The Old Trafford fixture of Manchester United vs Stoke City was the last one of the game week and the home side had the chances to reduce the point gap at the top of the league table. They did it in fashion and won it 3-0.
Manchester United vs Stoke City – Main events:
Home lineup : David De Gea; Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw; Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic; Juan Mata (Scott McTominay, 83′), Jesse Lingard (Marouane Fellaini, 80′), Anthony Martial (Marcus Rashford, 80′); Romelu Lukaku.
Away lineup : Jack Butland; Josh Tymon (Kevin Wimmer, 46′), Bruno Martins Indi, Kurt Zouma, Moritz Bauer; Darren Fletcher, Eric Choupo-Moting (Ramadan Sobhi, 61′), Stephen Ireland, Joe Allen, Xherdan Shaqiri; Peter Crouch (Mame Diouf, 70′).
Goals: Valencia (10′), Martial (38′), Lukaku (72′).
Yellow cards: Lingard (63′), Lukaku (67′), Ireland (68′).
Stoke City’s starting lineup included several names that were not expected, and these players came with an intent to impress the new coach Paul Lambert who was in the stands. But, the Manchester United captain had other intentions in mind. In his first match after returning from injury, Valencia made it memorable in the 10th minute of the game. Following a pass from Pogba, the Ecuador international took a scorching shot from the right hand side of the Stoke box and the left-footed screamer found the back of the nets to put the hosts ahead in the match.
Ireland could have done similar thing for the visitors. The midfielder also returned from injury and featured in a top flight match after more than a year. He was handed two golden opportunities to restore parity at Old Trafford, but both times, his shots remained wide off the target. Then, at the 38th minute, United doubled their lead with another spectacular goal, this time from Martial. It was Pogba once again who set it up for his compatriot, and Martial did not need more than one touch to hit the top right corner with a magnificent strike.
Rest of the first half saw United dominating Stoke with all the possessions, but the first half of Manchester United vs Stoke City ended at 2-0.
In the second half, it was same story all over again. The Red Devils created a plethora of chances and Mata and Martial came close to scoring. But, it took sheer brilliance from Butland and his teammates to keep them at bay for some time.
In the 72nd minute, finally, the hosts got their third. It was a goal of relief for Lukaku. The big Belgian has been missing the scoring boots for some time now, but tonight was different. A perfect ball from Martial found the striker inside the box, he managed to hold on to it fighting with three Stoke defenders and then slotted it home with a powerful shot at the goal.
Towards the end, substitute Diouf got a nice opportunity for the away side, but De Gea made a save to keep the clean sheet. United also kept on attacking, and forced good defending from the visitors. In the end, the result for Manchester United vs Stoke City remained 3-0, and thanks to these three points, Mourinho’s side reduced the gap at the top of the league table.
Manchester United vs Stoke City Statistics:
|Manchester United||Stoke City|
|Shots (on target)||20 (9)||11 (5)|
Manchester United vs Stoke City Highlights:
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