the season. After this sluggish start, things didn`t really get better for the home team.
A lackluster first half from the Midlands team bought no shots on target, and no attacks of any real menace. On the other hand, Alex Ferguson`s men were firing on all cylinders, and they certainly weren`t lacking in confidence. They were stopping Stoke every time they had the ball, and they were also playing the ball around beautifully. The Potters were merely a stepping-stone to that illustrious 13th title.
The second half came very quickly, and it was exactly the same story. United went on the offensive straight from the off, and Stoke didn`t really start that well again. United`s dominance really shone through on the 65th minute, after a great run by Van Persie drew Potters lion hearted defender Andy Wilkinson into a tackle, as Wilkinson went to ground, Van Persie was obliged to go over his legs and force the penalty decision from referee Jonathan Moss. The flying Dutchman then stepped up and slotted the ball home to Begovic`s left to make it 2-0.
The Potters fans made the loudest noises of the afternoon once former Red Devil Michael Owen came on. Every touch that the striker had was greeted with tremendous applause from all Stoke fans and many fans of the away team. Either way, the defeat leaves the Potters 3 points from the drop zone with 5 games left. With Pulis accepting now that Stoke are in a relegation dogfight, the Potters now have 5 games to save their season and more importantly their Premier League status.