Stoke beats Man United 2-1, Moyes' misery goes on
(AP Photo/Jon Super)
STOKE, England (AP) �?Charlie Adam scored either side of halftime as Stoke claimed its first ever Premier League victory over Manchester United with a 2-1 win at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
�?Adam put the hosts in front with a deflected effort in the 38th minute, then smashed home an excellent second in the 52nd after Robin van Persie had leveled straight after the break.
�?Defending champion United has lost eight league games this season and is struggling to gain a top-four Champions League berth next season.
�?Stoke had taken just one point from its previous six games and the defeat underlined that, for all the feelgood atmosphere generated by Juan Mata's club record 37.1 million pounds ($61.2 million) arrival from Chelsea, much more is needed to turn United back into a top-flight force.
�?In a season of unwanted milestones, with West Bromwich Albion, Everton and Newcastle all ending long runs without victories of some kind against United, this was another.
�?United's task was not made any easier by a fierce wind, strong enough to hold the ball up when it was in the air.
�?If Moyes' idea had been to take one of the key men off before the end, it was ruined by a couple of injuries in a first half that merely reinforced the feeling his time at United is being dogged by bad luck.
�?Jonny Evans was first to succumb, forced off with what appeared to be a calf injury before the contest had even begun to take shape.
�?The visitors did have cover for that eventuality. But when Phil Jones had to be stretchered off following a nasty clash of heads with Jonathan Walters, with Nemanja Vidic suspended and Rio Ferdinand not making the squad, there was none.
�?It meant Michael Carrick was forced into central defence alongside Chris Smalling in just the game you would not choose to be weakened.
�?In between the substitutions came another piece of ill fortune for the visitors.
It was debatable whether Adam's long-range free kick was even on target when it struck Carrick on the edge of the box.
�?Once it had, David de Gea had no chance of keeping it out and the ball rocketed into the far corner, leaving the United 'keeper stranded.
�?Mata appeared a largely peripheral figure and neither Wayne Rooney nor Van Persie threatened with any regularity.
�?Van Persie came near with a close-range header that rebounded over off Glenn Whelan.
�?Rooney had a couple of long-range efforts but with his team struggling to cope with the conditions, it was a surprise Welbeck was introduced for Jones given Antonio Valencia would have allowed Mata to move into a central position, or Darren Fletcher would have kept Rooney in an attacking one.
�?It took just two second-half minutes for Mata and Van Persie to show what they are capable of.
�?Marc Wilson's poor clearance from inside his own box offered Mata the chance to turn a perfectly-weighted pass to Van Persie, who lifted a first-time effort over Asmir Begovic and into the corner.
�?It was the Dutchman's sixth goal in seven Premier League games, split by a thigh injury.
�?United was soon behind again, with Adam once again the scorer.
�?This time there was no fortune either as he let fly following a blocked Marko Arnautovic shot, sending his 25-yard strike arrowing into the corner.
Updated February 1, 2014