Manchester United 4 Stoke 0
Manchester United 4 Stoke City 0, Old Trafford Stadium, English Premier League, May 9, 2010. Although Manchester United did well at Old Trafford defeating Stoke City 4-0, Chelsea secured the Premiership crown after beating Wigan Athletic by 8-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United had opened their 2009-10 Premier League campaign with a narrow 1-0 triumph over newly promoted Birmingham City at Old Trafford on 16th of August 2009. And although United suffered a shock 1-0 loss at the hands of Burnley, another top-flight newcomer, at Turf Moor three days later, the club were back to their winning ways as they dismantled Wigan Athletic by 5-0 at DW Stadium the following weekend. United then edged out Arsenal by 2-1 at Old Trafford before comfortably overcoming Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 at White Hart Lane. After beating Manchester City 4-3 at Old Trafford on the 20th of September thanks to a brace by Darren Fletcher and a goal each from Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, Manchester United climbed to the top of the Premiership table for the first time in the season and stayed there until they were defeated 2-0 by Liverpool at Anfield on the 25th of October. United returned to the top of the table after outclassing relegation candidates Portsmouth to the tune of 5-0 at Old Trafford on the 6th of February 2010, but found themselves down to second position following a 1-1 draw to Aston Villa at Villa Park four days later. Manchester United were back on top thanks to a close 1-0 victory over Wolves at Molineux on the 6th of March, but were surpassed by Chelsea after succumbing to a 2-1 loss to The Blues at Old Trafford on the 3rd of April. In their final match of the season, United overcame Stoke City 4-0 at Old Trafford, but it was not enough as Chelsea outclassed Wigan Athletic 8-0 at Stamford Bridge to win the title by a single point ahead of The Reds. Apparently, the anomaly of attempting to make The Pensioners an established power had worked.
In the reverse meeting of the 2009-10 season, Manchester United had beaten Stoke City 2-0 at Britannia Stadium courtesy of second period goals from Dimitar Berbatov and John O´Shea. From the first blow of match official Mark Clattenburg´s whistle, United controlled the home match against Stoke and never lost their focus in their last fixture of the season. After 30 minutes of action, Manchester United opened the scoring account when a header from Nemanja Vidic ricocheted to Darren Fletcher who hammered the ball past away shot stopper Asmir Begovic and into the roof of the net. And even though Berbatov failed to round off the campaign with a goal, the marksman delivered the goods in the 38th minute of proceedings when his excellent cross ball made 36-year-old evergreen stalwart Ryan Giggs produce his 155th goal for Manchester United. The Old Trafford team continued to dominate the game following the restart and in the 54th minute of the tussle, Manchester born Stoke favourite Danny Higginbotham managed to score an own goal as the former United defender sliced a clearance from a Wayne Rooney cross into the back of the net. Hampered by groin and ankle problems, however, Rooney eventually limped off the pitch only thirteen minutes from time with Ji-Sung Park replacing him. The South Korean international would round off the ultimate fixture of the campaign in style, though, as the midfield man headed home a well-taken flag-kick from Giggs with just six minutes remaining on Clattenburg´s watch, making the final score 4-0 in favour of Sir Alex Ferguson´s United.
Not surprisingly really, there was plenty of noise from the increasingly angry and frustrated home fans at the end of the clash between Manchester United and Stoke City due to a loud protest against the somewhat controversial proprietors of the club. And interestingly enough, from a mere psychological viewpoint, supporters of football clubs often feel they have a moral ownership in the club they actually support. Panem et circenses! Manchester United Team: Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Paul Scholes, Luis Nani, Ryan Giggs, Darren Fletcher, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney. Substitutes: Jonny Evans, John O’Shea, Michael Carrick, Darron Gibson, Ji-Sung Park, Federico Macheda, Ben Foster. Stoke City Team: Asmir Begovic, Danny Higginbotham, Robert Huth, Andy Wilkinson, Ryan Shawcross, Rory Delap, Matthew Etherington, Glenn Whelan, Dean Whitehead, Ricardo Fuller, Mamady Sidibe. Substitutes: Liam Lawrence, Danny Collins, Abdoulaye Faye, Danny Pugh, Salif Diao, Tuncay Sanli, Steve Simonsen.
Darren Fletcher Quickfacts
Darren Fletcher played 342 games for Manchester United between 2003 and 2015.
Manchester United 3 Fulham 0
Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1
Bolton Wanderers 0 Manchester United 4
Bayern Munchen 2 Manchester United 1
Manchester United 1 Chelsea 2
Manchester United 3 Bayern Munchen 2
Blackburn Rovers 0 Manchester United 0
Manchester City 0 Manchester United 1
Manchester United 3 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Sunderland 0 Manchester United 1
Won: 7 Drawn: 1 Lost: 2