Stoke 2-0 Man United: Bring back Moyes

Date published: Saturday 26th December 2015 3:37

Cries of ‘sacked in the morning’ rang out around the Britannia Stadium as Stoke eased to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Manchester United on Boxing Day.

Frankly, the morning would be too long a stay for Van Gaal, whose side looked terrible against an excellent Stoke outfit.

Bojan opened the scoring with a well-taken finish from close range after woeful defending from Memphis Depay on 19 minutes, with the home fans mocking Louis van Gaal by chanting: “You’re getting sacked in the morning.”

Marko Arnautovic consigned United to further misery just seven minutes later, the Austrian lashing home a strike from outside the area to make it 2-0.

Captain Wayne Rooney had been dropped from the starting line-up by Van Gaal ahead of the Boxing Day clash, with the 30-year-old taking to the field at the start of the second-half. Surprisingly enough, his introduction was not enough to rescue the Red Devils.

United rarely threatened their hosts, with Stoke comfortable throughout the evening. Defeat means Van Gaal’s side have now lost four consecutive games, and are without a win in seven, their worst run since 1990. United have also scored just 14 goals in their last 14 games.

Rooney began the match on the bench for United, with Van Gaal explaining the selection of Ander Herrera as more suited to their “gameplan” for the afternoon.

Herrera had the first opportunity of the game, testing home keeper Jack Butland with a speculative low effort, as United looked to grab a necessary foothold.

Stoke started the more positive however, with scorers Bojan and Arnautovic, as well as Xherdan Shaqiri, particularly impressive.

Ibahim Affelay had the first effort for Mark Hughes’ men, finding space in the area from a Shaqiri free-kick, with Ashley Young blocking the shot.

Butland was then called into action once more after Depay’s free-kick nearly crept in at the near post, but from there Stoke were the dominant side.

It was a Depay mistake which allowed the hosts in behind the defence, with the Dutchman’s laughable diving head falling only at the feet of Glen Johnson, who squared for Bojan to poke home.

United were shellshocked, and were 2-0 behind just seven minutes later. Arnautovic picked up a loose ball from a blocked free-kick and smashed a 25-yard effort past David de Gea.

Arnautovic could have made it 3-0 just 10 minutes before half-time, with Bojan’s inch-perfect through-ball setting him through on goal, but the Austrian dragged wide.

Van Gaal called on Rooney at the start of the second half, replacing Depay with his captain. It had little effect in a second period of few opportunities however, and Stoke were untroubled as they secured three points to lift them to 8th. United are just two places and three points ahead.

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