Please note: All times UK. Fixtures are subject to change. T4F is not responsible for any changes that may be made.
Monday, January 15, 2018 20:00
Sir Matt Busby Way, Central, Manchester, M16 0RA, United Kingdom
Homeground of Manchester United
Manchester United Vs Stoke City Tickets
Manchester United 3 v Stoke City 0
15 January 2018
Paul Lambert watched on from the Old Trafford stands as two stunning strikes helped see his new charges go down 3-0 to Manchester United. Stoke City created some good opportunities in the first half but rarely threatened after the break in a match that saw United ultimately run out comfortable winners. Stoke remain in the relegation zone while the three points ensured United kept up a little pressure on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
Stoke survived an early penalty shout as Anthony Martial tumbled in the box under the close attention of defender Moritz Bauer. However United did not have to wait too long for their opening goal. Collecting the ball on the right in the 9th minute, Antonio Valencia on his return to the side from injury cut in before unleashing a stunning left-foot curling drive into the top corner of the net, giving the Stoke keeper absolutely no chance.
To be fair to Stoke they responded well to this early setback and tried to hit back. Firstly an Xherdan Shaqiri overhead attempt was straight at David de Gea in the United goal. Soon after midfielder Stephen Ireland dragged his shot wide when well placed in the United box as Chris Smalling tried to close him down. De Gea was to then have a difficult moment trying to claim a looping cross under pressure from Stoke's Peter Crouch and needed his centre back Phil Jones to make an excellent block to prevent a goal.
This was spirited stuff from relegation threatened Stoke, but as is so often the case their missed chances were to come back to haunt them. The impressive Paul Pogba collected the ball on the right side of the Stoke box before sliding the ball across to Martial who struck the ball first time with excellent precision into the top corner beyond the despairing dive of the Stoke keeper Jack Butland. It was a bitter blow to Stoke, yet they nearly worked their way back into the game just before the break when Shaqiri forced de Gea to make a good save down low to his left.
After the break, Manchester United was more dominant and the threat from Stoke fizzled out. Martial had a good chance to put the game beyond Stoke when played through by Pogba, but Butland was quickly off his line to produce a fine block. United was now well on top with Lukaku driving straight at Butland from the edge of the box and Pogba seeing his effort deflected over for a corner.
Pogba was to feed Martial again, and once more Butland was up to the task with a block from close range, before Juan Mata had a couple of chances. Played in by Jesse Lingard, Mata placed his first chance just wide of the post, then blazed the second over the bar after being set up by Lingard once more. United's dominance continued and in the 72nd minute they finally sealed the game when Romelu Lukaku received the ball with his back to goal just inside the box. His control and strength under pressure were excellent as he maneuvered the ball on to his left foot and swiveled to drive the ball inside the post beyond Butland.
Stoke could not find a consolation goal as de Gea chalked up his 13th clean sheet and United reduced the lead at the top for now to 12 points. Paul Lambert would have seen some encouragement in Stoke's first-half performance in particular as they scrap to avoid the drop into the Championship.