Football

Manchester United turn corner with Stoke City win

Hernandez's headed winner could be crucial as the season progresses (©GettyImages)
Hernandez's headed winner could be crucial as the season progresses (©GettyImages).

Manchester United's 3-2 victory over Stoke City at the weekend could be the turning point in a season that has so far failed to live up to expectations.

United's season has been littered with some indifferent displays but the final ten minutes of the Stoke game, when United scored two goals to turn the game in their favour, may well be the point in the season where we all look back and say that their fortunes changed.

The celebrations from the manager, the players and the supporters seemed to indicate the importance of Javier Hernandez's headed winner.

Up until that point United were their usual lacklustre selves. Their defence made mistakes and the midfield were particularly culpable for conceding possession and lacking any drive, commitment and pace.

The only saving grace for Moyes was that he has two of the best strikers in the Premier League - Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie - at his disposal.

Without the quality that they possess United could have found themselves on the end of a
deeply damaging upset. Rooney produced another outstanding display, particularly with his huge work-rate, which has always been a feature of his game.

Although Moyes will be indebted to his strikers for their goals he will also be very grateful to David De Gea, who produced another solid performance to establish himself firmly as United's number one goalkeeper.

He was very unfortunate to concede the first goal after a fantastic instinctive save from Peter Crouch and was beaten by a fantastic free-kick for the second goal. At times his saves kept United in the game.

United's midfield were especially poor on Saturday. They conceded far too much possession which invited added pressure to United's already stretched defence.

The number of misplaced passes and unforced errors were huge. The likes of Cleverley, Kagawa and Nani looked well off the pace of the game. They were outmuscled by a typically strong and resolute Stoke side who must be given credit for their display.

Nani was guilty of trying too hard to please in the end. He was clearly nervous and unsure as the game went on and produced error after error which did not endear him to the United faithful.

It is never nice to hear a player booed off the pitch by his own fans but Nani's performance was nothing more than woeful at times and the United supporters were quick to let him know.

Unfortunately for Nani he is now under severe pressure from young star Adnan Januzaj who has performed well since being introduced to United's first team. His appearance from the subs' bench on Saturday certainly helped galvanise United and helped them come from behind.

Moyes can point to the fact that his substitutions helped change the game in his favour. Januzaj, Valencia and Hernandez played crucial parts in the game. However, Moyes may well feel that his luck has changed after Hernandez was spared a red card after a high tackle which on another day could have seen him dismissed from the field.

United will have many more sterner tests ahead of them and will need to improve in most areas of the field but Moyes will be pleased how he and his side responded to the test that Stoke gave them.

Optimists will point to aspects of the game that indicate a change in fortune for Moyes and United but critics still have plenty of ammunition to fuel their counter argument.  


Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Stoke City

Article Comments

Trending

Read more

;