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  • Mitre June 17

Premier League: Manchester United show some of their old spirit to avoid embarrassment against Stoke

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Manchester United beat Stoke City 3-2 at Old Trafford, but had to do it the hard way, after being 2-1 down at half time.

Stoke could well have taken everyone by surprise this afternoon, in a game that most would have expected them to lose substantially. With only four goals in the league this season, they found them 2-1 up at the Theatre of Dreams, after Peter Crouch headed them ahead in the opening few minutes.

Both sides had chances in a feisty first half, with Stoke looking the more dangerous going forward, much to the dismay of the home fans.

Robin Van Persie, back in the side after missing United's Champions League game midweek, seemed to have restored order when he got them back on level terms in the closing stages of the first half.

But they were behind again two minutes later after a stunning free kick from Stoke's Arnautovic, who curled it over the wall and past De Gea. The boos unsurprisingly were ringing out at half time.

The second half was a more stilted affair, with a lot of action in the middle of the park with little incisiveness going forward from either team. But like the United sides of old, they found a way through when they looked completely out of sorts.

Wayne Rooney headed them level from Van Persie's ball with 12 minutes remaining, and Hernandez, who had come off the bench, completed the one-two combo not long after to prevent what would have been a disastrous defeat for United.

The win still leaves them 8 points off the top, currently occupied by Arsenal who won 2-0 at Crystal Palace earlier in the afternoon, but David Moyes will surely take heart from the character of his side to turn around a game that really, they should have lost.

Come the end of the season, the ins and outs of this game will not have much significance, but even after 9 games, the result could prove crucial for Manchester United's season.

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