Hernandez And Nani Score As United Go Three Points Clear Of City

Man United have gone three points clear of Manchester City in the Premier League table after a 2-1 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford this evening.

Manchester United were without Rio Ferdinand, Edwin Van Der Sar and Wayne Rooney for the visit of Stoke. There were six changes to the side who beat West Brom at the weekend with Rafael da Silva, Chris Smalling, Luis Nani, Darron Gibson, Ryan Giggs and Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez all returning to the line-up.

Man United started off the better of the two teams, Gibson had the first chance of the match but his 30-yard effort flew just wide of the post. Stoke did put some pressure on United's defence after Andy Wilkinson earn't the away side a corner, which was cleared by both Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling.

Not long after his first effort, he had another one, this time it was deflected over for a corner. Man United had a penalty shout after a handball by Ryan Shawcross in the area but rightfully wasn't given. Seconds later Berbatov missed a fantastic chance to score after poking the ball wide from 6-yards out, if he had scored the goal would have been ruled out for offside.

Man United took the lead from a brilliant flick from Hernandez. Nani's ball in was flicked past Asmir Begovic and into the near post by Hernandez. The Mexican almost gave United a 2-0 lead after some brilliant play between Giggs and Nani, which resulted in Stoke's Robert Huth having to deflect Hernandez' effort.

Just five minutes into the second half, Stoke had themselves an equaliser after an unmarked Dean Whitehead headed past Tomasz Kuszczak.

United took the lead again just after the hour mark, Chicharito found Nani, his stunning left-footed 20-yard strike flew past Begovic, who could do nothing about it.

Man United continued to dominate the possession, Michael Owen came on to make his first appearance since the 2nd October last year. There were a few chances for United, Rafael created one for Hernandez who could have done better but fired the ball over instead and Giggs volleyed the ball wide after a low ball in by Rafael, who had another fantastic game.

The game finished 2-1 to United, it was a fairly comfortable win with some great performances from Nani and Rafael in particular.

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