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The good news from the first game of the day was that Wayne Rooney remained on the bench. The bad news was the number of chances United failed to convert. At half-time, instead of being 3-0 up and virtually out of sight, it was 0-0 and Stoke remained hopeful of taking something from the game.

All the experts who say that, as long as the chances are being created then the goals will come, are only ever proved correct when the goals come! In the case of Manchester United and the first half of this game, the goals did not come.

The first chance fell to Ibrahimovic who, from three yards out, tried to beat the goalkeeper at the near post instead of taking the easier option of slotting the ball in at the far post. The keeper saved it. The second and third chances fell to Pogba who completely missed the target from six yards out with both a shot and a free header.

A half chance for Lingard was very well saved by Grant in the Stoke goal and so the scores remained level at the break.

The other lesson from the game so far was that, yet again, Antonio Valencia proved that he is not a defender and hasn’t a clue about the positional side of the game nor how to tackle. He was booked after twelve minutes for a completely mis-timed challenge.

Surely there would be goals in the second half.

The way it started it looked like the prediction of goals would be correct, but for Stoke City, not United. They started quite brightly and the home team retreated into their shell. This carried on until the 66th when Mourinho decided he’d seen enough. He took off his best player and his worst player. Mata and Lingard were replaced by Rooney and Martial.

The change paid off four minutes later when Rooney laid off a pass to Martial who curled a shot into the corner of the net.. The goal lifted both the crowd and the team and United now began to play as we all think they should.

As is often the case, the folly of only scoring one goal in a game dominated by United, proved to be their undoing when Stoke grabbed a fortunate equaliser in the 83rd minute. The goal was scored thanks to mistakes from firstly, Daley Blind and secondly, David De Gea. The former took a wild swing at a ball he should have controlled and passed to a team mate. The resulting throw-in caused an element of panic in the United defence and saw De Gea fail to cope with a tame shot. The rebound eventually, via the crossbar, was put in by Joe Allen.

So United had managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory.

On another day Ibrahimovic would have scored a couple of goals, as would Pogba but the win was the most important aspect of the game and that was not achieved.

Overall, a reasonable performance until they got near goal and another two points was thrown away.

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