EPL: Red Devils Cement Their Lead At The Top




English Premier League

English Premier League

Manchester United extended their unbeaten run to 20 league games and strengthened their position at the top of the Premiership table with an entertaining 2-1 victory over Stoke City.

Sir Alex Ferguson made wholesale changes to his squad that started at the Hawthorns during the weekend but that couldn’t stop the Red Devils from winning all three points. Chris Smalling took his place amongst the back four in place of Rio Ferdinand, who was rested keeping in view the upcoming FA Cup clash against Liverpool. Injury and illness kept Rooney and Van der Sar but that meant there would be a rare start for Kuzcack and the star at the Hawthorns Javier Hernandez. Ferguson also opted for Gibson and Fletcher in midfield dropping Carrick and Anderson to the bench.

United began like true champions retaining possession and came close to scoring; once through Gibson’s long range effort and twice through Berbatov. United continued pressurizing and Stoke finally buckled in the 26th minute. Berbatov released Nani on the right who slid in a cross and Hernandez smartly backheeled it past the bamboozled goalkeeper for his ninth goal of the season. He came close to scoring a second when Nani headed down Fletcher’s long ball and it fell to Hernandez but Robert Huth’s vital intervention meant that United went into the break with a solitary goal lead.

Stoke looked a rejuvenated side in the second half and Tuncay almost scored in the 47th minute when he headed wide. But he made amends soon after as his cross was met by Whitehead and Stoke had scored their first goal at the Theatre of Dreams since 1980.The goal once again set United looking for the lead and it took them only 10 minutes to go back ahead. Hernandez and Nani exchanged passes on the edge of the box and Nani let fly a screamer with his left foot that found the top corner.

With United back in the lead, Ferguson gave Owen his first minutes since October while Carrick was brought in for Gibson. United kept the ball, and with that the lead, as they went 3 points clear of Manchester City and 5 clear of Arsenal before the second and third placed teams clashed on Wednesday.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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