Q. Was there anyone unexpected in the Manchester United starting lineup yesterday? A. Why yes, of course, thanks for asking. Despite our undying love for him, we nevertheless found it somewhat surprising to see David De Gea in between the sticks for the home side, given the Spaniard's reputation for weakness in the air and the Potters' inclination to lob high balls into the box. Q. How'd the game open? A. In typical United style, as Wayne Rooney opened his scoring account for the season. Unfortunately for the Reds, it was an own goal that Wazza contributed to the cause as the visitors took an early lead. Again. Q. So the defensive miscues were back? A. Yes, in all their glory. United's back line somehow contrived to make John Walters and Peter Crouch look like Xavi and Lionel Messi. A very thick Xavi and extremely tall Lionel Messi, mind you, but you get the point. Q. [Insert typical Van Persie goal/equalizer question, etc.] A. Surprisingly, no. Once again it was Wayne Rooney to the fore, leveling the score line at one, and finally hitting the back of the net at the right end of the pitch. It's worth noting that RVP's cross set up the goal, however: struck low and hard, the Flying Dutchman put the ball on a platter for his striker-cum-midfielder partner in crime. Q. [Insert typical Van Persie goal/equalizer question, etc., again] A. Yes, on the stroke of halftime, Robin was in the net, off a terrific Antonio Valencia cross, one which nutmegged the Stoke defender. Van Persie contorted his body just so to steer the ball into the side netting for his eighth United goal of the season, displaying his world class talent for all to see and allowing the rather placid Old Trafford crowd to show off a modicum of their enthusiasm.
Q. Was the second half tight? A. Not after Danny Welbeck added a third goal before the second 45 minutes had seen even one of their own tick away. Once again, Wazza was the catalyst, driving in a low and swerving cross that Danny Welbeck stooped to head just beyond Asmir Begovic's reach. Jonny Evans was less fortunate a couple of minutes later, as the Stoke 'keeper managed to pull off a miraculous save to deny the defenseman what would have been a second game running with a goal to his credit. Q. And that was game over...? A. Not quite yet. Michael Kightly pulled one back for the Potters just before the hour mark, benefiting equally from a fortuitous bounce and a United defense that sat back on its heels while allowing the Stoke man to run almost 50 yards before taking his shot. Q. Did the home crowd get nervous? A. Not really, as Wayne Rooney scored again less than six minutes later to put the result beyond a shadow of a doubt. Tapping in a ball that had pinballed through the box, Wazza scored for the 200th time as a Premier League footballer and put the three points in the book. Q. With Rooney, Van Persie and Welbeck all on the scorer's sheet, did any other strikers manage to find the net? A. Denied only by RVP's head, Michael Owen came closest shortly after he entered the game as a late substitute for the visiting team. Q. So, three more points in the bag.... But is the glass half full, or half empty? Are you happy or concerned? A. Yes. This is farlieonfootie for October 21. Manchester United Replica Jersey (Google Affiliate Ad)